A few hours ago another baby almost two months old, died on the small island of Agathonisi in the eastern Aegean Sea. The boat on which it was travelling crashed on the rocks around midnight and the baby was found in the sea, as were all others that were travelling with that boat. They climbed sharp rocks, all wet and cold, while water had entered the lungs of the baby.
Some of the few inhabitants of the island who show solidarity on this drama that takes place in Agathonisi, transported the family of the baby with their car to the port. Other locals tried to help it throughout the night, without having the knowledge to use the means available at the health centre of the island, which if used could have saved this unlucky baby. All this takes place in a country that wants to be considered part of the EU (term of questionable meaning lately), but does not care to provide a doctor either for the local community, or for this humanitarian crisis which brings hundreds of half-drowned refugees, many of which are small children, to the shore every night.
From this tragic incident there is no catchy photo, which could make the citizens of Europe emotional, so we show you the darkness. Hundreds of other children find themselves in the same condition every night and they survive purely due to chance.
We hope that this baby, whom had such a short passage from our cruel world, now has a good trip to the world he goes to, to meet the hundreds of other children who had the same tragic death. The anger and sadness we all feel, is not enough to change anything from this situation.
First of all there is an immediate need for a doctor in Agathonisi island. In Europe, where so many doctors travel and volunteer in developing countries, it should not be impossible to find a doctor who would be able to cover such an important position and such an important need.
Also, throughout the coastline of the Aegean, there is a great need of solidarity from all those who are in position to comprehend the extent of the tragedy that takes place next to us. The only hopeful fact is that day by day, we see an increasing wave of solidarity by more and more people and organizations, and we ought to all join this wave.
But let’s not have illusions – there are millions of people just next to us who are not in position to comprehend this, as they were not in position to comprehend many other things that have been taking place for decades. Also, there is another portion of people next to us, who have found an amazing way of becoming rich through deceiving and exploiting the refugees.
However, against this true humanitarian crisis, we can all contribute, from wherever we are and in many ways. We just need to stand against the racism and the exploitation of the refugees and help them in any way we can.
Director – Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation