Global Solidarity With The Refugees

By Yazan Al-Saadi & Elia El Khazen

al-Manshour

We know all the numbers that need to be known.

We are aware of all the ratios of refugees to citizens in every country, from Lebanon to the UK, Libya to Greece, Macedonia to Canada.

We have seen all of the ruling class directly blame the refugees for their own policies’ shortcomings. The “refugee crisis” they insultingly call it, as if these desperate men, women, children and elderly were but a oncoming storm or a swarm of locus, an act of nature.

We have seen them channel the legitimate anger of workers towards acts of islamophobia, racism and petty nationalism, blaming the “other” for what neoliberalism’s destruction, gleefly utilized by legions of ruling elites, have brought onto us.

We have stood firm against the attempt of many authorities, and their ilk, to smear refugees entering various countries, describing them as an “invasion”. This label in particular is especially revolting when it in fact was various forms of historical and contemporary invasions, instigated, armed and politically covered by our own countries, that are why refugees were, and to continue to be, fleeing from their homes.

We have witnessed respective governments launch grenades and tear gas, fire rubber bullets and live rounds at refugees. We have witnessed these authorities watch silently as refugees helplessly sank in their boats, or cornered the refugees in pathetic ‘reception centers’ encircled by barbwire and are checkpoints. Any parallels with concentration camps arising from these scenes are clearly excused and to be expected.

These authorities have unashamedly denied paperwork, basic rights and services, affronted human dignity by their common use of torture, detention without trial, murder by negligence, and their constant vomiting of absolute hate against vulnerable refugees.

Our own government in Lebanon has gone even further by implementing a sponsorship system in which visa is only granted if tied to a property owning Lebanese citizen. Syrian refugees registered by UNHCR are forced to sign pledges not to work and to return to Syria when their expensive permits expire or when the Lebanese government demands it. Syrian refugees, and other so-called foreigners of the lower class, are subjected to illegal curfews that pepper the most affluent quarters of the country. These classist measures will only serve to compound abuses that are already burdening refugee communities.

As the Balkan route has been shut to more than 40,000 refugees and rendered their lives similar to the wretched squalor of Calais refugee camps in France, over a million refugees in Lebanon live under equally dire conditions every day. Already, as various reports have shown, the restrictive system has caused over 70 percent of Syrian refugees to fall below the poverty line. Many of them work in dangerous conditions for mediocre pay, with little to no benefits or legal protections, and they are in constant threat of arrest. Large numbers of Syrian refugees are trapped in a cycle of debt and indentured servitude, in addition to suffering from daily emotional, sexual, and physical abuses, in a nation that does not allow them free mobility within its borders.

Ultimately, the Syrian refugees are being punished for the Syrian revolution, an uprising that has captivated the world and polarized most of the ideological Left.

The traditional and Stalinist Left, both in the Arab world and in the West, have helped carry the message of Bashar el-Assad, which demonized courageous Syrian communities who rose up against his brutal and illegitimate regime. The echo his claims of a “security threat”, while others have repeated the horrendous discourse that these refugees are a ‘weapon’ in the hands of armed groups. While there are many different groups to blame, it is the Left, especially, that have made these refugees easy pray for neighboring and Western governments to ostracize, marginalize and exploit in the most offensive and inhuman ways.

This xenophobic discourse has also encouraged distracting competition between migrant workers and local workers, who are tricked into clashes with each other over mere scraps that fall off the ruling class’s bountiful table. In such a time, when the Leftist solidarity is needed most with the refugees, many of its members have betrayed the inherent principles under the justification of pragmatism and political allegiances. They can defend themselves in whatever way they think fit, but the fact of the matter remains: they are useful idiots for power-holders of today’s status quo.

A plethora of iNGOs and local NGOs are also partners in enabling this grotesque state of affairs, in which their actions have permitted the ruling class to reap the benefits of the absence of local states when it comes to services. INGOs and NGOs mainly turn a blind eye as oppression remains supreme, and only seek to offer cold comforts and small bandages to deep, deep wounds. For these organizations, it is the donor that is the priority rather than the refugees.

In the new chapter of the War on Refugees, the Lebanese government, along with its Turkish and Greek counterparts, have signed on to be foot-soldiers at the gateway to “Fortress Europe”. These ‘minions’ of the European strongholds are guilty of crackdowns on refugees merely to appease ridiculous European notions of “the spillover effect” of the Syrian revolution that threaten their tightly-held shores.

This is essentially why governmental aid are tied to magnitude of crackdowns, the ferociousness of security batons cracking skulls, and the containment of refugees in the not Western, ‘Global South’ parts of the world. The politicization of aid is but one cog in this dark machine. It will only result in the creation and furthering of more and more informal, abusive conditions for refugees, for children, for countless men and women.

For all these reasons and so much more, this Saturday is the first time since last year, when refugees stubbornly and rightly broke through Europe’s ever-expanding walls, that mass movements across 15 European countries along with Lebanon and Australia have coordinated various demonstrations to show solidarity with refugees in all places.

Join our call for solidarity. Organize in your city against the oppression, crackdown and scapegoating of refugees by your authorities. Challenge discrimination in all its forms.

Only solidarity prevails in the face of xenophobia, islamophobia, racism, sexism and classism.

Long live the refugee, the 21st century’s vanguard, who challenges the tapestry of repression by simple acts, and by their very humble existence.

Refugees of the world, we are with you. Refugees of the world, unite.

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Afghan refugees on hunger strike; demand border opening.

2/28/16
A group of around 150 Afghanis in Victoria square, central Athens, go on hunger strike. They demand that the northern borders of Greece leading into Macedonia are opened to let them in. They announce their plan to march by foot from Athens to the border, which is more than 500 km away.

Afghanis go on hunger strike – Athens from Ross Domoney on Vimeo.

Rethinking Solidarity with Refugees

al-Manshour

By Budour Hassan

In an attempt to challenge the rising tide of prejudice and incitement against refugees, world renowned artist Banksy sprayed a graffiti of the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, on a wall in Calais Refugee Camp last month.

The piece depicted Jobs, himself the son of a Syrian immigrant to the United States, carrying an Apple computer in his hand and a black bin bag over his shoulder.

Banksy, who rarely comments on his art, wrote in a statement:

“We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7bn a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”

While it is commendable that Banksy is dedicating his art and reputation to the cause of supporting refugees, he has provided an example of how even the most well-meaning initiatives to counter anti-refugee propaganda can get it completely wrong.

The problem with Banksy’s latest work does not solely lie in the fact that the move whitewashes Apple Inc., overlooking the corporation’s exploitation of workers and its flagrant and well-documented violations of their most basic rights.

Banksy’s action points to another profound problem: namely, the resort to a consequential argument in order to encourage more humane policies towards refugees.

While it is true that the myth that immigration is responsible for draining resources must be debunked, should our priority then be to saturate the media with individual success stories of immigrants to prove the propagandists wrong?

What position does this argument then force us into when confronted with the reality that millions of immigrants fail to become Steve Jobs? How will then we discuss those who were never granted the opportunity and privileges afforded to Jobs? Should they be dismissed? Of perhaps we agree they are worthy of vilification?

And even more still, what about those who cannot or do not want to be assimilated? Why should immigrants bear, in the first place, the burden to prove that they can “pay back” to the communities that absorb them, a burden with which a white male citizen isn’t encumbered?

In recounting the success stories of immigrants who turned out to be profitable to their host countries, not only are stories of wealthy, educated, and pioneering immigrants brought up. Some even go as far as boasting of those immigrants of Muslim origins who would go on to serve in the American army and fight in the Iraq war.

One can understand why Muslim immigrants facing blanket defamation would desperately try to prove their loyalty to their host countries. Yet was is not so readily recognized is that such arguments only further boost right-wing propaganda, reinforcing the notion that immigrants and refugees must constantly be obliged to prove their loyalty through assimilation—and that those who fail to do so are somehow the “bad immigrants” who then deserve our scorn and disdain.

The same applies to using the consequential argument that refugees, in the long run, will bring economic assets to their host countries.

It is likely that the migrants and refugees trapped in the Calais jungle will identify more with the sweat-drenched workers at the Apple factories than with Steve Jobs, the man who founded said factories.

It is also very likely that many of them will not be able to undergo such a dream transformation from being lost migrants to spectacularly successful businessmen.

That should not make them unworthy of reception, and they should not always be expected to beat impossibly tough odds to show that giving them asylum will provide the host country a sizable return on investment.

When advocating for the reception of migrants and refugees, our main argument should be a deontological rather than a utilitarian one. That’s not to say that there are not actual benefits for opening the borders. And those benefits are not just economic. The social interactions and multicultural diversity that open migration allows can only advance us a species. But it is the conviction that we hold a moral duty to open our borders and hearts to people fleeing war, poverty, persecution and other vulnerable statuses that should guide our attitudes towards refugees. Migrants and refugees should be welcome even if they fail to become the new Steve Jobs of this century or commit the very human sin of struggling to settle and succeed. In fact, human survival is dependent upon our consciousness of this moral duty not only to welcome refugees but to overthrow the man-made boundaries that restrict their movement.

“Only in a world in which the spaces of states have been perforated and topologically deformed and in which the citizen has been able to recognize the refugee that he or she is,” writes Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, “only in such a world is the political survival of humankind thinkable.”

In other words, our collective social, political and cultural survival rests upon realizing that we are all, in one way or another, refugees on this earth. As such, shaking the holy trinity of state-nation-territory, and dismantling the political, economic and bureaucratic regimes and structures that protect and buttress it, is our collective obligation.

Many might claim that this sounds too utopian and will be of little value when we face impoverished local workers who are convinced that migrants seek to deprive them of the scant opportunities they have and compete with them over the very limited resources at their disposal. It is inevitable that this perceived competition over meagre resources will lead an embattled working class to express antagonism and react with outright hostility towards migrants.

As the late historian Howard Zinn argues in his seminal book “A People’s History of the United States,” “the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.” This conflict is not solely fueled by the far right and the populist fascist propaganda. It is also the state, the political and business elite who also fan the flames as they thrive on the emergence and perpetuity of conflict amongst the different oppressed and marginalized groups. While the latter have the kind of rationality and political correctness that prevent them from employing the blatantly racist lexicon promoted by the far right; they incessantly work to alienate oppressed groups against each other to maintain the status quo and remain in power.

But just as abstract utopian principles will not suffice to overcome those very real and tangible tensions and clashes, neither will consequential arguments. Our empirical data to prove the opposite will matter little for those whose racist incitement against refugees is not grounded on facts and figures even if it is cloaked by them.

Highlighting the falsehoods of their claims is essential; yet more essential is to build alliances between the local working classes and marginalized groups and between refugees and migrants. The genuine conflict doesn’t take place between the oppressed but rather between them and the political and corporate elite. The latter are the ones monopolizing the wealth and concentrating resources in their hands while antagonizing their victims against each other and deflecting their outrage from the real oppressor to the most oppressed. Building those alliances and coalitions requires a long process but can only be achieved through intense and horizontal organizing on the ground and forming new networks of solidarity.

Such networks of solidarity are also important to build among the different groups of migrants and refugees. The starting point this process is for our advocacy not to be confined to legal definitions and classifications. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees only applies to those persecuted “for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Excluded from this protection are those who leave everything behind in their home countries to escape poverty and economic deprivation and in search of a more dignified life.

Poverty is war by other means and is the result of a structurally unjust local and global systems. It is primarily funneled by the same global powers that fund wars. Incidentally, those are the same forces that create this division between refugees and labor migrants, barely accepting the former while completely dehumanizing the latter.

It is mandatory to move beyond this legal classification and adopt a humanist, universal approach, because, as Nigerian novelist Teju Cole puts it: “moving for economic benefit is itself a matter of life and death. Because money is the universal language, and to be deprived of it is to be deprived of a voice while everyone else is shouting. Sometimes the gun aimed at your head is grinding poverty, or endless shabby struggle, or soul crushing tedium.”

Rather than being embroiled in a formalistic debate on who is a ‘real” refugee and on who deserves protection, our vocation should revolve around supporting refugees and migrants in challenging the global capitalist system that dispossesses them by shaking the borders that protect it. Shifting the discussion from refugees vs. migrants to mobilizing for open borders. Our discourse has to be as radical as the sacrifices of those migrants and refugees risking their lives leaving their homeland.

Driven from country to country, they, in Hannah Arendt’s words, “represent the vanguard of their peoples.” They do so not only by virtue of their courage to pave the way for others and search for new routes; they do so by exposing the crisis of the nation-state and shaking the concept of sovereignty to its very core. Inspired by their courage, we should follow their lead and break with the narrow legal categorizations that only aim at protecting the modern nation-state and defending its sovereignty. As the slogan goes, “protect humans not borders,” and this stands whether those trying to cross the borders are asylum or job seekers.

In Istanbul, Meeting The Iraqis About to Take Illegal Route Into Europe

Nawzat Shamdeen (Niqash)
During a visit to Istanbul’s “small city of Arabs” neighbourhood, NIQASH’s correspondent meets three friends who fled Islamic State-controlled Mosul and who are about to try to get to Europe, to seek asylum.
6.01.2016  |  Istanbul

As the day surrenders to darkness, Aksaray Square in the Turkish capital city, Istanbul, becomes a launchpad for the dreams of hundreds of Iraqis and Syrians desperately seeking a better life in Europe. The neighbourhood of Aksaray – or the small city of Arabs, as Turkish locals call it – looks like any busy neighbourhood in Baghdad or Damascus, with its cheap cafes and hotels filled with Arabs. And it is there that people smugglers meet with their clients to negotiate fares, and from there too, that would-be refugees are taken to the coast in order to make the illegal and perilous sea crossing to European shores.

I met there with three young men originally from the city of Mosul in northern Iraq; Mosul was taken over by the extremist group known as the Islamic State in June 2014 and has been controlled by the group ever since. Life is not good for residents of Mosul who don’t agree with the draconian philosophy of the Islamic State, or IS, group and many locals have tried to escape. These three young men are among them and one of them is a friend, a journalist named Abdul Muhaymin Bassel. When we met, the trio had already negotiated with a Syrian people smuggler and were supposed to meet him near the train station in Aksaray Square.

“From death…to death,” Abdul called to me, joking as he climbed aboard.

The people smuggler had told them to buy life jackets, rain coats and to carry only a small sports bag of their belongings. These are the only things allowed on the boats that will be used to carry them from Turkey to Greece. The items are sold everywhere here, with pictures displayed on signs outside dozens of small shops in lanes around Aksaray Square.

The people smuggler’s name is Tariq and he is in his late thirties. By the time he meets my friends, he has collected all of his clients for this journey after making a series of telephone calls. He left nine of them, including the three from Mosul, standing in the Square while another five were taken to an empty space underneath a bridge where he negotiated payment and departure dates in relative privacy. Prices are set by Tariq, who is successful, a big name in local smuggling circles, and non-negotiable – it costs US$1,300 for the trip and this includes the bus to the coast. Other people smugglers charge more per person – between US$2,500 and US$3,000 – and they say the would-be migrants will cross on a bigger boat. But this can often be a more complex process as the bigger boats are more likely to be stopped by the coastguard. Cheap rubber boats are faster and tend to encounter less official resistance, even though they are also more dangerous.

To hide his clients, Tariq divides them into three groups before they begin walking to the bus that will take them to the coast.

Tariq wouldn’t allow me to travel on the bus with my friends. And Abdul waved goodbye as he boarded the bus. “From death…to death,” the 25-year-old called to me, joking as he climbed aboard. He was referring to the fact that he and his friends, Omar, 22, and Moheb, 30, had all escaped death in Mosul, where the IS group have killed many local journalists, but that they were now facing death again, as they attempted to get to Europe. They have left their families behind in Iraqi Kurdistan and also in Turkey. How Abdul sees it: This voyage is just another journey, another adventure, that he must survive.

At around 10pm the bus left, heading for Izmir on the Turkish coast. Abdul promises to keep in touch with me by phone and Internet.

Rumour has it there are gangs on the road preying on migrants, stealing their money and sometimes even body parts.

The bus drove for nearly five hours, Abdul told me later, and Tariq got off and on at short stops. More passengers joined the bus, including women and children, and Tariq would also stop and talk to drivers of small cars he met with on the road – Abdul assumed they were lookouts. “It was like we were being kidnapped,” Abdul said, referring to rumours that there were gangs on the road preying on migrants, stealing their money, possessions and sometimes even body parts, before dumping the corpses in remote areas.

The bus stopped in a dark and lonely place and the smugglers ordered the passengers off the bus, telling them to switch off their cellphones and not to make any noise. In one long line they all walked through a ghostly forest for about an hour. When they got near the coast, they were told to wait. The smugglers could see the lights of the Turkish coastguard but they were waiting for a signal of their own too.

As soon as they received that signal, they swung into rapid action, inflating a rubber boat, attaching an outboard motor to it, as well as tyres and ropes. Then they set off for Greece – there were 49 people on the boat, which was about ten meters long.

And these migrants were lucky. They made it without any problems, Abdul told me later. “And when we got to Greece they gave us food and water, with a smile,” he says. From the coast of Greece, the trio of ex-Mosul locals were on their own. Abdul says the refugees share information with another continuously on social media and on messaging apps. He says their next moves were guided by one message telling them that the borders to Croatia are open but that there might be potential delays at the borders to Slovenia. “Be aware that the authorities may try and take you to the Hungarian border. To get to Croatia, buy a ten Euro ticket to the Serbian town of Šid then walk into Croatia. The nearest village is Tovarnik. There you will find help,” the message said.

After two days of non stop travelling, the three friends shared a hotel room for the night before moving onto Athens the following night, then to Thessaloniki on the border of Greece and Macedonia. At the train station there, Abdul estimates there were about 600 others trying to catch a train. The train, when they finally got on it, stopped at the last station on the Serbian border and then they joined a crowd of others and walked about another ten kilometres. The trio panicked when they saw Serbian troops – but in fact, Abdul reports, the soldiers were kind and told them which way to go. Then followed a taxi ride, a bus ride and then another taxi ride until the group reached Belgrade.

From Belgrade, they took a bus to the Croatian border, walked for five hours in a mountainous area and then at the Croatian border were hoping to catch the train. But the messages on social media were not private. “And we were so surprised to see about a thousand people all at the station waiting for the same train,” Abdul adds. The train was supposed to go to Slovenia and then Austria but instead it detoured to Hungary. Rumours about how harshly the Hungarian authorities treated migrants made everyone panic, as well as stories about how being an illegal immigrant could get you thrown into a Hungarian prison for three years – but their fears turned out to be baseless. After waiting several hours at the Hungarian border, the migrants were told that they could catch the next train to Austria, which would seat as many as 1,400 people and they were also offered a free lunch.

Many Iraqis who made the dangerous journey to Europe have decided their lives were better back home and they want to return.

Seven hours later, the trio were in Vienna. And it was here that they say they first felt some relief and some sense of the freedom they had so desperately been seeking, Abdul says. In Vienna they were told they could stay in Austria but that they were also free to leave. The trio decided they wanted to go to Sweden and after spending a night in one of the refugee camps in Germany, they travelled onwards. All three are now in Sweden applying for asylum.

Speaking to Abdul on Skype in Sweden, he is filled with optimism and describes the 13-day voyage as one of the most dangerous and most important in his life. He says that he and his friends were very lucky to have made it because they know plenty of other Iraqis who haven’t been able to make this journey – either they were stopped by security services, or their boat floundered (leading, in some cases, to fatalities) or they were tricked by people smugglers.

However, Abdul counters, since arriving in Europe he and his friends have also met plenty of Iraqis who say they want to return to Iraq, or who are seriously thinking about doing that. Ahmed Jamal, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirms this, saying that 7,500 temporary passports have been sent to Iraqi missions in Europe in order to facilitate the return of Iraqis who want to come back voluntarily, who had changed their minds about staying in Europe; widely publicized decisions by some European governments meant that Iraqis didn’t want to stay, and the passports were sent because often applying for asylum involves surrendering one’s own passport.

Speaking to other Iraqis in Scandinavia who are hoping for asylum in Europe, it becomes clear that many of them realise that their situation is somewhat precarious. Those from the south and from the north of Iraq may have lost hope that their lives will ever get better in Iraq and there may be ongoing daily dangers to survive. But in general they are not considered to be in as much danger as, say, Syrians or Palestinians who are applying for asylum. Many of these Iraqis will eventually be denied asylum. Some Iraqis have eventually discovered that their lives in Iraq were actually much better than they seemed to be in northern Europe, where they cannot speak the language, are unemployed and dependent on local bureaucracy.

As yet my friend Abdul is not one of these Iraqis. Despite any hardships Abdul, who is currently in Malmo, Sweden, with a temporary residency permit, may face, he says he will not go back to Iraq – unless he is forced to.

From Kirkuk to Hell: Tragic Tale of One Iraqi Family’s Attempt to Immigrate to Europe

Shalaw Mohammed  (Niqash)
Policeman Mohammed al-Faj’s family of seven left Kirkuk in mid-October to find a better life in Europe. By the end of October only one of them was left alive.
12.11.2015  |  Kirkuk

A city in northern Iraq, Kirkuk has become well known as a multi-ethnic flash point where political and sectarian disputes have caused all kinds of problems, some of them deadly. As a policeman there, al-Jaf was in more danger than in many other Iraqi areas.

So the 39-year-old sold his house and his car and decided to leave, together with his 34-year-old wife and their five children. On October 16, 2015, the family flew to Turkey. “There I contacted one of the Kurdish smugglers and he agreed to take us in a boat to Greece for US$3,000,” al-Faj continues. “On October 18, he told us the boat was ready and would take 20 passengers. He also sent me a picture of the proposed boat on a messaging app and I agreed to it. But when we arrived at the launching site it was a totally different boat and there were about 50 people trying to get on it. I was scared.”

Al-Faj talks about how the people smugglers sold them on to other people smugglers twice, before they even boarded the boat. Turkey is considered the best port of embarkation for Iraqis because it is easier for Iraqis to get into that country. From there those Iraqis trying to get to Europe will end up passing through the hands of, and paying, a number of people smuggling rings, with each guaranteeing them safe arrival at their destination of choice.

As al-Faj continues his story, he becomes tearful. “A strong wave hit the boat around midnight just as we were getting close to the Greek island of Lesbos,” al-Faj recalls. “The boat capsized and out of around 50 people on the boat, 25 people were rescued, 12 drowned and 13 are missing.”

Four of those who drowned and two of the missing were from al-Faj’s family. Four days after the incident, al-Faj decided to bury his four children’s bodies in a Muslim cemetery on another Greek island, Kos. They were Khanda, 16, Helen, 10, Van, 6, and Ahmad, 4. Al-Faj still hoped that the bodies of his wife and 11-year-old Abdul-Razzaq might be found. But the Greek government stated that they considered the 13 missing from the boat drowned.

“I am so sorry about what I did,” al-Faj says sorrowfully.

Al-Jaf’s father, Ahmad al-Jaf, is 72 and lives in Kirkuk. Almost three weeks after his family died at sea, he says he begged his son not to leave. But he wouldn’t listen. “The only thing I want now is to recover the bodies of my daughter-in-law and my five grandchildren,” al-Jaf told NIQASH.

“Right from the start I felt that they were traveling the wrong way,” says the brother of al-Jaf’s wife, who also still lives in Iraq. “But Mohammed said he must find a better way of life for his family. He told us not to worry or to be sad and that in 15 days, he would send us pictures of himself and his family in Germany. Five days later, I was told that my sister and my nieces and nephews were dead.”

All of al-Jaf’s relatives in Iraq want the Iraqi Kurdish government to help them bring the bodies home, but this seems unlikely to happen now.

In the meantime al-Faj has decided to continue his journey to Germany alone. He buried his children and then with the further help of other people smugglers, he made his way to northern Europe. He is now living in a refugee camp there. Although he says he has lost his will to live in many ways, he does not plan to return to Iraq. He says he will never go back again if he can help it.

#RefugeeSolidarity: Want to Volunteer on Lesvos?

First of all, THANK YOU for considering the trip. All help is needed. But please note there is currently no central coordination on Lesvos. You must read the information and decide which group(s) to work with. Join Information Point for Lesvos Volunteers if you haven’t yet.

 

Next, check the following documents:

 

  1. Information for Volunteers on Lesvos (shortlink: bit.ly/voldoc; FAQs, logistics, trip prep and more)
  2. Google map of Lesvos (shortlink: bit.ly/lesvolmap)
  3. Short-Term Volunteers spreadsheet (shortlink: bit.ly/lesvolsheet; add your name and dates to coordinate with others)

 

These will give you an overview to get started. They are frequently updated, so check back periodically.

 

When you’re closer to departure, check on these two lists:

 

  1. Donations Needed (shortlink: bit.ly/lesvoldonate; work in progress–check back frequently!)
  2. Volunteers Needed (shortlink: bit.ly/lesvolneeded; work in progress-check back!)

 

Refugees and everyone working on Lesvos appreciate your efforts! We can’t wait to see you!

 

——————————————-

these documents and links are referred to elsewhere; they’re listed here for easy reference

 

information for volunteers

 

information for refugees

[Video] Pakistani Authorities Continue to Destroy Refugee Camps Around the Country

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.03.43 PM

Pakistani Authorities Continue to Destroy Refugee Camps Around the Country

Written by Jabar

“Residents of a mud shantytown in Islamabad‬ have received orders to leave their homes before their neighborhood is destroyed. The inhabitants, mostly Afghan refugees and displaced Pakistanis, say authorities believe the district is a hotbed of militancy.” – RFE/RL

The destruction of refugee camps is part of a broader strategy to expel Afghan refugees from Pakistan entirely. Mass sweeps are scheduled to take place in many areas including ‪#‎Peshawar‬ later this year. Continue reading