The wind howled through camp the last two nights, hurling pine needles and poorly pinned laundry across the grounds. Spring is coming, but before the orange trees burst into flower I will be gone from this island. Providing the weather stabilises, I will be leaving on a ferry bound for Kavala tomorrow morning.
Will I return to my life jacket strewn island paradise? It’s too early to know. With the promises of incoming NATO ships and more EU threats to Greece, things are bound to become more chaotic at the land borders, but potentially provide some respite for the islands. If the needs of Lesvos grow again, I will come back. For now, I need to go where I am most needed. So begins my journey north toward the Macedonian border.
I am beginning to pack up my belongings, both the ones I arrived with and the new bits – tents, sleeping bags and other things required for entering a refugee zone with minimal infrastructure. Of course I’m feeling a little nervous, every new plan begins with a cocktail of excitement and trepidation. It feels good to be moving ahead, to be going where help is needed.
Tomorrow marks my one month anniversary on this island, it feels like a milestone day to leave again. 2016 has already taught me about many things I never expected to learn; I had never been into politics however I have developed political views, gradually I begin to understand. The decisions of politicians weigh heavily on my conscience. I feel enraged that people are being killed just kilometres from where I am. Human rights have become real. I knew nothing of sailing, but now when I stare out past the port I can tell you if the boats will come, or if it’s too choppy. I can spot the coastguard from 6km away and show you the difference between a blinking rescue signal light and the lights from the turkish fishing boats.
The past week has been quiet, peppered with bouts of anger and frustration. Small disputes and debates with friends who have never been, and will probably never come here. People who have never experienced first hand the humanity of this situation, who feel their own solution is the right one to solve such a global and horrific crisis. I get easily fired up these days. After a month of meeting this crisis head-on, from a face to face perspective, I may have lost touch with the broader scope of things. Either way, I become more passionate about this cause by the day.
As the minutes creep into weeks I am realising the power of our anger. How so many people have arrived here, motivated by a sense of rage and injustice. I have come to accept that not only is my anger real, but that it isn’t bad either.
So let us be angry. Invite in the small frustrations and the massive rage. For it is how changes are made and people are inspired, it drives us to take action and re-shape the world into something closer to how we thought we wanted it. Love is the motivation behind change, however it is constructive anger that is the real driving force.
Let us be angry, but let us also learn to channel it into constructive change.