Today was the first day that the warehouse resembled a warehouse. The past couple of weeks’ labor finally fell into fruition, so it was pleasing to finally see the results. It also raises concerns because the space gained was largely due to distribution to the refugees. Though we do have more shipping containers coming in in a week or two, the donations are starting to slow down. To some it may seem like there is a large supply, but most of it is not what is direly needed. We are down to enough shoes to last two-three days before we have to start handing out summer shoes. We have been separating shoes as to the upcoming journey the refugees will have in Europe. Many will walk the distance of Europe twice, and it is winter. Refugees are freezing to death in Europe or getting amputations due to frostbite, so we try to equip them properly. Soon we will be handing out items that we know will neither last a week to the environments or will fall apart after a few days of walking. It already hurts when we have to turn them away, but knowing what they have to go through and handing them items unfit for the environment and journey is heart-wrenching.
The situation of the refugee crisis changes daily, but this week the situation is becoming even more drastic. Turkey has slowed/attempted to stop the flow of refugees. I can only imagine what that means. Turkey is already infamous for their human-rights violations, for trying to kill refugees trying to cross. What exactly are they doing to slow down the flow of refugees?
Perhaps the most important news that has occurred since I have begun volunteering happened this evening. Greece was given an ultimatum: They have six weeks to stop the flow of refugees or be kicked out of the Schengen. The Schengen allows for trade and the borderless Europe. Europe has been trying for the past couple years to push Greece out of the Schengen because of their economic crisis, so now they can use the refugee crisis as their main lobbying point and shift focus off of the economic crisis. Europe has told Greece that they have one of the largest navy’s so they should be able to blockade the Turkish/Greece coast. Europe has shifted the blame to Greece since Turkey has not followed through with their promise of stopping the flow. In shifting the blame to Greece they can “forget” that they gave 3 billion euros to Turkey to stop the flow.
Greece has to decide to either stay in the European economic trade or they must choose to allow the refugees to die. If Greece decides to remain in the Schengen then the Greek navy must either turn refugee boats back, deport all the refugees trying to cross, or sink the refugees. If they turn the refugee boats around, then they are at the mercy of the Turkish Coast Guard and police whom we have seen sinking boats filled with refugees. If the refugees are deported immediately then their journey of death was for nothing, and they must return to their home nations that are completely destroyed by war and must either join ISIS or die.
If Greece decides to continue helping the refugee’s, then the situation here will become dire. Turkey will have a fence across its southern border, but the refugees will still cross, just at a slower rate. Europe will construct a fence across the northern Greek border, and have a standing military to prevent both Greeks and refugees from leaving. Greece will become a prison for both refugees and Greeks alike. This also means that Greece loses its’ borderless Europe agreement which impacts international trade massively. Since they have an economic crisis here and the Greeks themselves struggle to put food on the table there will be riots among the refugees and Greeks just for basic needs like food. No one could blame either for trying to feed their starving families. The Greeks I do talk to and eat supper with on a daily basis are worried that if they are kicked out of the Schengen then that means civil war.
The EU has also been meeting and trying for the past year to kick Greece out of the EU as well. If Greece is kicked out of Schengen then this will make it easier for the EU to slide their policy along with the Schengen. This will only cause more economic issues as well as incite more riots and help feed the notions of civil war. Greece has to decide between the survivability of their nation or to turn their backs on humanity. It is a horrible decision to have to make. I have before said, Europe and the US have dark days ahead of them, it is beginning to happen. In one year the Greek isles are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for saving lives while simultaneously losing their rights associating them to the EU and Schengen for saving lives.