Refugee Remix or 100 year misery machine

You may forget

but let me tell you
this:

someone in
some future time

will think of us

Sappho (c. 613 B.C.)

– Greek poet living on Lesvos

Lesvos, Greece – 10km from the Turkish boarder

Standing atop van, vigorously waving an orange life jacket over his head a handsome Spanish lifeguard takes a quick selfie, then refocuses on the horizon. Below him 6 of his fellow life guards dressed in neon yellow and oranges, human pylons, circled up to form a target for refugee boats. 10 or so photographers, a strange mix of seasoned pro’s, bloggers, amateurs and artists, mill about the life jacket covered beach. In the distance the Coast Guard cutters of Greece and Turkey troll by absently, in the foreground orange life jackets glint on the black of imitation zodiac puttering to us. Rumors is the orange life jacket go for more, 125 euro and up but most are fake, overpriced placebo’s. Thankfully Turkey clearly visible 10k away, as refugees usually pilot the boats themselves on the normally calm, transparent Aegean sea; a playground of the rich. The air is filled with stones clacking together as the Spanish lifeguards, Scandinavian volunteers, British doctors and the photographers surge forward clapping and cheering, prompting the passenger to cheer. Squeaking rubber against the smooth stones, signals the decent, babies and children are whisked off first, as the rest one by one out the front into the sea of helping hands and emergency blankets. Laughing, crying, praying, pulling out phones, calling family or taking selfies, men, women, children finally out of the hands of human traffickers. After landing they walk 1-5 kilometers of winding dirt road running the coast to the bus stops to take them two one of the two transit camps, Oxy or Skala to get food and water, dry clothes and a bus ticket to the refugee camps of Moria and Kara Tepe for processing and ferry passage to the mainland.

“The Albanian Mafia, in its entirety, constitutes one of the highest crime generating elements in the world … The massive logistics to almost anywhere and the syncretic nature of Albanian crime has facilitated its establishment outside of the mother country and its integration with the local criminality, exploiting the opportunities inherent in the entire compatriot network.”

Wikipedia Albanian Mafia

 

As the last of life jacketed step off the boat a handful of rough hewn swarthy men immediately begin slashing the boat, pulling out the make shift floor boards and lugging the outboard engine onto the back of a pick up truck. Just another day at the job for the Albanian Mafia henchmen, normally narcotics traffickers but due to market conditions have become human traffickers, adapting their logistics chain to fill the demand, each person on the boat is paying $1000-2000. The smugglers Crossing at night is much riskier; the refugees are more shaken and dazed or hysterical. At night the Albanians would sit by bonfires on the beach, drinking taking phone calls, flashing lights then finally going meet the boat, sometimes the only people there to greet them. “They are doing the job the coast guard should be doing” a Greek Coast Guards officer told us.

 

Afghans told us you could book your passage from online, a one time fee to be passed through a network of smugglers and onto the shore of Europe. Trafficking networks have always existed but now they are being flooded with legitimate war refugees with legally protected status unable to find safe passage because the legal political systems are unable to find solutions forcing them into the hands of smugglers. IOM reports that over 3000 people have died crossing to Europe. If the refugees were given status trip from turkey to Greece is simple, ferries make the journeys everyday, safely and legally, at 1/100th the black market ticket price.

 

“Wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men…because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

–Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 100 Years Of Solitude

 

100 years ago Albanian Muslims, absorbed by Greece after the Balkan war, were deported to Turkey in a religious cleansing/population swap, scattering the Albanian diaspora over the Balkans and uprooting 1.2 million Greek Christians back to Greece on the same trade routes running from a Turkish genocide as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. 100 years later, the conditions are much the same, massive ethnic tension, war and reports of genocide, the fall out of other wars that destabilized the region. Ending the war is a clear solution to the problem, easier said then done but till then the handling of refugees with dignity and humanity through legal channels creating safe passage. Fiscal pragmatism is the key to creating new routes of passage, money will always create access Europe in ability to allow access only empowers the existing back channels, empowering those networks to wreak further criminal havoc in our world. All this money and human potential is passing through the most economically fragile country in Europe, why can’t this be harnessed to help lift the Greek economy out of the mire.

The Paris attacks rocked our trip to the Lesvos, our whole crew has family there. That day we spoke to refugees none of them were callous to the suffering or said “welcome to our world”, but instead seemed deeply saddened and concerned. They are doctors, lawyers, people with smart phones, people like you fleeing a genocide and collateral damage of a war the whole world has a hand in. Daesh will not go so quietly into the night. Attacking Paris, stirring the bee’s next of NATO while casting doubt on the refugees work to create more of them but giving them less places to go. Deash wants to see the end of western civilization, to see us burn, to see backlash against refugee by Europeans. As Europe closes it’s boarders, xenophobia spreads and refugees cry to be recognized and protected by laws the Europeans created to protect Europeans after world war one. A century later, all has been forgotten, the new refugees of our new proxy world war; only today the world is watching live, leaving clever comments and heartfelt likes on facebook; making us all complicit to this crime against humanity

 

“What has come to light is neither nihilism nor cynicism, as one might have expected, but a quite extraordinary confusion over elementary questions of morality—as if an instinct in such matters were truly the last thing to be taken for granted in our time.”

― Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

 

 

 

 

Ebola panoramics /// wide view on a human crisis

still here

keep extending

the work is exciting

change is tangible

in the face of this virus

we can rebuild like never before

sunset interviews with the rasta men at pan african beach

sunset interviews with the rasta men at Pan African beach

a mural about ebola and social progress atthe pan african beach

a mural about Ebola and social progress at the Pan African beach

the hipco open mic night at Takun J's place a chance for people to come together and have thier voice heard in these desperate times.

Hipco open mic night at Takun J’s place a chance for people to come together and have their voice heard in these desperate times.

sunset over monrovia from HOPE 21 AN observatory for kids who have been close to the ebola virus but show no symptoms.

Sunset over Monrovia from HOPE 21 AN observatory for kids who have been close to the Ebola virus but show no symptoms.

inside the office at the oan african beach, a rasta hang out that fosters free thinking and artistic expression.

Inside the office at the Pan African beach, a rasta hang out that fosters free thinking and artistic expression.

meeting at the MTM staff house with the local community to discuss awareness strategies and sustainable development.

Meeting at the MTM staff house with the local community to discuss awareness strategies and sustainable development.

cyrus checks in on the girls fromthe more htan me academy. Schools are closed indefinitely give the kids nothing to do and puts them at risk in the streets.

Cyrus checks in on the girls from the More Than Me Academy. Schools are closed indefinitely give the kids nothing to do and puts them at risk in the streets.

a sea of i heart west point shirts as our community awareness workers gather to give feed back on hteir work

A sea of I heart West Point shirts as our community awareness workers gather to give feed back on their work

meeting wiht the international rescue committee so much of our days are meeting .. necessary but tedious when there is so much to be done

Meeting with the international rescue committee so much of our days are meeting .. necessary but tedious when there is so much to be done

the more than me academy which has been transformed into the epicenter for effort to kick ebola out of west point.

the more than me academy which has been transformed into the epicenter for effort to kick Ebola out of west point.

the soccer field at kru beach in west point // in spite of it all life carries on

The soccer field at Kru each in west point // in spite of it all life carries on

in front of redempton hospital/holding center to the right a ambulance with a dead body center a stack of corpses in body bags at right our ambulance with 3 children wiht possible symptoms

In front of Redempton hospital/holding center to the right a ambulance with a dead body center a stack of corpses in body bags at right our ambulance with 3 children with possible symptoms

The Long layover pt 1 –Waiting around

this was really my first time in LA

there had been some fly throughs

but this time i have a rental car

playing pole position

what fun

a pack of wolves

nipping at each others heals

-+-+-+-+-+-+

in a trendy pizza place

wade and chris sit on other side of an open partition

playing acoustic

barely audible over the din of the dining room

as i drew closer i was sucked in the brightness of the sound

slapping hands between songs i asked- who wrote it

me -wade said- this is the new shit

from a bar

back to the house

i convinced them to do a video mission

the next day i met up with Rebeka

an ernest soul

bright, driven, obsessed

an artist to her bones

but this is LA

like NYC

you wait tables too

lamenting la vie artistique

she was on board for the mission with the boys

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

driving past oil fields in a middle of a city

i made my way to Tonga

wondering how it will unfold