There are plenty of reasons why people travel: business, holidays, love, education etc. But sometimes traveling is a way to escape from a situation you don’t like. This time Idomeni is about migrants that escape from war! There are people from Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Afganistan trying to reach Germany or Sweden alive. There are people that have been through real drama but they courageously carry on!
Idomeni is a small Greek village of 150 people, only 30m from the borders with F.Y.R.O.M. and almost 90 Km from Thessaloniki. If somebody wants to visit the camp has 5 options:
|– to take a city bus to reach Thessaloniki’s “Macedonia Intercity Bus Station”, an intercity bus (K.T.E.L.) to reach Polykastro and then a taxi for 24 Km to Idomeni|
|– to take taxi to cover all the distance|
|– to rent a car|
|– join some organizations’ actions|
|– ask me, cause I like to return there sometimes and offer solidarity! 🙂|
Two members of BeenThere.eu had the opportunity to drive to Idomeni with Malath Alzoubi, a Syrian journalist that currently lives in London and visited Greece to cover a reportage on the radio station that he works. We bought some water to deliver, some pencils and papers, clothes that we didn’t need anymore and started our 2-day trip. On the road we discussed with Malath about the differences and similarities between Greece and Syria, about the war in Syria and about the situation in other refugee camps in Europe.
Before reaching the village of Idomeni we saw another smaller camp organized from the UNHCR and as we kept approaching the village we saw a lot of refugees walking on the street or the fields. The first images of reality slapped us on the face! In the middle of nowhere, alongside Axios river and the green fields there were dozens of people walking and carrying heavy stuff silently. We stopped to take some photos and speak to them. We helped some of them with their baggage and offered to give them a drive for the last Kilometers but they preferred to stay united. The majority of them were smiling and doing victory’s sign with their fingers, cause they achieved their goal to reach the borders alive!
When we got into the village there were a lot of images of people to compare: the international press (from Spain, UK, Greece, Serbia, France, Italy, Bulgaria and maybe more), refugees that arrived days ago taking their morning walk, tired walkers just arrived laying on the fields, the N.G.O.s and a lot of individuals helping the rest of the people. A small society full of motivation, working to reserve human dignity and rights. Of course you could see kind or pressing people, clean or dirty people, happy or grumpy people, but you can choose who are you going to spend your time with. The most important thing I learnt during our 2-day trip to Idomeni was that people are the same everywhere!
I will choose not to speak about politics or personal drama and I will let the pictures speak on their own. I will just suggest you to live that experience, be patient and offer some solidarity if you can. If you have some extra info about Idomeni don’t hesitate to leave a comment to help us all.