The Camp of the Saints is playing out right before our eyes in Greece.
The newly-elected “conservative” government in Greece tried to force new migrant centers on the islands of Lesbos and Chios but last week villagers revolted, repelled the police and allegedly burned a UN migrant reception center to the ground.
It seems the open arms that initially had greeted those coming ashore in Lesvos have finally closed. Thousands of island locals attended a protest for Athens to process or remove the refugees. General strikes have been called. “It’s a powder keg ready to explode,” regional governor Kostas Moutzouris told local news regarding the situation.
[…] On a windy night a few weeks after the unrest in Moria, a group of men and women stood huddled around a fire at the entrance to the village, stopping cars to make sure the passengers were local. Mikis Papadakis, 47, comes here every night after working at a butcher shop in Mytilini. “Things are getting worse,” he said. “They [refugees] cut the trees. They take the animals — the sheep, the goats. And we feel insecure.”
Today a march organized by a local antifascist group in support of refugee rights passed his store. Protesters handed out fliers that warned: “In these circumstances, social polarization is rising, and extreme-right ideology has found space among a section of local society.”
“It’s their job,” Papadakis said, smiling. He thinks there is a lot of money involved with aid work on the island. A common complaint from locals is that a thriving NGO industry — no doubt helping refugees that come ashore — comes at the cost of their businesses as more are encouraged to make the journey.
A meeting was held the following day in Moria village to discuss the situation. Angry shouts and applause reached Takis Bokolis, 50, smoking a cigarette outside of the town hall. Bokolis works pressing oil from his family’s olives. What bothers him most is the refugees cutting down the trees for firewood. “I want to cry. It’s so painful. We’ve grown up with these trees. They are my kid’s food,” he said. Local authorities haven’t intervened as refugees thin out the groves around Moria camp.