Lesbos and Lampedusa

Lesbos and Lampedusa – are they  rescuing the soul of Europe?
The mayors of Lampedusa and Lesbos have received the Olof Palme Prize in the Parliament in Stockholm for their unwavering commitment to the migrants and refugees coming accross the Mediterranean Sea. Guisi Nicolini from Lampedusa and Spyridon Galinos from Lesbos received the Olof Palme Prize on what would have been his 90th Birthday from the hand of his widow, Lisbet Palme.

The mayors challenged Europe of today in their speeches in the parliament.

Guisi Nicolini from Lampedusa underlined:

– We are about to loose all our values in Europe. Soon there might not be any Peace project, any Europe, any longer, that wants to come together. The main challenge is a lack of a system of reception of refugees and migrants. Today thousands of people die in the sea. The attitude Italy shows to my Island Lampedusa, Europe is showing towards Italy. The situation is terrible. We know that women are forced to prostitution in order to come to Europe. Many are also forced to donate one of their organs.

Migration is still one of the best strategies for survival. And it must be managed. We must invest in migrants and values, not in walls.
We must build a Europe safer for everybody.

The Mayor of Lesbos, Spyridon Galinos, spoke of Lesbos as an emblem of solidarity and humanness.

– We were alone during the first months of the arrival of refugees, late 2014 and first half of 2015. People kissed the ground, Holy land, European land, when they arrived from the war. Only volunteers worked at the beginning. Many Swedes came, we could not have managed without them. At that time European leaders had no policy.

The refugees are risking their own lives trying to cross the sea. They said:

”We fled from death, we will not stop fleeing from death to try to reach hope, also when we have to face death on the way.”

We have to stop warfare. Many of the leadership in Europe have not stood up to the humanitarian crisis. The real danger for Europe is those ideas, xenophobic, racist, which lead to fascism.

May I take this opportunity to appeal to all European leaders and demand that warfare must be stopped, and that we stop this road leading to fascism.

They came fleeing death and they arrived in the land of hope.
In Lesbos, every family struggled themselves to make ends meet. But we stood up all of us, united, in meeting the challenges from the refugees.

The problem with our European leaders is that they are neglecting the problems.
The fanthom of fascism is hoovering above our heads.

I would like to share my dream with you
As with Olof Palme, values can survive any crisis.
Values can survive the test of time.
They can turn an assassination into an eternal memory.
Ideas cannot be killed. Ideas and ideals cannot be killed.
You cannot put up a fence, a wall against them.
We need to fight for the ideas and the ideals until the end.

As heard by

Anna Karin Hammar

who with hundreds of other people were invited to Lampedusa and Lesbos. Come and visit us!