Greek islanders who have been on the frontline of the refugee crisis are to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with the support of their national government.
Of the 900,000 refugees who entered Europe last year most were received –scared, soaked and travelling in rickety boats – by those who live on the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
On remote Greek islands, grandmothers have sung terrified little babies to sleep, while teachers, pensioners and students have spent months offering food, shelter, clothing and comfort to refugees who have risked their lives to flee war and terror.
The islanders, including fishermen who gave up their work to rescue people from the sea, are in line to be honoured with one of the world’s most esteemed awards. Eminent academics from the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell and Copenhagen are drafting a submission in favour of awarding the prize to the people of Lesbos, Kos, Chíos, Samos, Rhodes and Leros.
It must be noted that a people of a country already dealing with its own economic crisis responded to the unfolding tragedy of the refugee crisis with “empathy and self-sacrifice”, opening their homes to the dispossessed, risking their lives to save others and taking care of the sick and injured.
The volunteer networks on the Greek islands have provided accommodation, hygiene packs, food, dry clothes and help with the next steps for refugees. However, it is claimed that the instincts of the majority of islanders set the tone across Europe towards the refugees’ plight.