Let it go

So instead of getting its hands dirty, the EU has decided to deal with the refugee crisis by sending out a message. A message to Syrians running away from their war-torn country.

By deporting the some 160,000 refugees back to Turkey without assessment under a one-in one-out mechanism – for every Syrian sent back to Turkey after arriving in Greece, a Syrian would, in theory, be flown to Europe from Turkey – those deported would go back to square one. Those who have had the will, health, endu-rance and terror to make their way into Europe under the most atrocious conditions will go to the back of the long queue of the ‘fortunate’ to be led on to Europe.

Supposedly this defines the message at hand: discouraging refugees to embark on this insane journey and reduce illegal boat journeys.

Surely there’s another way to monitor the Turkish coasts. But I won’t get into that.

Returning refugees to a country where the majority will lack full access to basic human needs which are meant to be guaranteed under the 1951 treaty, the most important one, in my eyes, being safety, is quite bluntly, criminal.

I cringe at the idea. Not because I have a great solution in mind. But because to me, as a mere human being, I cannot accept that men, women, children, Humans, are breathing a life whose story no one would be comfortable describing, let alone living.

I’ve been told to let it go, under the basis that each of us are delivered our paths, that I cannot compare my life to theirs, even though ‘we’ could, at some point, very much find ourselves in the same position. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring.

Precisely, the demarcation of peoples is what is impertinently nagging at my conscience. We all live different lives. However similar we are, each individual is quite unique. And it’s the very respect of this uniqueness that leads us to being civilised, to embrace progress, to understanding our very nature.

As borders close across Europe, as Turkey rapes freedom of speech, and as America loses itself in the power of financial gain, we may think we can go about our daily lives with our heads up. But we’re actually gradually being eaten up by systems that have no morals, no values, and absolutely no integrity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London