Migrants at the port of Leros, with a map of the Dodecanisian islands where most of the migrants travel through as a first step to Europe
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The images of the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty to reach Europe have for months made international headlines. But lately the audience has become increasingly numb toward the plight of these human beings in transit, seeking a new future. The migration phenomenon has became hostage to politics as it has been steadily manipulated by rising xenophobic movements throughout Europe. The biggest refugees exodus the continent has seen since WWII has managed to undermine the foundations of the European project. While over one million refugees and migrants entered Europe through Greece and the Balkan route in 2015, national egoisms were surging in the Old Continent, hindering the EU’s quest for a solution to what has been superficially dubbed “the refugees crisis”. The word crisis, in the etymological sense of the Greek word, can also mean “opportunity”, an opportunity that the EU was not able to see, hiding itself behind pragmatism, culminating in the controversial deal signed with Turkey. Since March 20th, refugees arriving on the Greek islands, with their meagre belongings and children on their back, are now “welcomed” in detention centres. All but a very few will be deported to Turkey.

In recent years, the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir have become hubs for refugees seeking smugglers, who offered a place in an overcrowded dinghy for anywhere between $800-$2000 per person. As the refugee crisis deepened, the transnational network of organised crime grew, making vast profits by offering the refugees the fastest, yet dangerous, solution to reach Europe. When the Balkan route shut down in early March, refugees who still had money and courage left, resorted again to these smugglers to continue their journey overland from Greece to Germany, or by flying with fake passports. All others were instead stranded in Greece in makeshift camps which multiplied throughout the country. The relocation program, which was supposed to relocate 160.000 refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU countries, has proven disastrous, moving approximately 1500 people (barely 1%) since most EU states refused, or accepted pitifully low numbers with great delays. The stories of more than 54.000 people stranded in Greece are now intertwined with the ones of the citizens of a country that experienced nearly a decade of economic meltdown and austerity measures. Greece became “a warehouse of souls”, as termed by Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas, lost souls looking for a solution for starting a new life and cannot or wish not to go back from where they came. Lost souls still trying to believe that they didn’t sell their houses and belongings in vain, not wanting to accept that their dreams have ended on the barbed wire of the border of Idomeni.

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Iraqi refugee praying after arrival in Mitilini
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Children crying after arriving in Mitilini, Lesbos
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Refugees arriving on the rocks of Mitilini
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Iraqi refugees after havomg being identified upon their arrival at Chios costs on August 19th, after their travel by boat from Turkey
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Chldren in the police office of Leros waiting for their temporary permit to be done
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Migrants cueing to receive food and warm clothes in Moria camp
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Swedish Volunteers of "Clown without boarders" entertaining migrants in Moria
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Refugees and migrants arriving in Athens with the ferry from Mitilini, Lesbos received by people trying to sell direct bus tickets to Idomeni
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The Syrian family having dinner in their tent at the Pireaus port, April 2016
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A Lybian and an Algerian migrants in Viktoria square, in Athens, planning to reach Europe through Albania
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Maher Dahood, who lost his wife and two daughters on the boat trip at just some meters from the Greek cost, caring about his only child left in the room he is lodging waiting for relocation. He only wants to go to Germany, where his brother's family live
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Stranded refugees warming up on fire at Polikastro station, at 20km to Idomeni Greek-Macedonian border
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Refugees praying besides the railway tracks while a cargo train is passing by
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Refugees queuing for food cooked to them by volunteers from Hamburg at the gas station of Polikastro, at about 20km from the Greek-Macedonian border of Idomeni
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People sleeping and resting inside one of the heated tents in the camp of Idomeni
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Refugees reaching the camp of Idomeni after they have been walking from the gas station of Polikastro
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Refugees prevented from entering the camp of Idomeni after they have been walking from the gas station of Polikastro
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Refugees prevented from entering the camp of Idomeni after they have been walking from the gas station of Polikastro
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Afghans refugees in Polikastro, refused at the Idomeni border and refusing to get on a bus back to Athens
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is from Syria but he is not allowed to cross the border of Idomeni because he has no passport, despite all the documentation he brought to explain his case
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A blanket left on the barbed wire in front of the fence which streches along the Greek-Macedonian border
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Afghans refugees on the railway on Idomeni. They cannot believe their journey cannot continue
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One of the abandoned houses nearby the border of Idomeni were migrants stays waiting to cross the border illegally with a smuggler
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The group of Iranians set out to the wood to cross illegaly the Macedonian border with a smuggler
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