As the massive rebellion against the racist borders of Fortress Europe rolls from Spring through the Summer to Autumn & now Winter conditions are becoming very much more dangerous. According to Al Jazerra since the photos of the drowned today of Alan Kurdi shocked so many into action at least another 71 children have died on the route.
Tens of thousands are still on the road, many are even now attempting the crossing from Turkey to Lesvos, a crossing that becomes more dangerous as storms increase. Others are camped out in cold and wet conditions along the route while at Calais the death toll of those hit by cars and lorries contain use to rise.
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Solidarity from those who mobilised in Ireland continues. In this piece we are asking you to spread and if possible donate to one such effort. As Caoimhe Butterly explains;
"I’ve spent the past few months working with various volunteer and solidarity structures in Greece, Serbia, Croatia and Calais. In response to the degrading conditions, dislocation and discrimination that many of those seeking refuge face as they travel, volunteer networks have attempted to embody practical solidarity and real welcome. These groups have spent time with and learnt from the courage, resilience and dignity of the women, men and children who are journeying such long distances in the hopes of re-building lives of safety and stability. I’ve had the privilege of working with and accompanying many of those families and individuals for small parts of their long journeys- and working alongside groups of committed volunteers who try to bear witness to, dissent at and organise against injustices being perpetuated at a policy level.
"As the death-toll of those who have died trying to enter Europe’s borders climbs to over 2,500 in this year alone, calls for safe and legal passage remain ignored. The focus, at an EU member state level, continues to be one of securitised and steadily militarised border management measures. These policies ensure that women, men and children who continue to journey in their attempts to seek refuge and lives of perceived-as more possibility, will have to take increasingly perilous routes.
"I'm travelling back to Lesvos on November the 10th with a group of experienced, calm and dedicated medics from Ireland- nurses, mid-wives, paediatric doctors, EMTs and a surgeon- and logistical support volunteers. We will work alongside existing medical groups and volunteer networks as a mobile unit, responding to the immediate medical and other practical needs of those making the winter crossing in rubber dinghies and decrepit wooden boats, and surviving it. Though the longer struggle is one of challenging policies and of recognising the multiple causes of forced migration- from wars and resource exploitation to neo-liberalism and precarity to climate change- in the immediacy of an increasingly desperate situation, skilled teams on the ground are important. While there we will be based in the North of the island and work 24-hour rotating shifts, on the beaches, in the port and in reception camps- responding to immediate medical needs, transporting those who cannot walk, providing dry clothes, Arabic interpretation and orientation. With many of the families and individuals arriving at night and with the survivors of capsized dinghies and boats, hypothermia is a constant and our team will work alongside other volunteer groups present on the beaches to receive and tend to people as they land on shore.
"We are covering our own costs, with assistance from friends, family and personal networks, so the money raised here will be spent on procuring additional medical supplies and vital medical equipment (we are also sourcing donated supplies) as well as purchasing emergency foil and fleece blankets, rain-gear, hygiene kits etc in bulk. We will also use some of the funds to be able to cover the ferry and train tickets, prescriptions and temporary accommodation needs of those identified as particularly precarious. Whatever we do, collectively, will never be close to enough, but we hope that this medical team and other volunteers will be followed in the coming weeks and months by other teams- in Lesvos, Bapska, Calais and elsewhere- and that that witness translates into both more practical support and more effective and cohesive solidarity organising. Thank you for your support, and whatever is donated will be put to good, transparent and immediate use."