Classes From Lesvos
All of us have the flexibility to make an impression on world points, from wizened grandmothers, to the Hollywood elite, to your common citizen with no money however a big heart. These are lessons we will study from Lesvos, the economically struggling Greek island whose residents have selflessly helped Syrian refugees arriving in their waters. The grassroots organization Avaaz not too long ago organized an international marketing campaign and collected 638,000 signatures supporting Lesvos’ nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize – extra specifically an 83 yr old grandmother who bottle fed refugee infants, a fisherman who has saved many from drowning, and American actress Susan Sarandon, who visited Lesvos and reported again for The Huffington Put up. The driving pressure behind these efforts is empathy and realizing that “they” are similar membrana tc stone island to us.
I remember my mom’s hand on my shoulder and her phrases as she spoke softly to me in melodious Greek. “See those folks over there ” She used her eyes to direct my gaze towards the people she was targeted on. One time it was a lone person picking an orange from a tall pyramid at the produce store. One other time it was a household with younger youngsters like my sister and me. One more time it was a girl sporting a headscarf. Whoever the person was, she demanded I pay them consideration. It was the 1970s and my mom was still wearing her hair teased out in a circular bouffant framing her face, with a light chiffon scarf lightly tied over it to maintain the wind from blowing her exhausting work away.
“See these individuals over there ” she would say. I might nod my head sure. “They’re similar to us.” I would stare at them and wonder what she meant. Have been they immigrants Did they have an accent like my parents Have been they Greek These individuals all the time had dark hair and eyes like us. But once they spoke, I could not perceive the language flowing from their lips. “Who’re they ” I would ask her, wondering if there was something I was lacking as I scrutinized them. She would squeeze my shoulder and say, “They’re Armenian,” or she would say, “They’re Arabs,” or “They are Persian,” or “They are from the Center East. They are similar to us.” She explained to me that they cooked the identical meals, that their music sounded like ours. They loved their families. They stuck collectively. The one difference was their religion.
My mom was one among ten kids, 5 ladies and 5 boys, growing up in a small farming village within the Peloponnesian area of Greece, close to the western coastline ringing the Ionian Sea. Her family lived in a two-room home they’d made out of mud bricks they’d shaped and dried and stacked themselves. They had been dirt poor, counting on their crops, livestock, and effectively water to survive. She came to the land of plenty on the age of 17 by means of an organized marriage, and even now, no matter that almost 60 years have gone by, she nonetheless waxes nostalgic about the idyllic happiness of these days amongst her sisters and brothers. And while she loves America and has deep gratitude for the comforts she’s earned right here, Greece will all the time be her homeland. In order a younger mom, deeply missing her siblings and parents, desperately wishing for grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins for her kids, she would level out others that had been like us. It was as if she was attempting to offer us and herself a spot of belonging, a way of extended household, if not by blood, then by way of cultural similarity.
Today I have a look at footage of Syrian refugees arriving on the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos I can’t help however think of her words: They’re just like us. I see photos of households, mothers, fathers, and kids in the grips of terror and grief and perhaps temporary relief as they attain shore. Lesvos is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait, at its narrowest point just three.Four miles extensive. This small geographic measurement is the road that separates the Syrian refugees from the shores of Turkey to the following step to freedom by way of Greece, and yet within these waters mothers and fathers have tried in vain to save lots of their children from drowning. I hear my mother’s voice. They’re just like us.
Even as the islanders of Lesvos face their very own disaster as Greece flounders to remain afloat in its personal economic emergency, they prolong their palms out to help. They grab hold of the refugees and pull them out of the water. They embrace them, dry them off, clothe them, feed them, home them. Greek fisherman patrol the membrana tc stone island darkish waters at night time in search of refugees in hazard, ready to tug them out of the sea engulfed in grief and concern, and ship them to safety. The people of Lesvos prolong themselves to assist the refugees, contributing their very own assets, sacrificing their security, and tirelessly working to feed and home the refugees. In doing so, they exhibit the best stage of humanity. Somewhat than saying, we do not have enough for ourselves, find another person that can assist you, they provide as a substitute, saying, let me share what I have.
CNN stories that 31 United States governors have stated that the Syrian refugees will not be welcome of their states. Why is it so laborious for them to look at the refugees with humanity, and to discover a secure approach to assist them enter Similar to within the old story about Stone Soup, where three touring Buddhist monks confirmed villagers how they may make enough scrumptious soup to feed everybody if they pooled their assets collectively, the islanders of Lesvos are working together with the Syrian refugees to find a means. I’ve learn numerous accounts of the islanders citing their very own poverty as their motivation to assist. When they appear on the Syrian refugees, I imagine their compassionate hearts whispering, they’re identical to us. If the citizens of a small economically devastated island can find the courage and sources to help, so can we. All we need to recollect is they’re similar to us.
One way To assist: When Syrian refugees arrive on Lesvos in unstable, overcrowded boats they are drenched in sea water. Their dirty clothes had been discarded till the Dirty Women of Lesvos started amassing, washing, sorting, and redistributing the clean clothes to arriving Syrian refugees. Your donation supplies warm jackets and clothes to the refugees and retains their outdated clothes out of landfill. Even Susan Sarandon obtained into the act. See her publish on serving to get clear with the Dirty Ladies. For more info see their Facebook web page.
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