Friday, November 24, 2017
The Refugee Scandal on the Island of Lesbos
November 24, 2017
Those wishing to visit ground zero of European ignominy must simply drive up an olive tree-covered hill on the island of Lesbos until the high cement walls of Camp Moria come into view. "Welcome to prison," someone has spray-painted on the walls. The dreadful stench of urine and garbage greets visitors and the ground is covered with hundreds of plastic bags. It is raining, and filthy water has collected ankle-deep on the road. The migrants who come out of the camp are covered with thin plastic capes and many of them are wearing only flipflops on their feet as they walk through the soup. Children are crying as men jostle their way through the crowd.
Welcome to one of the most shameful sites in all of Europe. Camp Moria was originally built to handle 2,330 refugees. But currently it is home to 6,489.
Omar Sherki crawls out of a tent set up against the outside wall of the camp, a thin, pale man who was studying to become an engineer in Syria and played guitar in a rock band. He lives with hundreds of other men in an orchard outside the walls because Camp Moria has become so dangerous. His mattress lies on a wooden palette, beneath which rainwater has collected.
Omar is waiting for aid workers to distribute food: rotten-smelling meatballs and a bowl of rice. "I left to escape one war and ended up in a new one," he says.