Platanos: Self Organized Forefront Solidarity Structure for Refugees

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Early last October a group of ten people from the Self-organized Solidarity Initiative on Refugees, which was created with actions at Pedion Areos (Athens) in August, came to Scala Sykaminias, Lesvos, in response to a call for assistance from the lesbian NGO Agkalia. Agkalia, since last May, greeted and supported refugees in the region with a mobile unit.
The team went to Skala, where it erected the first tent at the point of Platanos: the makeshift clinic, staffed by a pediatrician, nurse and two interpreters. This was followed by two tents for clothing and kitchen and later the tents were replaced by more heavy duty ones.
Today, almost two months later, the structure of Platanos consists of a multinational solidarity partnership involved either as individuals or as collectives. People in solidarity arrive from around the world to participate in our action. The structure has established channels of communication and cooperation with collectives from all over Greece. In Lesvos, our host, there is the Lesbian Initiative for Solidarity with Refugees, whose members operate daily next to us, here, below Platanos.
Our basic areas of actions are:
– Receiving and stabilizing the boats. Team members take the children and infants off the boats, support the more vulnerable, and lead travelers to the structure.
– Patrolling with a speed boat that has been made available by a solidarity member.
– Providing water and snacks (fruits, processed foods, and juices). The kitchen operation: offering hot soup, tea and sandwiches.
– Offering dry clothes. We are now able to offer dry clothes to all the refugees who arrive at Platanos-this number, some days, exceeds 3,000 people (except for adult shoes, where we are always in short supply).
– Providing initial health care.
– Transferring the refugees to the nearby official camps.
With winter approaching and the numbers of arrivals of refugees remaining unabated, Platanos is planning the fortification of the camp, as we intend to stay here to welcome, take care and treat our fellow human beings who arrive from the opposite coast, for as long as they are forced to leave their homes.
The design involves replacing the tents with container units, and a general redesign of how we use the space of the camp.
Our goal
Solidarity in action to refugees, providing for their care and support.
The expression, in action, of our universal opposition to the policies that drive our fellow human beings from their homes and spread violence and despair to the planet.
We respond actively to the violence and fury of sovereignty, with… solidarity.

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