News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Greek Island resident tells NPR many refugees arriving aren't Syrian, they tear up passports to be able to assume Syrian identities and get to Europe more easily: 'I can give you a whole bunch of torn up identity cards, passports. People from different countries are tearing up their passports...And this is scary to us, because we don't know' who they are-NPR, 9/22/15

9/22/15, "Greek Hotel Owner On Refugees: 'These Could Have Been My Children'," npr.org, transcript

"NPR's Kelly McEvers talks with Aphrodite Vati Mariola in Molyvos, Lesbos Island, Greece, about the daily arrival of boats on the beaches just below her family's hotel."...

[The cordial and articulate Ms. Mariola tells NPR she has taken her own children's clothes and given them to the children arriving by boat. NPR asks the Greek mother who works in a family business if seeing the boat people will cause her to abandon her present living dealing with the "comfortable and well off" and make the arriving boat people her new mission in life:]

"MCEVERS:...Your family has built a business--built a life, really, catering to tourists, presumably people who are comfortable and well off. And now you find yourselves working with and helping a whole different type of people. I mean, do you feel like your mission in life has changed now?

MARIOLA: (Laughter). Well, this is something that has been thrust upon us so we had no choice in the matter.

MCEVERS: Right.

MARIOLA: It's changed our daily routine 100 percent. It's changed our concept of what society is, what a community is, what humanity is. We are facing many difficulties on many different levels, and it's from the most basic problem such as how to help the basic needs of these people the moment they come out. It's facing our own internal, let's say, turmoil - how we feel about the situation. Because in the one sense, we want to help. In the other sense, it's a feeling also of invasion because this is our home, and so suddenly we have hundreds and hundreds of people here, and we don't know who they are. I feel it would be very naive to say that aren't some shady figures passing on through into Europe.

MCEVERS: Yeah.

MARIOLA: If you come to our (hotel) reception, I can give you a whole bunch of torn up identity cards, passports. People from different countries are tearing up their passports, literally. And to me, that means they're trying to assume a new identity. I think a lot of people are trying to assume, you know, the identity of a Syrian in order to be able to get into Europe easier. And this is scary to us because we don't know - are there any hidden agendas here, or is it just because you're looking for a better life? In my case, all I can say is that when a boat arrives, we just can't not go and help. And we're just dealing with it. We're putting out fires. We're not providing a solution, though, to this problem.

MCEVERS: Aphrodite Vati Mariola, thank you very much for talking to us.

MARIOLA: Thank you for everything.

MCEVERS: That was Aphrodite Vati Mariola, speaking her family's hotel on the island of Lesbos, Greece."...



 



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