Tag Archives: Meric

Greece, poor Greece

Greek permit of stay for asylum seekers - P.Martino

9th post. Victims of conflicts that do not concern them, like the hoary one between Greece and Turkey, which has left a mortal trail of mines along the border of the Evros. Even when they get to the long desired Hellenic land, however, the muhajirins find a country in the midst of an economic crisis, less and less willing to offer them protection and grant them asylum

Darkness pours out onto the hills of Thrace like a flood. The halogenous cone of the lights on the tarmac is the only help for the sight, void of any reference in the surrounding darkness.

Orestis has been driving for two hours, slowly so not to jeopardize the cargo. A long line of trucks halting before the junction for Traianopolis catches his attention: “Look there. There has been a compulsory strike for a week. Nothing can circulate, only food”. And he continues: “The economic crisis is eating us alive. I can still find work only because I transport beer, and the Greeks will never stop drinking beer”. I discover that the whole country has run out of fuel and that for days the trucks have crowded in front of the few gasoline stations that still have supplies.

Komotini. Orestis turns the engine off and lights a cigarette. “So, you want to know about the landmines”. He takes out a map from the side of the door and unfolds it on the dashboard. “From here to here” he says pointing to Nea Vissa and Kastanias, “it was all mine fields”. The strip of land stretches for about 10 kilometers. “It is the only part of land where the Evros disappears in Turkey, so Greece does not control the right bank of the river. There, Greek soldiers and Turkish soldiers face each other, and there is no water between them”. Continue reading


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A tale of rivers and borders

Eastern Thrace, near the Evros river - P.Martino

8th post. Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece. Three separate nations united by the Evros-Meriç-Maritsa, today the last door for the muhajirins attempting to land in Europe. Maybe Mussa Khan has already passed here, but more and more of his traveling companions are losing their lives in the dark meanders of the river

The coming of twilight blows out the metal chirping of the cicadas, leaving the dominion of the valley to the wind. Edirne, Eastern Thrace, ancient Adrianople. It is my last sunset in Turkey.

I observe the night taking turns with the day sitting at a rest stop on the E80 state road, which makes its way in Bulgarian land in less than a kilometer. To the West, the continuous line of leaves behind which the sun falls reveals a bend of the Evros River. Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria all at one glance.

A driver slows down. There is nothing around here that could attract a passer-by. He has white hair and wrinkles on his forehead. The man gets out of the car. Turkish music echoes from the radio. Without saying a word, he comes closer. I do not realize it until he is close enough for me to read his gaze: in that precise moment, in his eyes I see the same undefined look I had been given by the merchants of Izmir who had mistaken me for a migrant.

Pointing the finger at me, he utters words that dispel all doubts: “Afghanistan ? Pakistan? ”. I remain still, appalled. The man makes an effort to communicate, but he only speaks Turkish. Nervously, he keeps repeating “Jandarma, Jandarma” pointing at the river. I pretend not to understand, so he shouts louder: “Jandarma! ”. Then, suddenly, with his index finger he mimes an imaginary gun. He points it at my head: “Jandarma, boom! ”. Continue reading

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