Imagine this: You are having a pleasant late-night dinner in a restaurant in Kavala on the coast of northern Greece. You hear whistles and see a line of police forming along the sidewalk . A young cop tells you, “The Syrians are coming.”
The broad street is closed and, at first in the distance and then walking right in front of you is a crowd of mostly young men wearing layers of clothing and carrying heavy backpacks. They seem elated and some yell, “Hello!” in English because they can tell you are an American. They are the fastest walkers.
For a while, the street is empty and then more people appear out of the darkness: men carrying sleeping children, old women, men dragging suitcases, young women, little kids old enough to keep up, pregnant women. Everyone is wearing too many clothes. Even the littlest walkers carry something—a suitcase, a backpack, a sack of household goods. They are wearing or carrying as much as they could take from home. They are not fast walkers.
This is a true story.
The Syrians are fleeing a country that is in chaos. They have come through Turkey, then to Greece by boat, paying smugglers to ferry them. Now they are walking from the docks to buses that will take them to the Macedonian or Bulgarian border. From there, they hope to make their way to Germany, to a better, safer life. Since January 2015, 160,000 migrants and refugees have entered Greece.
In their situation, what would you do? Could you afford to leave? Where would you go? Would you send your spouse or children ahead and plan to join them later? I don’t know what I would do.
Next week: more on this subject, including leaving