Actually, I feel like I lost them. Yesterday in the Office we seemed as if we would be able to talk and discuss about the movement of people, the danger, both, migrants and refugees, are exposed to on a daily basis and the exploitation of too many of the countries these people are fleeing from.
Still what happened yesterday evening once again, was not only the reason some of the volunteers which have been living here in Serres Greece since about 9 months started questioning the meaning of some activities they had carried out during their EVS and project time, but also the reason why sometimes I simply cannot and honestly don't want to understand the kind of system we all seem to be a part of since we are living our daily lives simply not caring or just accepting that for some reason at some points in your life your hands are tied.
I reckon by now I am already far of the topic I initially wanted to talk about but I guess in some way it still fits.
Migration by definition means the following: movement from one country, place, or locality to another.
I have to say that personally, I think that this sentence sounds wrong to me. For me migration includes arrival. Arrival at a new place where at a very high percentage most things are going to be unknown, new or even strange. A place where you have to learn how to fit in. A place, where probably people are going to expect from you to adapt to them. Which I think in some way is legit. But also, in my opinion migration should be responded to or requires some kind of adaption from the other, the receiving side.
Of course, it makes a lot of things easier if the people migrating to a new place try to learn the country's language. Of course, it might be very helpful to stick to this Country's rules and laws. But what if at the end of the day, when you did all that has been required from you and still the place where you arrived does not try and adapt to in return. It's not about changing everything how we know about it now, but to at least try and be welcoming. Try to be accepting that many people might have had a good cause or reason to leave the place they come from and that maybe these people don't want to live in your country just as much as some ignorant and probably heartless person doesn't want them to live there too.
Coming to Greece in order to carry out an EVS project here in Serres, I am a migrant too. Maybe not even work wise, but because I wanted to do something good, something meaningfull and something that might have at least some little impact. In fact, we are 7 migrants from Estonia, Spain, Hungary and Germany living in Serres. We, more or less, adapted ourselves and our living styles to the Greek way of living and I feel that also the Greek society around us has or is still trying to adapt to us.
We learn how to understand Greek behaviour. Greeks learn how to understand ours. Some of us even try to learn to read, write and speak Greek in order to pave the way for easier communication with possible new friends, co-workers and neighbours.
The thing is, that we were invited to do so. We were offered lessons, we were offered help and we were even offered friendship and support.
I cannot imagine what arriving in a place that you have wished to be for some time might feel like as soon as you start to feel that you are not as welcomed as you thought you would be. And even if you imagined that for some reason you might not be so welcomed and you adjusted your expectation according to this believe, you are still going to be affronted realising that though you might have been expected at one place people are not going to be willing to change their habits, their believes and their nature of being and doing things just because of you.
Even if this means that even though you are expected to be living in a refugee camp outside of the city from the next morning on, the security service of this particular camp is not allowing you to enter because of some kind of weird security reasons, so that you end up sleeping in front of the main gate out in the cold in the middle of December, afraid that so close to your destination someone could somehow from one moment to the other decide that oh, you are not going to enter anyways even if we promised we would let you.
There is a difference between the terms migrant and refugee and even if the dictionary can tell me what this difference of them both is …
While there is no formal legal definition of an international migrant, most experts agree that an international migrant is someone who changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status. Generally, a distinction is made between short-term or temporary migration, covering movements with a duration between three and 12 months, and long-term or permanent migration, referring to a change of country of residence for a duration of one year or more.
- United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Refugees are persons who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order and, as a result, require international protection. The refugee definition can be found in the 1951 Convention and regional refugee instruments, as well as UNHCR’s Statute.
--United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
… I really don't understand their true meaning.