Let's wake up, Italians!


S. and her son left the island of Lesbos.
We met them on the street as they were loading their luggage into a van.
They received the Open Card, the authorization to legally move within Greece.
They will travel to Thessaloniki to collect their documents, perhaps their passport, and then they would like to settle in Athens – S. tells me.
I don't know if they have found a home or a place to sleep.
I don't know how they will afford it.
I don't have time to ask her.
They have to leave.
We hug and greet each other.
It was a pleasure to meet them.

I give S. the phone number that we volunteers use to communicate with the people we meet, so,  for any eventuality, we can still stay in touch.
"Que Dieu vous protège!" ("May the Lord protects you!") is the only thing I can tell them.
That's all I can do now: praying for them and accompanying them from afar.
All the refugees hope to leave this island where Europe continually fails and betrays itself.
But it is also a great risk.
All the people here believe in the myth of the “big city”: they think that in Athens they will find a job and build a better life.
Certainly, there are more job opportunities than in Lesbos (very closed in terms of opportunities) but poverty in the Greek capital is extremely widespread and the news tell about many people living in the streets; a very large number of refugees who leave Lesbos to reach Athens indeed do not even have a safe place to sleep.
But they run the risk in order to leave the island where they have been forced to live for years, often without any possibility to access adequate medical care and education for minors, even in the case of granted right to asylum according to which they would have full access.
S., alone, with a child, what will happen to her?
She is a strong, intelligent woman with many other human qualities that will help her for sure.
Will they be enough for her and her child to live a life with that dignity and humanity that they have been denied, here, on Lesbos?
I really hope so.
And I also hope our hearts and minds will get more aware soon.
Let us help each other wake up, because even here in Lesbos, in "our" Europe, rights and humanity are constantly and miserably trampled on.
Perhaps it seems impossible, but it is so.
It might be even worse than I can describe.