If you live in Europe, you have probably seen the photos. The photos of people fighting to get to the police station, the people crawling at the beach after nearly drowning. Yes, we saw the refugees in Kos. I have then read a lot of opinions about the refugees and I thought it was about time that I shared our experiences and thought about all of it here.
The first meeting with the refugees
We didn’t spent much time in Kos before meeting the refugees. We had to walk pass the police station every time we went to town. At that time there weren’t as many refugees as there is today and the refugees in Kos hadn’t even hit the Danish TV at the point. They were a rather small group of men sitting on the beach and benches. We didn’t know who these men were at first. They weren’t very clean and their clothes were worn. My first thoughts were that these men were homeless, which most of them probably were, and I feared that they might wanted to steal our things. Yes, I am not proud of that thought, but I have had quite a few things stolen while travelling. As we approached the men I got a feeling that these weren’t just homeless. The look in their eyes were different. They were looking at the ocean with an empty look in their eyes. It was actually a bit scary. I have never seen such a look before and here there were so many of them. We then went to dinner, where we asked a local who all these men were. She told us that these were refugees coming from Syria to make a better life for themselves and their family. After that point we started to notice the refugees all over the town.
The many fates of the refugees
When we started to notice all the refugees all over the place we started to feel bad. I am not saying that they ruined our holiday because they didn’t, but they did make an impact on us. Every time we walked pass them a bit of our heart broke. Here we were walking around with our sunglasses on, a camera in our hands and in our clean clothes. We were going home within a week and get away from it all, but this was their reality and they just couldn’t leave. We saw a mother and her two small children sleep under a bridge, men starring at the sea and people on the burst to tears. All they could do wait….Most of them had paid all of their money to go to paradise/Europe and now they were stuck in this tiny island far from the place that they might have been dreaming of. Yes, Kos is a part of Europe, but most of the refugees want to go to the places where their family lives in Europe. Most of them might not realise that their struggle is far from over – the struggle has just begun, now they have to learn a new languange, live with a new culture and so on. Their trip to Kos is dangerous and hard. Most of them arrived by a rubber boat and was instructed by the smugglers to destroy the boat when reaching Greek waters so that Kos has to take them in, but a lot of them doesn’t know how to swim and a lot of those who can’t afford a life jacket will probably die.
Reflections about the refugees
Yes, the refugees go through a long and dangerous struggle to get to Europe and a lot of them bring their children along. A parent wouldn’t take their child through unless they absolutely have to! They leave most of their possessions at their country and only bring the necessities along with them. We saw two kids playing with plastic cups at the beach and decided to buy them a small thing. We ended up with buying soap bubbles, which we gave to their parents, so we wouldn’t scare the children. Never have I seen more grateful people. They couldn’t stop thanking us and their eyes went wet. They called their children who jumped out of joy and sent us a huge smile while waving at us enthusiastically. It was a very small thing for us to do and I wish we could do more, but I don’t know what else we could do than buying something for the children. I hope this family and others will get a new start in Europe. I realise that there is a limit of how many people each country can take in, but I hope they will take in as many as possible, because these people are not trying to exploit our wealthfare systems. They just want a better life for their children and for themselves. They don’t have anything. A small thing will mean the world to them and they are willing to do what they have to do in order to get a better future. Europe are proud of saving the jews during WWII. The war in Syria might not have the scale of a world war, but they are still facing a day of bombing, a day of horror and a day of death every single day – why are they so different from the jews? The refugees are innocent people to so I think we should try to save as many as possible.
What do you think Europe should do?
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