In the daily life of the women and girls of the hot spot of Moria, relentless insecurity prevails. More than 20,000 people live in a detention centre with a capacity of 3,000 people at the time of writing (April 2020). Even more so for women, this situation exacerbates their insecurity as most are victims of different types of violence, including rape. This violence is not unprecedented for them as it was most often experienced in the countries of origin, during their travel to Europe, and in the hot spot of Moria it is greatly intensified. Even greater is the need for women traveling alone to be housed in specially designed spaces, women’s ‘safe-spaces’. Unfortunately, these places are few and overpopulated, so very often single women are forced to stay in tents set up in areas with a male population, which makes their survival very difficult.
For the inhumane conditions they experience every day in the hot spot of Moria and for the asylum applications that are increasingly delayed for hundreds of immigrant and refugee women, they marched and demonstrated on January 30, 2020 from Moria to Mytilene. The main slogan of the women during the march was ‘Moria is a women’s hell’ which was supported by solidarity on social media with the hashtag #AllWomenAgainstMoria and he motto ‘tolerance for the conditions in Moria and the geographical limitation of asylum seekers on the islands is criminal’.
Their voices were very loud, and neither the torrential rain nor the shields of the uniforms of the special police forces could stop them.
The testimonies of the women themselves in conversations and interviews taken by one of the writers are exemplary of the situation:
“Moria is not Europe, Moria is worse than Afghanistan. We, women, we are not safe in Moria, in Moria people has been murdered, in Moria, they treat us like dogs (very bad),we request from the united nation to help us. Moria is not Europe, Moria is not a safe place, and our youth are hanging themselves to end up their lives. We want justice.”
“We want justice, we want freedom. When we had to cross the sea we realized we could drown, but we took that risk for a better future for our children. Unfortunately it is worse than Afghanistan, we do not feel safe in the Moria camp, we suffer. from the conditions that exist in Moria. We cannot even compare with hell the situation we have in Moria … ”
“We have putted our lives in danger, we have risked our lives when we stepped in the rubber boat, and we knew that it was possible to get drowned in the sea, we knew that it was possible that won’t make it alive to Greece. Why Greece is prisoning us? Greece is not Europe, Greece is worse than Afghanistan, we want justice, we have come to live and for that we have putted our lives in danger several times.”
“We want nothing else but just freedom from you, just let us to go because of these kids, we have lived our lives in all the worst possible situation, at least let these kids to have a peaceful life, why you have no mercy towards us? Why nobody hear us? Why you don’t want to listen to us? Why you do not understand? We have put our lives in danger to finally arrive here and yet you are deporting us back.”
Μigrant women are screaming for freedom, it’s time for their voices to be heard, for “invisible” women to be seen.
Violeta Dimitrakopoulou & Naya Tselepi