Greek Shipwreck’s Profound Impact On My Perception Of The Sea

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In Kalamata, Mouhamad* does not want to accept the worst, even if the name of his young cousin does not appear on the list of survivors displayed in the coast guard office. Arrived Thursday from the United Kingdom where he has lived since 2019, after fleeing Syria, the 29-year-old wonders about the slowness of relief and evokes the lack of hope of young Syrians.

Hold on as long as there is a thread of hope. Talk. of his fruitless research. “The Greek authorities are not helping us. I would like to go to the hospital to check that my cousin is not there. It’s impossible. So I’m staying here until all the survivors are out. The Greek authorities are not helping us. They took a DNA sample, they didn’t tell us, we don’t know when we’ll hear from them. »

Talking about his cousin, whom he calls Mou. “He had been trying to get out of Syria for a year and a half, he applied for a study visa, then a work visa. Nothing ever came to fruition, he went to Libya. There are reasons behind these shipwrecks. There are wars, and nobody does anything. My cousin grew up during the war, he was 10 when it started. What hope can he have? In Syria today, we have Russia, Iran… If you go to Turkey or Lebanon, you can be kicked out overnight. The choice is to die there or die here. Nobody wants to get on a boat. It’s always a last resort.” Bitter, Mouhammad believes that Westerners have abandoned his country. “My friends fought for my country against the Assad regime, they are all dead. In Ukraine, I see that the means are there. It’s a choice, we help some and not others”.

At the Malakasa identification center, northeast of Athens, Muhammad was able to speak with friends of his cousin. Through the railings. “It was midnight when the boat overturned. My cousin had almost lost consciousness, he was exhausted, had leaned on the shoulder of a friend… After that no one saw him anymore. »

“There is something unclear in the relief, continues Mouhammad. They told me about the trip: they had had no water or food for three days, the boat was very full – the smugglers even threw water overboard before departure to save space , from what they told me. At one point they started calling for help. Some spoke with aid associations. They stayed almost 24 hours waiting. While they had been spotted by several boats. People say they wanted to continue to Italy, which explains the delay in relief. But the survivors told me that they had been told: “go to Italy!”. Yes, they wanted to go to Italy, nobody wants to go to Greece where the situation is bad, but at that time they had no more water, no more food, and they said “we need help , we don’t want to go anywhere” They also told me that we tried to tow them and that’s when the boat capsized. »

Many questions remain about the sequence of events, but the delay in rescue is proven: A Frontex plane was the first to spot the boat, and the Italian authorities reported to the Greek authorities that a ship in distress was in their territorial waters, June 13 at 11 a.m., about 12 hours before the sinking. The boss of Frontex made the trip to Kalamata. The ongoing investigation may help to understand the circumstances of the tragedy. Mouhammad doubts it, bitter: justice will not bring his cousin back to life.

This article is originally published on rfi.fr

 

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