“The Greek people are showing the world how to be human… how to try to help fellow human beings,” Redgrave told reporters during a visit to the Elaionas camp, the main facility housing migrants in Athens.
“Now we’ve got to tell our governments ‘you’ve got to step in here. The Greeks can’t solve all the problems in the world and be left to do it on their own,” said the 78-year-old actress, a life-long advocate of human rights.
“I have a duty to do what I can to speak for the refugees, the asylum-seekers, the families of the world,” she said
Mandy Patinkin responds to refugee "hate rhetoric."
"I know that if I took every governor, every congressman, every senator to that beach and if they helped these families get out of the boats, if they walked through the registration centers, if they took them on to the journey of their new life, they would feel very different and they wouldn't be afraid. They would feel like wonderful human beings. They'd feel like Americans. They'd feel the way we're supposed to be." Tonight on PBS, actor Mandy Patinkin, who aided refugees in Greece this summer, responds to the "hate rhetoric" he's found in the U.S. since his return.Posted by Charlie Rose on Monday, December 21, 2015
know that if I took every governor, every congressman, every senator to
that beach and if they helped these families get out of the boats, if
they walked through the registration centers, if they took them on to
the journey of their new life, they would feel very different and they
wouldn't be afraid. They would feel like wonderful human beings. They'd
feel like Americans. They'd feel the way we're supposed to be."
Mandy wrote in a commentary published by The Washington Post on Dec. 6. “I saw Grandpa Max, who left Poland to escape the Nazis, and Grandma Masha, who was forced from Russia during the pogroms. And now I could help this family reach the safety of Germany — a place my ancestors had fled — in search of welcoming arms.”
Mandy was moved by the mountains of lifejackets left behind by refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos: More than 440,000 refugees from conflict-ravaged countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have crossed the Aegean Sea to the island, where the IRC is providing critical aid to thousands of people sheltering in refugee camps.
“This is all they had to keep them alive if they went in the water and, as we all know, many people didn’t make it. This is a graveyard of life preservers,” he says.
In the Kara Tepe refugee camp in Mytilene, Lesbos, Mandy met Khoder Al Assy and his wife Safae, who lost their money and passports to the waves. The Syrian family was hoping to reach Germany with their two little boys to reunite with relatives.
“I just don’t get it. I don’t get how people in different countries all over the world can be frightened of people who suffered so much, who are so in need, who are so desperately asking to have freedom, justice and dignity,” Mandy says in a video of his visit. “Just give them a welcome.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Heather Higginbottom on March 28th visited the northern Aegean island of Lesvos, where she met with local and national government officials and representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The U.S. delegation visited facilities involved in registering newly arrived migrants and we had a chance to talk with some young refugees.
U.S. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom said during a press conference:
“… I’ve heard about, and now I’ve witnessed this beautiful town, incredible acts of kindness and generosity, the efforts to rescue people at sea, and to help shelter and feed them here in this community has provided a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people.
The United States is a partner in this effort. I am here on my way to a conference in Geneva hosted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. I’ll be representing the President and the Secretary of State, who back in Washington have this issue, both solving the crisis in Syria with a diplomatic solution, and addressing the migrant refugee crisis as a top priority of our administration.
But I wanted to come here first before heading to Geneva, to learn more about what is happening here and to express appreciation for all those in Lesvos and across Greece are doing for migrants that are arriving here. And I wanted to learn first hand how we can better support that work.
So I’m pleased to announce today that we are committing an additional 20 million dollars for efforts to provide protection, shelter, food and other life saving assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants throughout Europe, including here in Greece. The 20 million dollars includes 17.5 million dollars for UNHCR, two million dollars for the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent, and 500 thousand dollars for the United Nations Population Fund.
This new funding brings the total US humanitarian assistance for the regional refugee and migrant support effort to more than 43.6 million dollars since it started last year. The welfare of migrants and refugees, including those who are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to find safety in Europe is a top priority for President Obama and across our government. We are strongly committed to supporting refugees through assistance to the region, resettlement in the United States and by working with other nations and organizations to increase global support”.
SOURCE: Embassy of the U.S. in Athens
PHOTO: State Department
“Ai Weiwei at Cycladic” will showcase new works inspired by the MCA’s permanent archeological collection alongside 25 of the artist’s most significant works, placed within the collection, including “Grapes” (2011), “Divina Proportione” (2012), “Mask” (2011), “Cao” (2014).
According to the MCA, Ai Weiwei has been invited to exhibit a series of works that would explore his practice and the emphasis his work places on history and heritage, as well as his critical examination of current political and social issues.
Michael Frahm, Exhibition Curator says, “Ai’s work often looks to the past for its inspiration and as an artist he has often worked with materials that have deep cultural associations. This is why the Museum of Cycladic Art is the ideal location for his first exhibition in Greece.
“Their historic and important collection speaks to his appreciation of the past and his hope for the future. We are also delighted to be working with the museum to directly benefit the people Ai has encountered during his time in Lesbos.”
The Museum of Cycladic Art (MCA) in Athens announcing the major exhibition with Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist’s first within an archaeological museum, and in the country of Greece. Titled “Ai Weiwei at Cycladic,” the exhibition will take place from May 20 to October 30, 2016.
Earlier this year, Ai Weiwei set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos to draw attention to the refugee crisis in Europe. 10% of all exhibition takings, merchandise sales, and sponsorship funds will go directly to a number of hand selected NGOs working throughout Greece to help the refugee crisis.
Sandra Marinopoulos, President of the Museum of Cycladic Art says, “In the context of our contemporary art program we have long been keen on presenting Ai Weiwei’s work at the Museum of Cycladic Art.
“I am thrilled that we are able to host Ai Weiwei’s first ever exhibition in an archeological museum and introduce him to our Greek audience! His constant dialogue between the ancient and the new will be manifested through the creation of a new marble work inspired by our permanent collection.”
The jury of the Council of Europe has awarded the 2016 Raoul Wallenberg Prize to Agkalia, a Greek association on the island of Lesvos, for its “outstanding achievements in providing frontline assistance to thousands of refugees irrespective of their origin and religion”.
As Lesvos has become a European gateway for refugees, Agkalia has been providing temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid to people in need, assisting some 17,000 refugees and migrants since May 2015. Through its work to assist refugees, Agkalia also promotes tolerance and human rights. Founded by Father Efstratios (“Papa-Stratis”), who passed away in September 2015, Agkalia has continued to gain steady support as its devoted associates pursue the Father’s endeavour.
“As a small and flexible local organisation based on volunteers, Agkalia sets a leading example of effective action by European civil society on a burning global issue”, stated Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, announcing the jury’s decision. “Agkalia’s activities reflect the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and contribute to its work to promote and protect human rights in Europe and beyond,” he added.
The award ceremony of the 10.000 euro prize will take place on 13 January 2016, at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.
The Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize was established in 2012 at the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament. The first prize, which is biennial, was awarded in January 2014 to Elmas Arus, Turkish film director of Roma origin.
SOURCE: Council of Europe
Ambassadors of European Union state members and Schengen associated countries visited the island of Lesvos accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis and Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas the delegation met with dozens of migrants and refugees who had just disembarked from rigged dinghies.
The delegation boarded a Coastguard open-sea vessel and sailed the maritime borderline between Greece and Turkey.
Mr. Mouzalas stated: “We wanted you to see where the boats come from and explain to you, once again, that the work we are doing at sea to defend the borders of Europe is to save people. You can’t repel at sea. On our land borders, we can keep out people who don’t have the right to come in. On the maritime borders we have to save them”.
The visit concluded at the Regional Council Hall in Lesvos, where Mr. Mouzalas briefed the Ambassadors in detail on the procedures for reception, registration and relocation that take place in Greece, within the framework of international and European law. During the briefing, Mr. Mouzalas referred to the routes Syrian refugees are taking to Europe, and he went into detail regarding Greece’s duties.
He also noted the need for officials of foreign states to consult with the Greek authorities during their scheduled visits to the region, so that they can gain a rounded view of the refugee and migration issue. Having thanked the NGOs for their work in the region, Mr. Mouzalas noted that the government’s goal was to bring order to the way in which NGOs operate in order to optimize assistance for the refugees.
Alternate Foreign Minister Xydakis welcomed the international delegation to Lesvos: “You are eyewitnesses to what is happening on the European borders. We are shouldering the burden of receiving people from the war regions, from regions in civil conflict or regions of poverty and despair. We are acting in accordance with the rules of international law, in accordance with the EU treaties, and in line with the fundamental principles of the democracies and peoples of Europe. In accordance with these principles, we are not repelling people who are at sea; that is, we do not leave them to sink and drown. We are saving human lives. I ask that you convey to your governments and to your peoples what is really happening and the things you have seen with your own eyes. Just as France invoked article 42 of the Lisbon Treaty to activate the solidarity of the EU member states in the struggle against terrorism – solidarity that we all have a duty to provide – Greece, in accordance with international law and the European treaties, is asking for the solidarity and understanding of the EU member states.”
SOURCE: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greece
On October 26, Clowns Without Borders USA will begin a performing project on the Greek island of Lesvos, to support the influx of Syrian and other refugees who have been flooding the island to escape the perils of their countries, and seek a better, more secure life. The number of daily arrivals to Lesvos reached record breaking numbers in September, and October is only seeing an increase. More than 300,000 refugees have passed through the Greek islands since the beginning of 2015. October is the last month that it is safe to make the crossing before winter sets in, and the deterioration of the situation in Syria and Afghanistan means that there are thousands camped out on the coast of Turkey, waiting for the opportunity to attempt the perilous journey.
Clowns Without Borders USA is humbled and honored to be able to ease the pain and uncertainty of the refugee journey in some small way. In Lesvos we will be playing small group interactions, shows, songs, and magic tricks with children and families who are waiting to move on in their journey.
An American mother of a two year old had a revelation one day while lugging her child in her arms during a routine trip to the grocery store and realizing how heavy he was. Then, captivated by the photo of a small Syrian child who had washed up on a Turkish beach while trying with his family to flee to the island of Kos— where her husband’s family is from— Crystal Logothetis had her very own “eureka moment.”
Reading the news reports and seeing so many photos of refugee moms carrying their children, walking for miles and miles across borders and through rough, wet— and sometimes dangerous terrain— I had a thought to gather baby carriers and send them to Greece to offer them to these parents.
Photo: Carry The Future via Facebook
From that single moment, a movement was born and Crystal’s vision grew and expanded to Carry the Future, an organization supporting parents with young children by providing baby carriers, food packs and other items to help ease the pain and suffering of refugees in Greece. With the help of thousands of people throughout the world, Crystal raised more than $40,000 via an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign and received thousands of baby carriers that she and a team of volunteers took to Greece and handed out to refugee moms and dads.
“Locals scrambled to find dry clothes and babies that had been found with no parents were changed and cared for by local Greek grandmothers until authorities could take care of them. Churches were suddenly turned into a makeshift clinic with injured being attended to. The local priest kept coming in and out of the church carrying blankets and dry clothes, his wife was getting people cups of tea and comforting distraught mothers. Police were busy trying to get names of the people missing at sea, ambulance officers were stretched to the limit transporting only the critical to the hospital in the city of Mytillini (an hours drive away) while volunteers nursed the other injured.”
When Helen isn’t volunteering at the medical center she’s shopping for toys and other items to help the most vulnerable of the refugees– especially the young ones. She’s also lending a hand, where needed, for other vulnerable groups, including a group of LGBT refugees.
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