Moria: city of the future

(Photo: internet)

When King Croesus, once the richest man of the world, went to the oracle at Delphi, it told him that a big empire would come to an end. Croesus made his empire Lydia big and wealthy and the oracle’s answer mislead him into attempting to conquer the Persian empire. However, he lost the battles, lost Lydia and his life.

You could consider history as an oracle. Were Europe to consult the oracle, the answer might be that a mighty empire will perish. Big empires always decline; that is the law of the Medes and the Persians. The only question is when.

The arrogance of the big states is that they think themselves invincible, not seeing that time is nibbling at them. For instance Europe: I see her as a tired, old lady, swinging her handbag against the big money makers, even though she knows they have already bought her house. Her body is too stiff to follow the always faster moving history.

Just take a look at the list of the biggest refugee camps— most of them in Africa. Compare them to the smaller camps on the Greek islands. Then you wonder who are the third-world-countries. Africa has many problems of its own but seems at least to know how to deal in a humaen way with refugees, in contrast to how Europe deals with refugees in – for example – camp Moria on Lesvos.

Our history consists of only wars and therefore it is strange that today’s crisis of refugees is considered as temporary. Refugees are no temporary problem! Since the Second World War produced over 60 millions of refugees, and like wars, refugees kept on coming and going.

Similarly there have always have been immigrants. In Rotterdam (Holland) they want to open a museum for the millions of emigrants that left from Rotterdam to America around one hundred and fifty years ago. I think that abit cynical, because these mostly very poor people were just economic refugees, a group of people that nowadays has a problem finding a new country; even in Rotterdam they are not welcome.

In the past people crossed the oceans because that huge Americaseemed to be the promised land. Now in Europe there is not much land to offer, but lots of villages are emptying, causing schools and shops to close leading to the whole village becoming uninhabited. And North European countries have to deal with an increasing number of labour shortages. I remember the same problem in the Sixties. Northern European countries then sought immigrants from the south of Europe and from Africa. Now emigrants and refugees knock on the door of Europe, but do not even get a chance to explain who they are or what they can do.

The visionair Kilian Kleinschmidtleft the UNHCR to realize his own ideas, one being the camp Za’atari in Jordan, where he created safety and more humane conditions: “We need to look at refugee camps as urban spaces”. For him it is important that the people – while waiting for whatever – have a safe space to live, to be able to earn some money or go to school, in order to keep their dignity.

Small NGO’s, the new world of hope, have also understood. They form the rare little high points of hope in the worst managed camps like Moria; what the European (and Greek) governments don’t do, on purpose or not — they do. Like collecting relief goods and medical equipment for the local hospital that struggles with the general Greek crisis, and, even important: they organize projects for the 8000 refugees stuck in and around the camp and for the local people. They provide medical assistance, schooling, musical projects, creative lessons, sports activities, theatre performances, dinners at restaurants and coffee sessions. But they cannot do anything about the mud, the make-shift tents, the eternal waiting times for food and papers, dangers and other inhumane things. Would mister Kilian Kleinschmidt be so good as to come and reorganize Moria?

I am fascinated by the big camps in Africa and in Jordan: they grow into new cities, complete with shopping streets and entertainment areas. Moria does not look at all like Za’atari city, where everybody has more space, physical and psychological. Perhaps the camp should become far bigger. The Chinese – looking for building projects all over the world – could do just the job, being so good in building new cities in no time. And there are plenty of ideas for refugees houses.

The devoted members of the long list of NGO’s keep on coming and going to the capital Mytilini, where it has become hard to find a room. The city fizzes with new life during summer and winter. Refugees keep on coming, as long as the wars in the Middle East do not finish. Change Moria into a city of the future. Lesvos can use a new city and even that way pimp up its damaged image.

Probably these words will fall on deaf ears. Europe is fixed on its economical dictatorship where there is no longer room for humane thinking. But the people are starting to react and climb the barricades. Europe, are you listening?!