THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND, AS IT HAS BEEN DEVELOPED AND EXPLAINED BY A YOUNG HUMAN BEING THAT KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE WORLD AND LESS ABOUT EXPRESSING HIS IDEAS; ERRORS AND IDEALISM CAN BE FOUND IN THE WORDS THAT FOLLOW.
This last month has been a complete chaos. I guess I am not the only one at EMIS that thinks that the experiences that we have lived through together have been enormously intense; from goodbyes and homesickness to amazing trips and deep talks on a roof with views of the Mediterranean Sea. The sequence of events has been emotionally draining. Hopefully, after this last week of exams everything will go back to normal again.
Due to the personal series of occurrences that I have gone through, many ideas and thoughts have been going back and forth in my mind. Some were banal. Others were not. But I overcame most of them. However, there is one that doesn’t go away: the videos of the evacuation of Idomeni.
Being away from Europe and meeting people from all over the world has taught me to look at things in a different way. This time, when I read the news coming from Greece through the eyes of Spanish volunteers, the pride of coming from the Union had completely vanished. In a place where you are representing your country every day and you are expected to love it or at least appreciate it, it was a harsh time. On the one hand, I was disgusted by the decisions made by our leaders, who are voted in by the citizens. On the other, I looked up to the courage and humanity of the volunteers at Idomeni that shared my nationality, those that were trying to help as much as they could, fighting against the walls (literal and metaphorical) that the governments have been building up against the asylum seekers.
I recently visited Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum), and the only beautiful part of the museum, as well as the one that touched me the most, was the trees planted for The Righteous Among The Nations, the people that empathized with the drama that Jews were suffering and tried to help them by saving them from the Nazis. Due to this, many educational systems are now based on, and emphasize, empathy. Yet, when it comes to reality and decision-making, politicians forget all the things that they learnt at school and put up another wire of concertina. Of course, not all of them are the same. There are some that hang huge “welcome refugees” placards that challenge the thoughts of the right side of the interesting political spectrum.
I agree with all of you. It is scary to host a person that you don’t know in your house. It is human to feel afraid of the unknown, and even more normal if it close to you. However, all the humanity that Europeans say that they have is destroyed when they see refugees flooding in, onto their paradisiacal holiday beaches, and they continue eating their huge beefsteaks. I must warn you now that you may also feel the same as I do if you come from countries that do everything they can to get oil from the Middle East, and think that Spain is a state of Mexico, or if your country, founded by refugees from all over the world after the Second World War, closes the borders to a group of individuals and tries to kick out or somehow “re-educate” those that are still inside their walls.
Still, I find reasons to believe that this dark episode in history will be overcome, and we will regain the category of Homo sapiens. I will list for you here some reasons that helped me to get to this conclusion: EMIS, the volunteers in Idomeni and around the region, Madrid, Barcelona and the network of refuge cities, UWC, the many NGOs that work to restore peace around world (or establish it for the first time), the brains that some people still claim that they have and the first graduated class of EMIS.
Written by: Andres Oliva Lozano
Edited by: Shy Zvouloun