“One afternoon changed everything.
A packed train arrives, on the platform someone made a camp fire fueled by plastic cups and rubbish. Volunteers are helping grandmothers and babies step down the high steps of the fully packed old train, . . People seem tired, beyond tired, unable to reason clearly, hanging on to smaller and bigger groups, following. Some are smiling, shaking my hand and thankful for information about where they are heading, others are suspicious and fearful to even listen. I see a lot of traumatized people, mechanically following the crowd. People keep coming out of the train, it must have been a very uncomfortable journey, so much passengers, I wonder how long they drove from south to north Macedonia? How many uninformed stops? Did they have any information at all bout the destination or was it all rumors? Could they even reach the train toilets with such a crowd filling the passage ways?
The platform fills with small children carrying babies, confused fathers, young man looking after their families, a boy shouting a name of someone who got lost in the chaos while local entrepreneurs sell umbrellas for 3 euro a piece, pushing children away.
It is a cold dark night and the pouring rain hides tears, I join the caravan trough the mud. The railway seems the most convenient road until an approaching train chases people left and right. A father panics trying to warn two children who are stumbling on the rail tracks, too tired, too much covered in plastic bags to hear. It is dark, this is unknown terrain, also for me.
I meet my sister walking with them while getting information from a traveler, and I wonder; could it be possible that one grass root volunteer can achieve more than two International institutions together ever will?
I work my way trough bushes, passing the traffic jam of people wearing plastic rain clothes holding on to each other and whatever their hands manage to carry, unstable in the mud slide. The caravan got stuck, helping each other cross a ditch of two meters deep. I find a stable position and help man, woman, children, baby carriages slide down the mud to reach the other side, uncertain if this is the right way. A woman passes me a package, it is a baby wrapped in blankets, no more than few months old. People continue on the railway towards a border, towards an illusion where usually only trains pass by. One afternoon changed everything, I hope winter comes late this year.”
(Slovenia began erecting a razor-wire fence at its border with Croatia on Wednesday, 11 November 2015, to stem the inflow of migrants)
When they arrive late at night at the Macedonia Serbia border, i explain them their 4 km walk trough fields to the next village. Often families with months old babies, wheelchairs and elderly look at me like if i am crazy :… “how can we walk so long distance with babies, we are tired”.
All i can tell them is that it will get worse, that they prepare because now they still have energy. If they stay here they will freeze they must keep moving, and that they must stay together, watch their children. When you are so cold and tired you tend to loose sight even of your most precious ones.
Many people write about this situation, also in the EU. We know. There should be no doubt that people will unite to help their fellow human beings.
Will they build a fence around the moon?
28 January 2016
Mathematics of ethics… What is wrong with following procedure, applied by Austrian Border authorities :
” (…) non-professional native speakers employed by private security companies assist the police officers in establishing the “country of origin”.”
Are you Syrious
8 February 2016
Some say 2 illegal immigrants died. It is not truth. Two people died. Two,… a girl and a woman, with children. Two souls, like you and me. And the border police spokesperson talks like a schoolkid trying to hide a crime, and at the Greece-Macedonia border is building a second fence now… not one but two fences.
Every time a new fence gets build, more people die. Every time a new restriction is made, more travel illegally, with all the risks involved.
Before any of you continue with the usual pre fabricated nonsense.. respect some silence, two people died.
10 February 2016
I wish to write good news, maybe post a funny cat video and make you smile…
and i am aware that shouldn ‘t focus on the darkness too much.
But this fence thing…. holy mother of god. This is not so constructive news we will have to be aware of now, otherwise there cannot be any good news at all..
Now we must all take a vow to achieve world peace. Any other goals and aspirations you may have will not be possible at all, as long as we do not achieve world peace first.
So… yeah, drop whatever you where doing and refocus
11 February 2016
The risk is that we will become so creative in our refugee support, that we will sustain the flow. A new generation of people depending on handouts, … their lower, illegal class depending on handouts while in detention centres. And the paria’s in Eurasia or wherever on the other side of the fence receiving handouts from EU weapon lobby.
Refugees have already become a commodity on the stockmarket.
Free market players like IKEA incorporate them in their policy, and picture them like… a commodity,…. with a logo, an accomodation and free light offered by the generous tax payers that shop (see picture)
Our freedom is bound with the freedom of all earthlings. We might get so busy distributing food that we loose sight of our mission … ;
freedom, decentralization of power, autonomy,
Back at the border, … Afghan people are not allowed to pass anymore in this crazy board game, … only Syrian and Iraqi people have the right to claim asylum. Hundreds of people, many children, families, young boys and girls, elderly people are stuck here. Most of them for six days already, with no proper facilities, no space to wash themselves, no privacy.
It is cold here, a strong ice wind blows trough the camp.
One boy explained me they do not want to go back. They traveled all this distance, on the road for months. He fears he will be in trouble back in Afghanistan. He shows me pictures of his graduation in University, he is a political scientist.
A doctor in the Red Cross tent finds all the children have a fever, he says it is like at home, when one is sick, the whole family gets it sooner or later.
Another boy tells me they dont sleep, every few hours they wake up, the big tents are full of people, crying babies and all night people walk trough the space. They have been already a week like this, i do understand people are tired, on the edge.
The political scientist tells me how shocking it is for him to see the military police with big guns hanging around. It reminds him of the situation back home. It takes experience to realize guns do not protect but cause misery.
The children are the only ones full of energy, playfull.
People know the drill, when NGO’s arrive with food and clothes they make long lines. The cat in my house in the village was spoiled by the volunteers last month, while i was on the road. Now she begs for handouts.
24 February 2016
Borders close and borders open. Questions change, people are tricked.
Families with small children and young boys are send up and down the Balkan continent. Afghans can pass, Afghans cannot pass. What about Kurds, what about cats and dogs? One paper is right the other not,… the stamp had to be stamped half on the photo, you go back to start.
There is no fun in playing with a partner who changes the rules and is more concerned with bureaucratic neurosis then with fair play. And it wasn’t a game to start with, these are people, human beings.
The mainstream seems to accept we are now back to racial segregation, but we are still here, not fooled, one human kind, together on this space ship that have no borders.
The questions all volunteers in the field are asked now … Is there any news about the situation? What can we do, where should we go?
And i am so sure there is no sensible answer any of us can give in this foul play we are experiencing now.
Tell people to follow their heart and intuition, it is that what keeps you alive in war time.
Tell them to stick together, Afghans, Syrians, Iraqi, Kurdi’s, volunteers, all of us humans.
To be divided now is to die in misery. Only unity can save us.
Tell people to rest in the moment, make the best out of the place where they are now. To not waste time, but use every second. To organize among the people who are there with them, in the moment. If you are in a transit camp, a closed detention center, on a godforsaken gas station along a highway or hiding in the woods. Don’t waste time, organize, create, gather together for exchange, teach each other, explore the boundaries of the moment.
The game is rigged, and we are forgetting it wasn’t a game to start with, so we must learn to be in the moment and to organize ourselves for the worse.
Afghani people are not allowed to pass borders anymore, there are daily quota for Syrian and Iraqi people that can pass, controls at borders are becoming more strict, “pushbacks” is a new word they introduced next to “bottlenecks” “corridors” and “SIA”…
What does that all mean?
It means a mother sitting on the cold ground for hours between 2 checkpoints with her four little children under a UN blanket, singing them songs, while their grandmother in wheelchair waits four hours on ice wind inbetween 2 red cross cars in the dark and their father sits in the red cross van with their paralysed family member who looks like he should be in intensive care and not out here in the cold.
It means an old lady almost dead because of hearth failure while waiting to pass the checkpoint.
It means young Afghan boys stuck for over 2 weeks in a transit camp, with no proper facilities, scary toilets, while almost everybody starts getting skin diseases.
It means that here is lozing humanity, and it means i beg you who reads this to do whatever you can to avoid this … please
Did you know we are all family?
Have you ever stood in the rain, in the darkness, for hours, with behind you a border police that don’t let you pass and in front of you a border police that may, or may not let you pass?
Can you imagine a few months old baby there, a family with seven small children carrying everything they have? A small kid with a bag 4 times his weight. A pregnant couple standing there, facing a future that registers and controls?
Out there again i see familiar faces. The same heroes running around, saving lives, comforting those who give in, not needing someaone to tell them what to do.
Did you know all children are your children?
To all of you that go on the streets these days to protest. Did you know that is exactly what comes next, exactly what that what causes the suffering wants you to do, because it is already on the agenda.
Did you know that we need now the Other reaction… the unexpected creative untold story.
Did you hear the wind whisper? Louder now… .. another world is possibel
Sabka Kalyana Ho
Dear VCV friends,
I guess you wonder what happened with all the donations and hats and scarfs your knitted with your lovely project Heklica , Ne Granica
I met this group of friends at the transit camp Tabanovce. They are from Kurdistan (Iraq part). Kurds have their own language, so the border guards’ watch dog said they don’t speak Arab,… so they have been stuck for 3 days (or more).
They invited me in their makeshift house, in a corner of a IOM sponsored tent. They told me they where reporters in Kurdistan, following the army troops with camera, sattelite car and reporter. This is them:
They are all on the run because of treaths to their lives.. I seen some of their films… i sometimes wish i hadn’t seen that. But at least i know now why we need world peace.
They travel with their family and a small girl of family, they could buy her free from organ traffikers. She is amazing, i think she will do great things when she grows up, you can see her on the photo.
Being invited and all, i had to offer them at least a gift. So I gave some of the beautifull hats you guys knitted. Don’t worry, they are with the wifes and daughters… the men wore them just for the photo, as a joke.
I had some hats left in my bag, which i always fill with whatever i may need at the borders, like first aid material, gloves, a doctor scissor, water, toys, hygienic bandages and peanuts.
When i realized that, i saw the neighbour, across the bench in the big white tent where last night slept a few hundred people, we couldn t walk anymore in there last night, so full it was. She could use the hats for sure, what a beautifull present…
The neighbour girl, about 4 years old, i recognised from the long night before. She also recognized me and smiled and made that typical “clack” sound with her tongue, that all those eastern desert kids here make.
Last night i had a dinner with my sister, across the border in Presevo. When we visited the chai tent of the Serbian camp, it started raining. I never mind the rain, just that … , now we knew there where few hundred people standing inbetween Serbian and Macedonian authority servants, out with no protection whatsoever, in the cold rainy night.
We collected some plastic sheets and drove back to Macedonia.
Arriving there, we found all of them. There where a lot of wheelchairs. I saw the couple standing facing the West, with a courage and a dream in their eyes, i will never forget … i knew from the day before that she is 9 months pregnant. We saw hundreds of peoples. It was chaos there. My sister is brave, she learned to handle those situations that cannot be handled. She is a truth revolutionary. Truth revolutionaries carry babies, they don’t carry guns. There I also saw the same people I keep seeing in the most horrible situations,… sharing raincoats, water bottles and hope.
Anyway, i save you the details. It s not pretty out there. But that is where i met the 4 year old neighbour girl. She was alone, carrying a plastic bag with all their belongings, so heavy i had a hard time myself carrying it.
We quickly found her family, mother father and 4 small kids (one baby of just few months old, so light). My sister was with them, and she managed to get them past the authority servants, who are just doing their job, you know.
You can see the pictures of the rain and a fire someone managed to build.
We put the family in the tent. The mother was so in shock she couldn t even take care of her baby. Fortunately there are always mothers around to support. When the tent was so full that no one could walk anymore we managed to close the food distribution tent with plastic and put all the others there.
Anyway, that long cold night is history now, but in Idomeni there are tens of thousands of these stories happening right now in much worse conditions.
And that is where the rest of your donations ended up. Merel Gebruers and Aharon Pelz , some brave volunteers from Finland and Belgium who, drove them there and handed it all over to a good friend, a Syrian refugee who decided to stay in Greece to help the people seeking refuge there.
And now we need volunteers there. Why? To suffer with these people, to listen to their stories and tell them about our beautifull planet. To realize that none of us can be free if not all the others are free.
So again, my dear friends from Vojvodina… thank you for your gesture, you are truth heroes*
15 March 2016
My dear new friends have been stuck at a train station at Serbia-Macedonia border for about a month now.. imagine what creativity lost, imagine what they could have achieved if put on some constructive job or studies…
These are beautifull people… these are children, babies, old people, mothers, fathers and young kids… they all have family, dreams, … they all been children once,… they all share this planet with us.
I must say that i always have and always will advice them against marches and strikes, because i dont go to war with children. I keep telling Western ego activists to go do their thing on some military base or in brussels…
Otherwise,… if you can go to war wherever you are and do what you can to help us find these people a save place,… i will promise you they will surprise you and steal your hearts *
17 year old Afghanistan boy, travelling alone,… wanted me to share this… His grandfather is still home, far away in the East. And he made the travel alone, trying his luck with the borders… I wish him courage, wherever he is now…
He is saying that he is afraid of each and everyone that transfer him from Afghanistan up to here. I accept all these things and came here, to be in peace. Please, please… if you say this to Angela Merkel… as with all those presidents that get to this decision of these refugees
I will say them that please, help these people
Eidomeni tour .. click the image: