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A Romanian girl on the Greek islands

Place: a Romanian in Greece

By Alexandra Pintea

 

Greece, a country with ancient history, beautiful islands and clear waters…for most of the people there are the symbols of the Greek culture. For me though, Greece represents a possibility to escape the Romanian reality, a chance to make a career in tourism and the best environment to make friends for life.

My story starts four years ago, when I decided to work for the summer in a hotel by the sea. Since then every time I feel summer coming, I race back in sunny Greece for one more unforgettable season. While working and living in their world, I’ve learned some useful things about Greeks and Greece, things that I am more than happy to share with everybody.

First of all, you must keep in your mind that Greeks, like every other nation, has good people and people from whom you need to stay away, but the particular thing in Greece is the fact that most of the problems you may encounter are made by the immigrants (Russian, Albanian, Bulgarian or Romanian).  Putting aside the problems I had especially at work with immigrants of Greeks, I’d rather remember the good times I had with the helping, kind, out-going and ready to party Greeks I’ve met.

Probably one of my advantages was the fact that I’ve learned Greek, my language skills impressing every time in a positive way the people from work or the ones I met in my free time. Knowing the language makes them see you like almost one of them, because you show respect for their culture. They appreciate the try you are making in learning such a difficult language, encourage you and correct your mistakes in a kind way. Why am I telling you all of this? Not because of the discounts you can receive by speaking Greek with the sales man, but so that you understand they are very proud of everything concerning their culture-from language to history. So remember: do not say bad things about their country cause they will get angry. This advice goes for the immigrants, for the people that wish to make a future there, cause if you are a simple tourist, you can say anything you want about them, they will only charge you more on your bill and move on.

Greeks have a unique way of arguing with each other, they shout and scream now and in a few moments they fix the problem over a beer, laughing about football or politics. Don’t be fooled by their charm though, they will try to exploit the foreign workers, try to steal from you. If this happens, just go with the Greek-way of solving problems fight and scream for justice and they will, hopefully, calm down and give you what you deserve.

My biggest regret from living all this time in Greece is that I never experienced living with a traditional Greek family. However, from my relationships or my friends, I’ve learned that the family is the most important part of the Greek live, so even if they have different family traditions in different regions of Greece, they seem to care more about family values than other European nations.

So now, after I tried to make a more complex image of Greece, completing the “sun-sea-fun” icon everybody has on this country, allow me to tell you how it feels to live with them. At first, it could be strange cause of the mixed emotions you can get from the people that smile at you or help you today and tomorrow they shout like crazy so after 5 minutes they are your best friends again. Once you get used to this somehow bipolar behavior, you find in them good friends, which can make the difference between professional and personal. They will try to help you get a job for the next season as the system there is based more on recommendation and networking, rather than extensive interviews (at least in tourism). The men will not undress you with a look as you walk down the street, they will politely ask you to go on a date and if you say no, they will accept your answer right away.

I definitely feel more safe in Greece as I found out I can walk alone on the street, no matter the hour, without anything bad happening to me; I can take a day of in full season and the next day the boss will ask you if you are ok; I can go at beach parties or in their famous bar streets and not be attacked by strangers’ hands; I can sleep with my door open or walk in the city with a lot of money on me without being afraid; I can be myself and I can be safe. This is what Greece gave me: freedom, independence, jobs, love stories, friends, money, but never forget that all of these are not free. There is a price to pay for all of these advantages, cause you will get very tired, exhausted actually, you can damage your health, you can have bad-luck and make friends or work with the wrong people.  In my opinion, you just have to be aware of the danger, trust, but not 100%, work but not 100% (cause they will give you more to do), love but not  100% (the season does end in October), so just open your mind for the great possibilities Greece can offer you.

I’ve met a lot of great people from all over the world in my 4 years of living in Greece, tourists are nice and open minded-most of them, the bosses are difficult but at the end of the season they will thank you and tell you to come back if you want. So, in the end, you realize that all the pain of working is worth it cause you go back home with a lot of memories, with friends for live and with one more love story to warm up your soul in the cold winter. The strange thing of the relationship you make in Greece is the fact that no matter what happens and no matter the time you don’t see or talk with the others, when you do finally talk again, you feel a special connection with them, cause you did share some intense moments that act like a bond nobody can tear apart.

Since I do have the opportunity to share my knowledge on Greece, I will give you some advices for survival between strangers. Give people a chance, try the Greek food-is great, live with a Greek room-mate, go in the places Greeks go, don’t listen to the gossip they say about you, party and have fun all you want, but always be on time at work, be open-minded about a one season love story with a Greek-he/she will make your live easy by helping you forget all the chaos from work. Last, but not least, find people from your country, speaking your language helps you by maintaining a bond with your culture and makes Greeks crazy for not understanding what you are talking about! J

No matter what happens, good or bad, it will teach you a lesson! My experience in Greece taught me to me responsible for what I do or say, for the money I earn and how I spend them, for my image in the companies I worked for. With all of these said, I can only confess one more thing: I do love Greece, with all it’s imperfections, cause at the end of the day, is the faults that make it special, so if you get the chance go and experience at least for one season the Greek reality, even now when the world shouts the crisis in Greece – is not as bad as they say!!!

About the photos: I wish I could show you the proof of how intense living in Greece was for me, but for you it will only be another photo with strangers while for me it would mean to share my private and crazy memories with friends or boyfriends, so instead I’d rather show you the places I’ve been to: Halkidiki and Kos, hoping you will gather the courage to go on such a life experience.

Back to the start of the story.

I am the citizen of the world

Place: A Lithuanian in Greece

 

Migration is a very natural state. It is a big part of evolution. People were moving in order to survive since the Stone Age. It turned into a problem after the birth of nationalism. In the early 19th century when countries started shrinking and creating also called ‘national identity’ a gap between ‘me’ and ‘other’, ‘we’ and ‘them’ widened. These days, the slogan of Socrates “I am the citizen of the world” is widely despised by nationalists. Which is a funny thing, because Nationalism is here only for a few hundred of years but migration, and cosmopolitism exists for thousands. Surely it is much faster and easier to move because of the technological development, and it is also inevitable.

I think the economic/illegal immigrants are facing the most difficult situation. They usually get into a vicious circle of citizen hate and also become scapegoats. For example, for greedy businessmen, illegal workers are much cheaper since you can trick them, by not paying them. Where will they look for justice? Local businessmen benefit a lot from cheap labor, so you think they should be grateful, but this is rarely the case. If there’s a high crime rate in the country – immigrants are usually the ones to blame. But has anyone ever thought that so called citizens use the poor state of illegal immigrants for organized crime? It is a very comfortable situation, if an Afghani, let’s say, is caught selling drugs, no one even bothers to trace the person that provides them. Media doesn’t help either.

Let’s take my home country, Lithuania as an example. Media always emphasizes the nationality of a criminal if it’s a foreigner. So even if the crime page in the newspaper is filled with heavy crimes committed by Lithuanians everyone will remember the “horse stolen by the gypsy”. Asylum seekers or “love immigrants” as I call them are treated better. People pity the ones that suffered war or horrible political regimes. Immigrants with the best status are the ones from economically evolved countries. There are so many nuances in the attitude towards immigration and you can only see them if you had moved to another country yourself.

I am originally from Lithuania, but I have been living in Greece for 3 years now. I could call myself a “ love immigrant”. I moved to Greece because of my boyfriend. I faced a bunch or problems, concerning language, job, socializing and etc. But now I think it is almost nothing compared to what illegal immigrants face living in the outskirts of society, being used, saving money for their families, maybe not having where to live, being looked down on and in the end blamed for all the problems in the country. It is really annoying how other countries picture immigrants from the post sovietcountries. Main stereotypes echo with the soviet ideology – great workers, suitable for physical, manual work, they love it so much, that they will even work for free! If you are a woman it is much more frustrating, cause to many, you are just an Eastern European prostitute. And, of course, we are all Russian, and I wouldn’t mind, I like all the tribes in the world, only if we “Russians” would be treated as well as French or Americans. So my tip to the future emi/immigrants: learn the language of the country you are going to. Languages are fascinating and it will definitely help you fit it, get a better job, find new friends. Don’t try to stick to differences between “your country” and the one you’re into. These are just details, creating dichotomies is one of the biggest problems in the world. We are not all that different; we all come from the same place.

Austeja Banyte

To the next chapter

Back to the start of the story.

 

 

Stories of Migrants – German-Turkish couples (Part II)

Place: Stories told by German-Turkish couples in Germany (Part II)

by Pekka Kämäräinen

This story focuses on the relations between Germans and German Turks and on cross-border marriages. The story is told by a young couple who knows it from both sides: Thomas is German and he has grown up in Germany. Remzye is Turk and has grown up in East Anatolia. As an introduction our discussion we watched the trailer of the film Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland and the document Türkei, Tschüss Alamanya. Then we started discussing the issues on multiple identities, social integration and the perception of male and female roles in different cultures.

Growing up in Germany and in Turkey

The starting points of Thomas and Remzye were strikingly different. Thomaswas born in Germany and has lived all the time in the same city. His learning career was rather similar as that of his elder sister. They both went through the same schools and then chose to be trained as physiotherapists. Remzyewas born in Turkey and has lived her childhood and teen-age years in the same village. In her home village the perception was that after completing the obligatory school the girls should prepare themselves for marriage and to become good housewives. The boys had several options for their career, the girls were not expected to opt for a career.

However, they both have got acquainted with migration and cross-cultural marriages before they got to know each other. Thomas’ brother-in-law is the son of a Turkish migrant and German mother. And Remzye had relatives who have moved to Germany and visited regularly her home village with their German-Turkish children. Thus, it is not so surprising that Remzye got the idea of coming to Germany as an au pair after she had finished her school in Turkey. For her family this was acceptable since she would be staying with the relatives who had settled in Germany.

For Remzye this turned out to be more than a temporary visit. Although the atmosphere in her village was more open-minded than many Germans would assume, the possible life choices of girls were far more restricted than those of boys. Being now in Germany she saw far more chances to become independent and empowered to make her own choices. However, to use those chances she needed to make efforts of her own. She learned to speak German and she took the vocational training as a Personal Care Assistant (working with elderly people).

As Thomas and Remzye became closer friends they had engaged themselves quite a lot in intercultural dialogue at personal level. They had shared thoughts of what was the cultural perception of possible roles for men and women in their societies. It was clear for both that they would lead their lives in Germany. Yet, they wanted to be sensitive about, what the Turkish culture expected of men and women (and of decent behaviour between men and women).

The cross-cultural marriage

Thomas and Remzye had learned to know each other in Germany and decided to live together in Germany. Yet, getting married was not a simple matter for them to arrange as they wished. On the contrary, they had to encounter the different boundary conditions for such cross-cultural and cross-border marriages (set by the societies they lived in). The German authorities required a lot of paperwork and arranged hearings to make sure that this was not a fake marriage. (It is not known to us whether the status of Turkey as a candidate for European Union membership has changed anything.)

For the Turkish family and home community in East Anatolia it was a matter of importance that the groom would be presented to them first and that the wedding would be celebrated there. The fact that Thomas and Remzye made the long trip to get married there in presence of the Turkish relatives was crucial for the good family relations.

Observations on Turkish migrants and migrant communities in Germany

For the second part of discussion we also watched the videos on “District mothers” and on “Berlin heroes”.  This triggered an exchange of thoughts how Remzye and Thomas perceive the situation of (young and older) Turkish migrants and the developments in different migrant-dominated districts.

Firstly, Remzye felt very happy of the initiative of the group “Berlin heroes” to visit schools and youth clubs and to present short plays that challenge the patronising role models for men and subordinating role models for women. She also appreciated the work of “District mothers” inasmuch as this encourages migrant women to get better integrated into the society they line in (and learn the language that is used in the society). She told of her own experience as a support person for elderly Turkish women that could not communicate with the German nurses who were responsible for their medication. In the conversation the Turkish patient was happy to have an interpreter who could help her to overcome the difficulties. Yet, the patient wanted to have a contact with the nurse and the nurse to engage in the communication with her. However, the presence of an interpreter led to a situation in which the German nurse was focusing on the interpreter and on the translations, not on the patient and her messages.

Islam and Muslims in Germany (and in Turkey)

Thomas has grown up as a Christian, Remzye as Muslim. This is not a problem to them. Neither do they see a problem in Muslims and Christians living as neighbours to each other. Also, they both appreciate President Wulff’s announcement that Islam also belongs to Germany (see learning Unit 5.2). Also, they both feel frustrated about the prejudices about Muslims and the false generalisations that often overshadow debates on Islam and Muslims.

They have made their observations of different degree of openness of Muslim communities to engage themselves with people who have other religion – both in Germany and in Turkey. They both emphasise the role of education (and intercultural dialogue) in overcoming the anxieties vis-à-vis ‘the others’. They have noticed that in some of the more closed Muslim communities the preachers reproduce the equally closed mentality of remote villages in Turkey – without noticing that several communities in Turkey are becoming more open. Also, they find it disturbing that terrorists and fanatics are characterised as Muslims or as Islamists although they only misuse the religion as a label.

Coming to a conclusion

Our discussion with Thonas and Remzye has also raised several issues on ‘social integration’ and ‘intercultural understanding’. Their life stories  clearly indicate that integration is not a one-way street. Instead, they have reported of mutual adjustment that is needed from both sides. This has  been the key message coming through their stories.

 

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.

 

 

Stories of Migrants – German-Turkish couples (Part I)

Place: Stories told by German-Turkish couples living in Germany (Part I)

by Pekka Kämäräinen

This story draws attention to the relations between Germans and Germaners (Deutschländer, Almancilar) as the children of Turkish migrants are sometimes called. The story is told by a couple who knows it from both sides: Hüseyin is the son of a Turkish father and German mother. Helga is German but has got well acquainted with the Turkish family of Hüseyin’s father.

As an introduction our discussion we watched the trailer of the film Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland and the document Türkei, Tschüss Alamanya. Then we started discussing the issues on multiple identities and social integration in the light of Hüseyin’s and Helga’s experiences.

Growing up in Germany and Turkey

Hüseyin was born in Germany but stayed two years of his early childhood at his aunt n Turkey and learned first Turkish. Then, at the age of three he returned to his parents and started to grow up as a German child. The language at home was German and the family traditions were typically German. The family took into account both German and Turkish holidays. When Hüseyin visited the relatives in Turkey he noticed that he was somehow ‘outsider’. First, he tried to adjust himself and behave like a Turk. Then, he gradually came to the conclusion that he will not become a Turk and chose to consider himself a German. This was also accepted by the relatives who also accepted him as Germaner and didn’t expect him to turn into a Turkish boy from the village.

When Hüseyin was ten years old, his father moved to Istanbul and took Hüseyin with him. However, he soon became convinced that he had to return to Germany. He spoke better German than Turkish and he knew that he would be more successful in Germany. After two years he returned to Germany and stayed with his mother. At the age of sixteen he moved to a young people’s housing community and started to work his way forward. This was a somewhat troubled period in his life but he found his own way. He didn’t have a chance to study and he didn’t get any vocational training. Yet, he became an entrepreneur who runs a shop of his own and provides training opportunities for young people (who may also have difficulties in finding their way to adult life). With this experience Hüseyin has felt the importance of re-establishing the contacts with the family members in Turkey (both in Istanbul and in Eastern Anatolia.

Getting acquainted with the Turkish family members

Helga had lived all her life in Germany and learned to know Hüseyin already at school. Yet, their common story started in the adult age. For Helga it was very important to learn Turkish and to be able to communicate with Hüseyin’s family members in Turkey. Therefore, they visited Turkey regularly – both Istanbul and East Anatolia. During that period Hüseyin’s father had moved back Germany and had to struggle with the limited permission to stay (he only later got the German nationality). Therefore, he had to stay out of Germany some time at regular intervals to renew his permission to stay. Helga observed these formalities and often accompanied her father-in-law to Turkey during these visits.

During the visits in Turkey Helga has become aware of culturally sensitive issues and of matters of importance for the everyday life in Turkey. She has also observed changes in Istanbul and in the village. To her it has been impressive, how strongly the Turkish women have welcomed her and wanted her to be included in their community. Also, she has noted that in the womens’  community the Turkish women are far more empowered than the Germans assume.

Observations’ on Turkish migrants and their communities in Germany

Hüseyin emphasises that his father didn’t want to live in an exclusively Turkish community but sought to integrate into the German society. In a similar way he has had friends with different cultural backgrounds. Also, the neighbourhood in which they live appears to him as a multicultural area. Yet, he is aware that in certain parts of Bremen Turkish migrants and their families live in rather closed communities. For him, as a shopkeeper, it is a great advantage that he can serve his clients both in German and in Turkish and for the clients are happy with this.

Helga is working as a physiotherapist and makes often home visits to elderly people.  She has often encountered the fact that the first generation of migrants is getting old and needs all kind of support. Since she speaks fluently Turkish, her help is greatly appreciated. In this context she has noticed that the problems of aging mothers (and fathers) can be very sensitive and it is important that the support person can handle the situation. Thus, it is not enough that the  person can speak the language. It is equally important to gain the trust of the people who need assistance and to show willingness to help them. People who have lived in closed communities find it difficult to ask for help but are grateful if it is offered in an appropriate way.

Coming to a conclusion

Our discussion with Hüseyin and Helga touched several aspects of the issues ‘social integration’ and ‘intercultural understanding’. For them these were not abstract topics but issues of real life. During their own life experience they had clearly learned that integration is not a one-way street. Instead, it needs efforts from both sides. This was to me the message that came through from their stories.

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.

 

 

 

Stories of migrants – Turkish migrants between Turkey and Germany

Place: Turkish ‘Gastarbeiter’ families in Germany between different identities (“Germans or Turks”)

by Pekka Kämäräinen

So far the postings on this story have presented different episodes of refugees’ life stories – critical situations or moments of relief. We have also presented insights into migrant communities and into grassroot intiatives that seek to promote integration.

Focusing on episodes may hide the long-term processes of integration. We also need to consider, what does it mean to become integrated into country that is not your own. Now it is time to have a closer look at these issues. Below, we will first have a look at a fictive story of Turkish migrants in the 1960s and their current situation forty years after.

The film: Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland

The trailer of this lovely film can be found under the following URL:

http://www.almanya-film.de

Already the snapshots presented in the trailer give an overview of the cliches and the prejudices that the Turkish migrants had to overcome on their way to Germany. And in the same way the film deals with the cliches and prejudices that the Turkish migrants have to face in thew present-day society. Time and again the film poses the question “what are we?” and lets the characters of the story continue their trip to find it out.

The document: Alamanya

After the fictive story it is worthwhile to have a look at a real story in which migration plays a role – but this time the other way round. The document of the TV channel arte presents the story of Volkan. He was born as a son of a Turkish family in Germany.There he grew up as a Turk in Germany (Deutschlandtürke) but started to feel more like a German with Turkish roots (Deutscher mit Türkischer Abstammung) when he was studying. Only after he had graduated an looking for a job he realised that he was treated as a non-German.

His individual solution was to find a job in Turkey – working for a large German company. Now, the fact that he has Turkish family roots was not a problem for the company. And in his everyday life he is catching up with the Turkish language. This is a typical story of the young Turks who were born in Germany and grown up in the German society. In Turkey these ‘returners’ are called as “Germaners” (DeutschländerAlmancilar). But, as the video shows, many of them feel that they are most welcome ‘back’ to the country of their ancestors.

Here the link to the video:

http://videos.arte.tv/de/videos/tuerkei_tschuess_alamanya_-3305728.html

The stories speak for themselves – people tell of their multiple identities and different experiences with migration. There is much more to learn about these stories in Europe.

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.

 

 

Stories of migrants – Turkish migrants between Turkey and Germany

Place: Turkish ‘Gastarbeiter’ and their children between different identities (“Germans or Turks”)

So far the postings on this story have presented different episodes of refugees’ life stories – critical situations or moments of relief. We have also presented insights into migrant communities and into grassroot intiatives that seek to promote integration.

Focusing on episodes may hide the long-term processes of integration. We also need to consider, what does it mean to become integrated into country that is not your own. Now it is time to have a closer look at these issues. Below, we will first have a look at a fictive story of Turkish migrants in the 1960s and their current situation forty years after.

The film: Almanya – Willkommen in Deutschland

The trailer of this lovely film can be found under the following URL:

http://www.almanya-film.de

Already the snapshots presented in the trailer give an overview of the cliches and the prejudices that the Turkish migrants had to overcome on their way to Germany. And in the same way the film deals with the cliches and prejudices that the Turkish migrants have to face in thew present-day society. Time and again the film poses the question “what are we?” and lets the characters of the story continue their trip to find it out.

The document: Alamanya

After the fictive story it is worthwhile to have a look at a real story in which migration plays a role – but this time the other way round. The document of the TV channel arte presents the story of Volkan. He was born as a son of a Turkish family in Germany.There he grew up as a Turk in Germany (Deutschlandtürke) but started to feel more like a German with Turkish roots (Deutscher mit Türkischer Abstammung) when he was studying. Only after he had graduated an looking for a job he realised that he was treated as a non-German.

His individual solution was to find a job in Turkey – working for a large German company. Now, the fact that he has Turkish family roots was not a problem for the company. And in his everyday life he is catching up with the Turkish language. This is a typical story of the young Turks who were born in Germany and grown up in the German society. In Turkey these ‘returners’ are called as “Germaners” (Deutschländer, Almancilar). But, as the video shows, many of them feel that they are most welcome ‘back’ to the country of their ancestors.

Here the link to the video:

http://videos.arte.tv/de/videos/tuerkei_tschuess_alamanya_-3305728.html

The stories speak for themselves – people tell of their multiple identities and different experiences with migration. There is much more to learn about these stories in Europe.

The next station of the story you will find here.

Back to the start of the story.

 

Stories of migrants – Tunisian & Afgan refugees

Place:  The struggle of ‘outsiders’ from Tunisia and Afganistan to find themselves new perspectives

by Pekka Kämäräinen

The heated debates on the treatment of refugees and illegal immigrants are based on many prejudices, quick  assumptions and sweeping generalisations. Mostly the newcomers are considered as squatters (who want to benefit of European social welfare ) or illegal workforce (who pave the way for wage dumping and irregularities in the labour market). Therefore, there is a lot of negativity in the recent debates.

For this reason it is essential to have a closer look at cases in which the refugee stories have led to a new start in Europe. Below, the news report and the video of the German TV channel ZDF give a picture of the struggle of refugees to overcome the fate of “being outsider” and to manage a new start in Europe.

  • The ZDF news report (in Germen) Für die Taliban bin ich ein Verräter(For Taliban I am a traitor) tells the refugee story of  the Afghan car repair technician Parviz Esmail from Kabul via Iran, Turkey and Greece to Germany (Bad Kreuznach). Parviz managed to have the support from German NGOs at the right time and got his apprentice training placement (due to which he could stay). This story gives a picture of a person who had to leave his country because of threats and who sees his only possibility to Integrate into german society.
  • The ZDF video (in German with interviews in French) Der lange Weg von Lampedusa nach Paris(The long way from Lampedusa to Paris) tells the story of Abdel and how he managed to get through from lLmpedusa via the mainland over the French border and finally to Paris. The video gives a picture of a person who wants to work hard to be able to return to Tunisia as soon as possible (to make a new start in his home country).

These are two random examples – there are thousands of more stories to be told. What do we learn of these stories? What do they tell of the refugees? What do they tell of our European societies?


The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.

 

 

Stories of migrants – French-Italian border

Place: top level debates on the Schengen agreement and the border controls on French-Italian border

by Pekka Kämäräinen

The decision of the Italian government (to issue tourist visas for a large number of refugees) and the reaction of the French government (to introduce border controls and turn holders of such visa back) have led to a heated European-level debate. There are several issues that are now discussed by the European ministers of Internal affairs:

  • How to introduce a fair distribution refugees across Europe instead of leaving the problems to border regions?
  • Are the government decisions in Italy and France compatible with the Schengen agreement on free mobility across (without border controls) in Europe?
  • How can EU establish an effective border control in the Mediterranean area?

Below, some news reports and videos that present the contrary positions and throw some light on the role of different EU member states as receivers or as transit countries:

BBC news report (in English): France had right to halt migrant trains from Italy

ZDF new report (in German): Friedrich: “Italien muss Problem selbst regeln” (Minister Friedrich says that Italy should manage the problem)

ZDF video (in German): Italiens fragwürdige Flüchtlingspolitik (The controversial refugee policy of Italy)

Thenews  reports and the video make it transparent that the European Union is far from being united and that there are huge differences between the  readiness of member states to receive migrants.  This calls for closer attention to the problems and possible solutions. Also, we should learn more of the capability of the refugees to  find new perspectives for themselves.

 

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.


Stories of migrants – Lampedusa (part II)

Place: Continuation of the journey from Lampedusa to Ventimiglia or …?

by Pekka Kämäräinen

In an earlier episode of this story the three observers started examining the outnumbering of original population by migrants (=refugees) in the island of Lampedusa. The immediate observation was that the situation on that island can not be treated as a ‘local’ problem or as a national problem. The pressing questions are: What can be done to the masses that have landed there? What can be the realistic perspectives for the people who are already there?

The immediate  response of the Italian government was to issue limited tourist visa to those who wanted to find work in the Schengen area (possibly outside Italy). Since a major part of the newest refugees come from Tunisia and are French-speaking, it was obvious that the most of the visa-holders try to get to France. The reaction of the French government was to introduce border control on the Italian border and to turn back the holders of such visa.

Here  a link to a video of the German TV channel ZDF on the situation of the refugees in the border town Ventimiglia (in German with interviews in French).

Here a link to the BBC news report on the situation on the French-Italian border (in English).

Here another video of the magazine Focus Online (in German) on the protests against the French measures  in Ventimiglia (supporting  the refugees).

Here, the videos give a clear picture what is going on the trail from Lampedusa to the Italian-French border. The news reports give a clear picture that the problems have now become intergovernmental and European  issues. We need to follow this up.

 

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.


Stories of migrants – Where to next?

Shaking the balance – continuing story with new issues and venues

prepared by Pekka Kämäräinen

The three observers of the Politics Spring School – Valentina, Lise and Pekka  – have completed their contribution for the European workshop  in Chania. However, as it often happens in real life, the story that they started is going on and on …

This provides an opportunity for other observers to come in and follow where the initial story might lead us or what can be added to the picture.  In the following blog postings I will add some observations – which to me are new pages to the continuing story:

a) The next stations of the boat refugees: From Lampedusa to Ventimiglia or …?

b) The implications for European policies: What is happening with the Schengen agreement?

c) An outsider’s story: From Afghanistan to Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

These examples demonstrate that the working group at Chania only managed to open a story box that has more threads to follow up and more issues to be discussed. To me. it is worthwhile to continue the exercise. What do you think?

 

The next station of the story is available here.

Back to the start of the story.