The EU Hotspot camp Moria is history. It has been burned to the ground.
The fire that ravaged the camp on Lesvos is the inevitable and foreseeable outcome of the European policy that imposes the confinement of tens of thousands of refugees to the Greek islands in disastrous conditions. Countless fires have struck the different hotspot camps on the Greek Islands since they were transformed into open air prisons by the EU-Turkey Deal in March 2016.
These fires hardly provoked any more reaction than a short media outcry until the survivors were again forgotten. In fact, the people’s suffering has for years been deliberately ignored.
This time, the situation is different. The camp structure has been entirely erased. The asylum office is no more than ashes surrounded by barbed wire. The deportation prison inside Moria is empty and destroyed. For years, people have been peacefully struggling for their freedom and have been ignored. Now the camp is burned to the ground.
The events are closely entangled with the ever-worsening politics of incarceration. Since March, the camp has been under lockdown and people were trapped without the most basic supplies. At the beginning of the month, the Greek government concluded a contract with a private company to transform the entire camp into a prison surrounded by double barbed wire fencing and equipped with security gates – financed by the EU. The Covid-19 pandemic has been instrumentalized to push for these plans. Instead of providing appropriate health facilities, the Greek government fined Doctors Without Borders for their Corona clinic and tried to lock up thousands of people crammed together behind barbed wire. Anyone who still tries to come to Greece seeking protection is ruthlessly attacked and illegally expelled at sea and land borders.
As much as Greece, the European Union has played a disastrous role in this dirty game. The plans for closed “controlled centres” have long been discussed by the European Commission. Germany even proposed closed camps at the EU external border for the reform of the Common European Asylum System. The same politicians who are now denouncing the catastrophic humanitarian situation due to the fire have been tolerating violent pushbacks and working to create a system to lock up and deport people arriving at the EU external borders more efficiently.
When there were eventually Corona tests made in Moria camp and some people were found Covid-positive, the situation escalated. Now, thousands of people are trapped on the roads and hills around the former camp, without sufficient water or food, blocked by police and attacked with teargas. Those intoxicated and injured in the fire in Moria are prevented by the police from reaching the hospital in Mytilene. Solidarity groups bringing basic necessities are blocked by police forces or attacked by fascists.
The Greek government is acting in the name of the defense of European borders and national security. There seems to be no limit to the violence they are willing to impose to migrants. This murderous system deprives people – whose only “crime” is searching for protection – of all rights, trying to reduce them to non-persons. But the people trapped on Lesvos continue to fight; big demonstrations have formed after the fire despite the precarious situation. The people are demanding to leave the islands and to receive shelter in the countries they chose.
Finally, there seems to be an outcry in Europe. There seems to be some attempts to finally evacuate the people trapped and forgotten.
There must never ever again be a camp like Moria.
It has to be prevented that Moria will be rebuild as a closed camp.
The islands have to be evacuated, the borders must fall!