Tracing the footsteps: A diary of the project II

From May 22 to May 25, Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen, co-founders of Artıkişler collective, continued tracing migrants’ tracks in Micropolis and Thessaloniki as part of their video research project The Residual. They followed the route taken by migrants from Rojova, Thessaloniki and are going to move to their final destination in Berlin. While keeping contact with migrants and local volunteers in various social centers that function as spaces of meeting, education and communication, they collect video images that were taped by the people that they have encountered, seeking contemporary images of migration. In Thessaloniki they met with locals, migrants and volunteers of refugee initiatves alike gathering information about their thoughts and opinions, about the conditions in the camps installed by the Greek goverment as well as the open houses known as “No Border Camp” guided by anarchist groups and volunteers.
“We received the news from the volunteers in Idomeni camp on the border of Greece and Macedonia during the discharge that about 3000 migrants had moved from the camp. The migrants do not protest the discharge and accept moving to the new camps. We heard that the conditions in the new camps are horrifying. Those who stayed in Idomeni for a while and moved to Orfonotrofeio told us that the conditions are absolutely inhumane. Many children became sick or died of diseases. Both the non-govermental organizations and the Greek government are working for improving the conditions in the new camps that they were placed. Now, in some camps there is no clean water, baby food, nor toilet. There is no translator, its impossible to find clean food here. Nobody is allowed to enter except few volunteers.”

“We came across with small groups of migrants that departed to go back to the center between Oreokastro and Thessaloniki near Idomeni. New houses are required for those who could run away from the camp. Although they do not meet the requirements of the social centers in Greece, they function as spaces of meeting, education and discussion for the migrants. Micropolis is such a place. We meet the migrant groups that we could not see often in the city center. Osman, a migrant, who passed from Morocco to Izmir first and then to Samos, is one of the migrants who could rarely make an asylum request. He spoke about the importance of the migrants’ struggle. As we say that the Greek society is mindful about the migration, he agrees upon its contribution to the struggle, but he adds that taking advantages of EU rights a Greek citizen can never understand the psychology of a refugee. Osman says that the only way out from the exclusion they faced with and the conditions without guarantee is solidarity.”
“We are on the roof of Yfanet from which we can see Thessaloniki entirely from the Mountain Olympos to the poor neighbourhoods from the east to the west, from the harbour that lost its glory to the waved shores that calmed down at the end of the day. We came to know that in this factory from the Ottomans about 1400 women workers with some migrants had to work for 12 hours a day under harsh circumstances, to raise their children in this dark, cold place, under the heavy pressure of their bosses wetting them to keep them awake. The history of migration and poverty coincides.”

The Residual project diary by Özge Çelikaslan and Alper Şen will be continued…

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