ADVERTISING
 
Monday, June 25   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Migration
Do Christians in your country have a Bible-based understanding of how migrants should be treated?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jeff Fountain
 

‘Lucky’ survivors

Globally, some 65 million people have been displaced this year, roughly equivalent to Britain’s whole population.

WINDOW ON EUROPE AUTHOR Jeff Fountain 27 DECEMBER 2016 18:20 h GMT+1

The lights of the towns and villages on the Turkish coastline just twelve kilometres away from the Greek island of Lesbos are clearly visible in the evening. Tourists can travel there by fast ferry in less than an hour for a mere €10.



But for those travelling from Turkey towards Lesbos, desperately seeking refuge in Europe from the wars, persecution, suffering and deprivation they hope to have left behind, the same stretch of water may cost them €1000 each, squeezed on a rubber dinghy with some 60 other anxious souls.



The Syrians call this rihlat al moot, the route of death. For nearly 500 on this stretch, it has cost them their lives: one in ten of all refugee drownings in the Mediterranean.



I met several of the lucky survivors of the hazardous crossing last week in the saloon cabin of the 42-metre ketch Next Wave last week in the marina of Mytilene on Lesbos. They were playing games with students of the Refuge Discipleship Training School I was teaching.



As translators, they help the YWAM volunteers and staff in the camp Moria Refugee Camp just outside of Mytilene, and visit the boat weekly for recreation.



From some 45 lands of origin as diverse as Afghanistan, Cuba and Congo, the refugees today in the camp have fled wars and fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Libya; persecution and oppression from regimes in Iran and Egypt; threats in countries like Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Somalia; and dehumanising poverty in Algeria, Haiti and Nepal.



The UNHCR says that this year close to 175,000 arrived in Greece by sea, most landing on Lesbos, dubbed ‘the frontline of Fortress Europe’. Similar numbers landed in Italy this year. Over 90 percent are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over a third are children. Men outnumber women two to one.



 



Drama

That is a great reduction from the 857,000 arrivals last year in Greece. Yet it still represents the tragedy of European governments not living up to their professed values due to growing populist, anti-migrant sentiment.



Under pressure from our governments, the UNHCR was not able to help refugees coming off boats, or take them from the registration center at Moria to ferries headed to Athens, as that would have been considered ‘assisting in the forward movement of illegal immigrants’, i.e., human trafficking.



Since earlier this year, when the EU agreed with Turkey to a mass return of refugees and migrants in exchange for Europe accepting fewer refugees directly from Turkish camps, rescue boats have been prohibited from helping the refugees land on the south coast of Lesbos.



NATO now operates warships in the waters between Turkey and Greece seeking to intercept refugee boats headed to Lesbos. State-of-the-art British and Norwegian ships were based in the same harbour with the Next Wave, stealthily slipping in and out of the harbour at all hours of day and night.



From my waterline berth below decks, I was awakened at night by the throbbing sound of the motors of Greek Coastguard boats patrolling nearby.



Long trek

Volunteers from smaller organisations now play a crucial role as larger agencies have been restricted in their activities. In addition to lectures, the students of the Refuge DTS spend six-hour shifts in the Moria camp three days a week, helping set up tents, guarding the front gate, pacifying fights among refugees and distributing supplies.



Other YWAM staff and volunteers work on full day- and night-shifts in the camp, some living on board the Next Wave, others in rented apartments in town. They are truly invisible heroes.



Moria, an already-existing detention facility with chain link fencing and barbed wire, was initially adapted to hold some 2000 refugees. It now spreads over surrounding olive tree hills dotted with makeshift tents in an area known as Afghan Hill, and holds over 4000. After new arrivals are registered, authorities begin trying to confirm identities, an almost impossible task given the chaotic situations people have fled.



After the first month, camp interns have freedom to leave the camp during the day to walk to the nearby town, awaiting their official papers allowing them go to Athens for the next stage of processing.



The Afghanis I spoke to expect to wait several months before they can move on. Once given permission, they’ll begin the long trek, mostly by foot, towards Germany, Britain, Sweden…. wherever they have connections. The question is if they will find others to help them along the way like the volunteers at Lesbos who are exceptions to increasingly indifferent and compassion-fatigued Europeans.



However tragic in itself, Lesbos is just the tip of the iceberg. Globally some 65 million people have been displaced this year, roughly equivalent to Britain’s whole population. The vast majority face much less hopeful prospects than the ‘lucky’ few in Moria.



Jeff Fountain is Director of the Schuman Centre for European Studies, and speaks on issues facing Christians today in Europe. He writes at Weekly Word.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - ‘Lucky’ survivors
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
How can churches better support singles? How can churches better support singles?

Tina Tschage, on some areas in which other Christians can encourage singles.

 
The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines The Church of Scotland debates historic doctrines

The Kirk has begun official procedures to investigate the status and the role of the Westminster Confession of Faith within its denomination.

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.