Today we started with the topic of borders, externalization of borders and the freedom to move. Juli, from Stop Mare Mortum, explained the work, history and structure of their organization. We found out that the Mediterranean sea has been one of the deadliest seas recently, because refugees have been risking their lives to cross it with small boats and arrive to their destinations.
Stop Mare Mortum helps refugees to cross borders more safely and offers them legal advice. They also offer children and adolescents training sessions in schools about refugees’ journey which is full of danger and obstacles.
After Juli left, we watched a short documentary (Escape from Syria) about a young woman fleeing from Syria with a friend. The documentary followed the young woman called Rania and her friend in Syria, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Austria. This documentary touched our feelings and everyone watched it with a shock on their faces. The portrayal of the actual life of a refugee fleeing made us understand the humanitarian side of the situation rather than numbers, statistics, facts and policies. Everyone was horrified when Rania, her friend and the others almost drowned in the little overcrowded boat, sailing from Turkey to Lesbos. Rania and her friend survived and fled all the way to the border of Macedonia, but when they tried to cross the border the soldiers threw stones and teargas at them. Unlike many others Rania and her friend where lucky enough to take a flight from Greece to Austria, but were caught by the Austrian police.
Link to documentary: https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2017/aug/02/escape-from-syria-ranias-odyssey-video
Based on this documentary we tried to find answers to tree questions:
1) Who are allowed to come in? Who are not?
2) Who are we to decide who is coming in?
3) Reasons that people would have and solutions to the problems of ignorance.
We discussed why it is not acceptable to welcome tourist and migrants from western countries to Europe and at the same time banning refugees to enter. Some countries discriminate and select refugees based on certain criteria like religion, culture or nationality. Some countries state that they only want people with Christian background and not Muslim background. They use the argument that the Muslims are not compatible with the cultures of their nations, but that is a misunderstanding since many Muslims live and thrive in many western countries. Also other criteria were made to select who can enter for example refugees of Lgbt background has better opportunities getting asylum than others.
Here are some pictures from the discussions: