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And then there came… Lesbos

For sure Lesbos, one could think… after all this island became one of the alleged symbols for a possible failure or for a successful cooperation and solidarity in Europe, at least in 2015 and 2016 respectively. However, this is not the reason why I am here. I’m still not a journalist searching for a cover story and above all I would like to avoid some sort of ‘refugee tourism’. Visiting the Habibi.Works project in Katsikas happened more or less by chance, even if it was a very valuable and thought-provoking experience.

Lesbos was plain and simple a logical consequence of my interests. After visiting with Epirus and Macedonia at least some parts of the north and with Thessaloniki the second largest city in Greece, I wanted to take a look onto a completely different part of the country with its own regional characteristics and people. Therefore Lesbos seemed to be the ideal scenario. It combines economic sectors like agriculture, fishery, tourism and even small industries, has a rich and very ancient history – the present capital Mytilene was founded in the 11th century BC – and is by far large enough to show a certain amount of diversity in many aspects – cultural as well as scenic. OK, and I shall not hide the fact that it is really beautiful. Of course you can also see many of the ‘usual suspects’ you probably would expect on an Mediterranean island, as nice beaches, picturesque villages and a deep blue sea. But that’s just an add-on, even a very welcoming to be honest…

The far more important point for me is to find much more of ‘normal’ life and ‘normal’ appearance than you might find on so-called dream islands like Santorini or other such places for sure. Most things here are not arranged like in a museum, because people simply live and work here in many different ways and jobs. It looks like it looks. Period. And that makes it a far more interesting place for me than potentially more tourist-oriented places…

For sure I have to admit that the refugee issues, the approach to handle it and the changes and problems related thereto are of interest for me, but so are other aspects. On the last photo for example you can already see Turkey that is less than ten kilometers away from here. For those who are interested in geography: It’s Cape Baba, by the way the westernmost point of Asia. The proximity to Turkey had and still has of course many influences on this island. In particular at times like these with a Turkish president Erdoğan the people here will have a close look at what’s happening in their neighbouring country.

Even after just staying for one day here I am very happy about this decision and very optimistic to find many interesting places and people here. And I will take my time for this…

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