Europe, the continent of the revolutions, the two world wars, the divided states and the civil wars, decided half a century ago to leave behind the black moments of its history. Some people dreamed of a Europe of peoples and open borders. But they ignored two key factors which lead to misery and destruction: the human forgetfulness and the human greed.
At the start of the 21st century we see images which remind us of the fascist past of Europe. Fences are raised up to the sky capturing miserable people between borders of European countries - people who escaped from their country because a war broke out. A war which the West has partial responsibility for.
The Europe of values and humanism is naked.
First in Greece, the previous right-wing government erected a wall on the river Evros (along the Greece-Turkey border). This is the main (and perhaps the only) reason for which the refugees started entering Greece by sea. The idea of a border fence was then implemented by other countries such as Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. But the desperation of refugees is bigger and taller than any fence.
And while Turkey plays the role of Pontius Pilate, the refugees keep crossing the sea and reaching the islands of the Eastern Aegean - the islands of a country that has been decimated by the austerity measures.
Refugees arrive in a European country where the neo-Nazi party is a third force in the Greek parliament. But, the neo-Nazis did not react to the arrival of refugees, in contrast to the shameful demonstrations against refugees in countries of Central Europe.
Besides some journalists which tried to turn the public attention elsewhere, no one else has taken a stance against refugees. Even though the State and the Church are completely indifferent to the problem of refugees, the Greek people have stood from the first moment beside the asylum seekers. A people decimated by unemployment, migration, suicides and political scandals, still rises to the occasion and shows a human face.
The islands of the eastern Aegean and the big cities of Greece have established several solidarity groups that provide services and assistance when the government and Europe have stood unworthy and completely useless.
Residents of the villages of Lesvos opened their churches so that refugees can sleep in them. A captain from Chios saved a hundred shipwrecked refugees. Greek and Turkish fishermen temporarily leave fishing and collect survivors from the sea. And I also want to refer to the Spanish volunteers who came to my country to help during this time.
The heroes are not found only in the islands of the Eastern Aegean. The heroes are in our daily lives. People who are conscientious and sensitive, they are willing to sacrifice a portion of their savings to help the odyssey of refugees.
Both in my island (Chios) and in Athens I saw many people helping the refugees. With tears in their eyes, they leave bags with food, clothing, blankets and whatever else is necessary and important. I met people which cook for refugees. I watched young people entertaining refugee children. I went to events organised in order to provide financial support to refugees. I was surrounded by wonderful actions which people perform. Probably corresponding actions are happening in other countries, from other people too.