Lesvos: The Island of Greek Angels
We have all taken pride in the journeys we have taken to distant land and looked forward to our destination with anticipation dreaming of the balmy beaches, colorful cocktails with little umbrellas awaiting us in the hotel lobby to be served with a smile by a charming hostess. But not all journeys are like that, some of us need to undertake arduous journeys just to save our life and leave the land we have called home since time immemorial. For the Syrian refugees forced to flee their homes due to civil war had no option but to take a journey without any preplanned destination. They had limited resources and unlimited risks, and only a sliver of hope that they may reach a land where they will not be pushed back, judged or prosecuted but welcomed and allowed to stay. No matter how small was the hope it was bigger than the risk they faced back home. Hence started a painful journey of hundreds of thousands of Syrians in search of a new life.
But let me first ask you if you have heard of Lesvos? I guess not, while we have all heard of Greek Gods and aspired to be one at some point we rarely venture and learn about the tiny islands that are part of mythology and history of Greek. Lesvos is one such tiny island with a population of 153. Yes, you may not be able to find Lesvos on the world map but ask 300,000 Syrian refugees saved by these islanders and you will realize that even if Lesvos may be just a dot on the map, it occupies a huge space in the heart of 300,000 Syrian refugees who were saved by the wonderful people of Lesvos.
As the Syrian crisis worsened we have been reading about the same in newspapers, watching the horror stories on TV and nodding our head, peddling our opinion to anybody who was willing to listen.
Ode to Lesvos is a story of recognition and acknowledgment for the extraordinary behaviors and acts of the islanders of Lesvos, who have greeted and saved thousands of refugees. By bringing these inspiring stories to the world, Johnnie Walker -The Journey wants to highlight how showing simple acts of kindness and humanity can make a difference.
But the island of Lesvos was caught in the middle of Syrian refugee crises as boat after boat came to their tiny island. Without worrying about politics, religion, security and other things that rest of the world continues to debate the Lesvos residents opened their hearts and homes to the refugees. Somebody jumped into the sea to save children, somebody else baked bread, others offered their homes as shelter.
Mind you this from a community of 153 residents who went ahead and welcomed 300,000 refugees till they continued on the further journey. We all may have heard of Greek Gods, but it is here on Lesvos that Greek Angles reside.
The migration crisis continues to have a huge impact on the world in which we live. It is vitally important that we are able to tell these kinds of stories and raise awareness of the issues faced by those who are forcibly displaced and the communities who receive them. Watch this video “Ode to Lesvos”, created by Johnnie Walker to create awareness about not only the refugees but also the unsung heroes of Lesvos who deserve to be recognized the world over for sharing their limited resources, love and giving hope to the hopeless.
As part of the launch of Ode to Lesvos, Johnnie Walker The Journey India is supporting Mercy Corps, a leading global organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after the conflict, crisis, and natural disaster. In addition, to spreading awareness about the same you can also make a financial contribution to Mercy Corp by using the link – Mercy Corps
I do hope and pray that the Syrian refugee crisis ends as possible and peace returns to all parts of the world. Till then let us Keep Walking towards making this world a better place, one step a time.
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