Παρασκευή, 21 Αυγούστου 2009

Pagani, Mitilini island , Greece

Article & photos: Afrodite Al Salech
The translation belongs to Christina Melidou

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In an old warehouse in the outskirts of the city of Mytilini, in Pagani, the Special Center for the Detention of Foreigners has been established.
It is built to accommodate 250 people.


Today there are 900 people held there. 300 of them are children aged 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 years old who are not accompanied by their parents.I have visited other detention centers. Everyday I face the harsh reality of human shadows walking around the historic center of Athens. I thought I had seen it all. But what I witnessed today in Pagani is overwhelming.

Hundreds of children stand by the windows, begging you to take their photo in the hope that people, kind people, will learn of their sufferings, will feel compassion and perhaps even help them…
Begging for help and handing us pieces of paper with the word FREEDOM written on them.

Many of these children have been held there for 2-3 months. They can’t go out in the courtyard, not because they are forbidden to but because there’s simply not enough room.

Several children aged 7, 9, 12, 14 started a hunger strike yesterday.
One of them fainted and was taken to hospital today.

It is not just a sence of humanity and duty, it is not a feeling of love towards Iranians, Afgans or any other human being.
It is something else that makes me write this : a deep sense of patriotism. Yes.
It is not just a question of what will happen to little Mohamed, Asman or Ali but also what will happen to little Katerina, Christina or Kostas – our own children. What kind of a country will they grow up in? What will we reply to their questions? What kind of role models will we provide them with?



And I want to ask our politicians and each one of us separately: Do we intend to go down in history as the first country to reinstate concentration camps after the end of WWII?

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