The most dangerous border crossing in the world

Back home in London after a very uneventful journey where we returned our rental car at the airport, checked our bag, got our boarding passes, had a 4 hour layover in Athens, arrived at Heathrow, went through passport control, got on Heathrow express, the Bakerloo line, then the Northern line before arriving home. The home where I had remotely put on the heat so it was nice and warm when we arrived. This seems so normal to us but for all of the people who are fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, this way of travelling is no longer available to them. Instead they have to sleep in makeshift camps, in the wet, in the cold, walk for hours, and most of all pay a lot of money to risk their lives trying to cross a small stretch of water.

I’ve heard reports today that there were many boats arriving on the northern shore of Lesbos. Boats filled with wet, cold and very frightened people. Lot’s of kids that are so scared they’ve shut down. They are unresponsive and just follow orders. Or they cry, they cry out of fear — no child should ever have to cry out of fear like that and here there are so many of them.

It’s really difficult to not feel guilty; guilty of laying in a warm bed after a leisurely Sunday finished of by a nice warm meal, when so many people are suffering, when I keep hearing the stories of more frightened people arriving from my fellow volunteers that are still on Lesbos. Feeling guilty for not having been able to find a fitting pair of winter shoes to the little boy that I dressed the other day — how will he get on in this bad weather in those summer shoes that I put on him? For not having found a pair of pants that fit the boy of 7 years that were wet and cold to the bones but rather put on a pair that were too big?

Turkey as seen from the Lighthouse beach on Lesbos

But I can’t do that, the only thing I can do is keep going. Keep the agenda on the table, share the stories so that more people get outraged, react until we see a change. A humanitarian change, where the stretch of water between Turkey and Lesbos is no longer the most dangerous border crossing in the world.

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