Borderland

Reporting from the frontlines of history in Greece

Date: July 25, 2016

History Repeats

Afghan teens at benaki museum

Afghan teenagers listen to lecture on the 1922 Catastrophe

By Iris Samuels

The Benaki Museum in Athens is an unlikely place to find teenagers on a hot summer afternoon. Yet on a recent Saturday, two 16-year-old boys were roaming amid ancient statues and Ottoman-era jugs, arms crossed awkwardly over gangly bodies. They were fascinated.

In their t-shirts and sneakers, they looked like nothing so much as Greek schoolboys on holiday. But Karim and Amir were refugees [GlobalReporting is not using their real names to protect their families abroad.]

They fled Afghanistan early this year because, they said, staying would risk pressure from ISIS or the Taliban to join their causes. They are part of a contingent of refugees younger than 18  who have journeyed to Greece all alone.

On the third floor of the museum, they came across an image of the city of Smyrna — modern day Izmir, Turkey — engulfed in flames in 1922. The painting depicts what Greeks call The Catastrophe, a war that sent one million Turkish Christians into small unseaworthy boats bound for Greece. For the boys, this was not the first time they had considered the parallel between this historical event and their own journey out of Izmir by boat, just a few weeks earlier.

 

Continue reading

Behind the wire

By Amanda Blanco

For those trapped inside of the place known as Moria, razor wire doubles as clothesline. Jeans and t-shirts drape over barbed spindles, and makeshift tents crafted from blankets use the fence as support.

Located on the Greek island of Lesbos, Moria was established in late September 2013 as a registration site for refugees who arrived on its azure shores seeking asylum. Greek officials meant it to be a short-term home and temporary sanctuary, not a long-term detention center. But since the signing of the EU-Turkey agreement in March 2016, that has become its destiny.

 

IMG_0674

Refugees inside Moria hang laundry on the barbed-wire fences that surround the camp.

 

Continue reading

© Copyright 2016 The Trustees of Princeton University
The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning resides within the Office of the Dean of the College