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Chris Jones – The Bleak Plight of Refugees on Greece’s Samos Island

We are sorry that we have not posted anything from Samos over these past few weeks. The mood for writing has not been there. In large measure this has been caused by an overwhelming sense of sadness which hangs like a thunder cloud over this beautiful island.

It is a cloud that affects us all. There are many elements which feed this cloud. There is the crazy global context with its political strategies which promote division, hate and suspicion, fracturing humanity at the very time when it needs to be more united to confront the greed and profit which drives humanity to destruction as the earth is plundered.

If this is not bad enough on Samos we have the plight of the refugees and the plight of most of the people living here who continue to endure the consequences of seven years of economic decline and austerity. It is no exaggeration to claim that a large part of the island’s population live on the edge of catastrophe. Yesterday for example our neighbour was told that unless she has urgent heart surgery she will be dead within a month. For this she will have to go to Athens. And she will need to pay 4,000 euros. Yet she and her family have nothing. A month ago the island’s hospital had no hot water for a week. The list is endless.

And for both refugees and islanders there is no glimmer of hope; of things getting any better. This hopelessness is a killer. It always is, but what has been particularly devastating has been the experience of a Syriza government. There was so much hope that things would improve under a clean Syriza administration. All these dreams are now ashes. Whether any lessons have been learnt about the profound limitations of electoral politics remains an open question.

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