Patras. Mountains. Sea. Warm spring sunshine. Having spent a year in Calais’ harsh, flat-as-a-pancake landscape, I am ridiculously glad to see hills, and the sunshine is a welcome break from the freezing temperatures currently gripping Northern Europe. The walls around the port are lower than their counterparts in Calais too, and you can see the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean beyond, glistening in the sun. The mountains are snowcapped and the skies are blue.
Ok, enough romanticising.
J, Eritrean, wanders around with a thin stick, gently hitting volunteers and his friends with it around the legs. Ow! Ouch! We cry, pretending to be hurt. He laughs. “My friend. In Libya, we get hit with sticks very hard, you know? Some people die. This is nothing.”
Initially posted on Refugee Info Bus’ Medium blog, 5th February 2018.
Clashes between refugees and smugglers in Calais | Media reaction oversimplifies complex situation | The latest in a string of incidents | Response to Natacha Bouchart’s rhetoric | Call for legal and safe passage to disrupt smuggler networks