Classes From Lesvos
All of us have the ability to make an impact on world issues, from wizened grandmothers, to the Hollywood elite, to your average citizen with no money however a big coronary heart. These are lessons we can study from Lesvos, the economically struggling Greek island whose citizens have selflessly helped Syrian refugees arriving in their waters. The grassroots group Avaaz lately organized a world campaign and collected 638,000 signatures supporting Lesvos’ nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize – extra specifically an 83 year previous 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 power behind these efforts is empathy and realizing that “they” are similar to us.
I remember my mom’s hand on my shoulder and her phrases as she spoke softly to me in melodious Greek. “See these folks over there ” She used her eyes to direct my gaze towards the folks she was targeted on. One time it was a lone individual choosing an orange from a tall pyramid on the produce store. One other time it was a household with younger kids like my sister and me. Yet another time it was a girl wearing a headscarf. Whoever the individual was, stone island cargo pants black 31006 she demanded I pay them consideration. It was the 1970s and my mom was still wearing her hair teased out in a circular bouffant framing her face, with a light chiffon scarf lightly tied over it to keep the wind from blowing her hard work away.
“See those individuals over there ” she would say. I’d nod my head sure. “They are identical to us.” I’d stare at them and surprise what she meant. Have been they immigrants Did they have an accent like my mother and father Were they Greek These individuals all the time had darkish hair and eyes like us. However once they spoke, I couldn’t perceive the language flowing from their lips. “Who are they ” I might ask her, questioning if there was one thing I was lacking as I scrutinized them. She would squeeze my shoulder and say, “They are Armenian,” or she would say, “They are Arabs,” or “They’re Persian,” or “They are from the Middle East. They are identical to us.” She defined to me that they cooked the identical food, that their music sounded like ours. They beloved their households. They caught collectively. The only distinction was their religion.
My mom was considered one of ten youngsters, 5 girls and five boys, rising up in a small farming village in the Peloponnesian area of Greece, near the western coastline ringing the Ionian Sea. Her family lived in a two-room home they’d made out of mud bricks they’d shaped and dried and stacked themselves. They had been dirt poor, counting on their crops, livestock, and effectively water to outlive. She came to the land of a lot at the age of 17 through an organized marriage, and even now, stone island cargo pants black 31006 regardless of that almost 60 years have gone by, she still waxes nostalgic about the idyllic happiness of those days among her sisters and brothers. And whereas 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 mom, deeply lacking her siblings and parents, desperately wishing for grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins for her children, she would point out others that had been like us. It was as if she was making an attempt to provide us and herself a spot of belonging, a way of extended household, if not by blood, then by means of cultural similarity.
At the moment I have a look at footage of Syrian refugees arriving on the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos I can not assist but consider her phrases: They’re identical to us. I see photos of families, mothers, fathers, and youngsters in the grips of terror and grief and perhaps short-term relief as they attain shore. Lesvos is separated from Turkey by the slim Mytilini Strait, at its narrowest level simply three.4 miles extensive. This small geographic measurement is the line that separates the Syrian refugees from the shores of Turkey to the next step to freedom via Greece, and yet inside these waters mothers and fathers have tried in vain to avoid wasting their youngsters from drowning. I hear my mother’s voice. They’re just like us.
Even because the islanders of Lesvos face their very own disaster as Greece flounders to stay afloat in its personal financial emergency, they prolong their palms out to assist. They seize hold of the refugees and pull them out of the water. They embrace them, dry them off, clothe them, feed them, home them. Greek fisherman patrol the darkish waters at evening on the lookout for refugees in danger, ready to tug them out of the sea engulfed in grief and worry, and deliver them to safety. The people of Lesvos extend themselves to assist the refugees, contributing their very own sources, sacrificing their safety, and tirelessly working to feed and house the refugees. In doing so, they exhibit the highest degree of humanity. Reasonably than saying, we don’t have enough for ourselves, find another person that will help you, they offer as an alternative, saying, let me share what I’ve.
CNN studies that 31 United States governors have mentioned that the Syrian refugees will not be welcome of their states. Why is it so onerous for them to look at the refugees with humanity, and to find a safe way to assist them enter Similar to in the outdated story about Stone Soup, where three traveling Buddhist monks showed villagers how they may make enough scrumptious soup to feed everyone if they pooled their assets collectively, the islanders of Lesvos are working along with the Syrian refugees to find a method. I’ve read quite a few accounts of the islanders citing their own poverty as their motivation to help. When they look at the Syrian refugees, I imagine their compassionate hearts whispering, they’re identical to us. If the citizens of a small economically devastated island can discover the courage and sources to assist, so can we. All we’d like to recollect is they’re just like us.
One way To assist: When Syrian refugees arrive on Lesvos in unstable, overcrowded boats they’re drenched in sea water. Their dirty clothes had been discarded till the Dirty Women of Lesvos began accumulating, washing, sorting, and redistributing the clear clothes to arriving Syrian refugees. Your donation supplies heat jackets and clothes to the refugees and retains their outdated clothes out of landfill. Even Susan Sarandon obtained into the act. See her post on serving to get clear with the Dirty Ladies. For more information see their Fb page.
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