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July 29, 2017
Classes From Lesvos
All of us have the flexibility to make an impact on world points, from wizened grandmothers, to the Hollywood elite, to your average citizen with no cash however an enormous coronary heart. These are classes we can be taught from Lesvos, the economically struggling Greek island whose citizens have selflessly helped Syrian refugees arriving of their waters. The grassroots organization Avaaz recently organized a global campaign and collected 638,000 signatures supporting Lesvos’ nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize – extra specifically an 83 year outdated grandmother who bottle fed refugee babies, a fisherman who has saved many from drowning, and American actress Susan Sarandon, who visited Lesvos and reported back for The Huffington Post. The driving drive behind these efforts is empathy and realizing that “they” are just like us.
I remember my mother’s hand on my shoulder and her phrases as she spoke softly to me in melodious Greek. “See those people over there ” She used her eyes to direct my gaze toward the individuals she was focused on. One time it was a lone particular person selecting an orange from a tall pyramid at the produce retailer. One other time it was a family with young youngsters like my sister and me. Yet one more time it was a girl wearing a headscarf. Whoever the individual was, she demanded I pay them attention. It was the 1970s and my mom was nonetheless carrying her hair teased out in a circular bouffant framing her face, with a mild chiffon scarf flippantly tied over it to maintain the wind from blowing her onerous work away.
“See those individuals over there ” she would say. I might nod my head yes. “They are similar to us.” I’d stare at them and surprise what she meant. Were they immigrants Did they’ve an accent like my mother and father Were they Greek These individuals all the time had dark hair and eyes like us. However when they spoke, I couldn’t perceive the language flowing from their lips. “Who are they ” I’d ask her, questioning if there was something I used to be lacking as I scrutinized them. She would squeeze my shoulder and say, “They are Armenian,” or she would say, “They’re Arabs,” or “They are Persian,” or “They are from the Middle East. They are similar to us.” She defined to me that they cooked the identical food, that their music sounded like ours. They liked their families. They stuck collectively. The one difference was their religion.
My mom was certainly one of ten kids, 5 women and 5 boys, rising up in a small farming village in the Peloponnesian area of Greece, yellow stone island bodywarmer near the western coastline ringing the Ionian Sea. Her household lived in a two-room home they’d made out of mud bricks they’d formed and dried and stacked themselves. They were dirt poor, relying on their crops, livestock, and effectively water to survive. She got here to the land of loads at the age of 17 by an organized marriage, and even now, regardless of that almost 60 years have gone by, she nonetheless waxes nostalgic concerning 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. So as a younger mother, deeply lacking her siblings and mother and father, desperately wishing for grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins for her kids, she would point out others that have been like us. It was as if she was attempting to offer us and herself a spot of belonging, a sense of prolonged family, if not by blood, then by cultural similarity.
Right now I have a look at pictures of Syrian refugees arriving on the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos I can not help however think of her phrases: They’re just like us. I see pictures of families, mothers, fathers, and kids in the grips of terror and grief and yellow stone island bodywarmer perhaps non permanent relief as they reach shore. Lesvos is separated from Turkey by the slim Mytilini Strait, at its narrowest point just 3.Four miles wide. This small geographic measurement is the line that separates the Syrian refugees from the shores of Turkey to the subsequent step to freedom through Greece, and but inside these waters mothers and fathers have tried in vain to save their youngsters from drowning. I hear my mom’s voice. They are just like us.
Even because the islanders of Lesvos face their very own crisis as Greece flounders to remain afloat in its own economic emergency, they extend their hands out to assist. They grab hold of the refugees and pull them out of the water. They embrace them, dry them off, clothe them, feed them, house them. Greek fisherman patrol the darkish waters at evening in search of refugees in hazard, prepared to tug them out of the sea engulfed in grief and concern, and ship them to safety. The individuals of Lesvos extend themselves to help the refugees, contributing their very own assets, sacrificing their safety, and tirelessly working to feed and home the refugees. In doing so, they exhibit the highest stage of humanity. Somewhat than saying, we don’t have enough for ourselves, find someone else that can assist you, they offer as a substitute, saying, let me share what I’ve.
CNN studies that 31 United States governors have said that the Syrian refugees will not be welcome in their states. Why is it so exhausting for them to look at the refugees with humanity, and to discover a protected means to help them enter Just like in the outdated story about Stone Soup, where three traveling Buddhist monks confirmed villagers how they may make sufficient delicious soup to feed everyone if they pooled their resources together, the islanders of Lesvos are working along with the Syrian refugees to discover a way. I’ve learn numerous accounts of the islanders citing their own poverty as their motivation to assist. When they appear at the Syrian refugees, I imagine their compassionate hearts whispering, they are identical to us. If the residents of a small economically devastated island can find the courage and resources to help, so can we. All we want to remember is they are similar to us.
A method To help: When Syrian refugees arrive on Lesvos in unstable, overcrowded boats they’re drenched in sea water. Their dirty clothes had been discarded till the Soiled Women of Lesvos began collecting, washing, sorting, and redistributing the clear clothes to arriving Syrian refugees. Your donation gives heat jackets and clothes to the refugees and retains their outdated clothes out of landfill. Even Susan Sarandon received into the act. See her publish on serving to get clear with the Soiled Ladies. For more data see their Fb page.
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