Well, it didn’t take long for our prediction to come true. We warned back in September 2015 that sympathy for the Syrian/Arab/Muslim refugees would be transformed into hate to fuel geopolitical motives. Just four months separates the ‘refugee rape epidemic’ that, apparently, spontaneously broke out across Europe on New Year’s Eve, from the date when 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. Like the ‘horde’ of Syrians fleeing their NATO-torn country, Aylan’s family tried crossing the Aegean Sea in a rubber dinghy, in dire weather conditions. Aylan, his 5-year-old brother Galib, and their mother Rehana, drowned.
Just to remind you of the chronology of events here. A photo-journalist happened to be at the beach Aylan washed up on; Western journalists suddenly noticed refugees were dying in droves; and the public expressed outrage for the ‘collateral damage’ pouring out of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. Whether or not Aylan’s fate was deliberately used as political capital, public sympathy flowed for those fleeing the shadow of imminent and violent death. So many other events have transpired since that dark day in September. These days, you can barely register sadness for the loss of innocent lives before fresh atrocities make new headlines.
But children drowning in the Aegean soon became yesterday’s news, to be replaced more recently by growing public anger at and hatred towards those same people. Does anyone feel like they’re being manipulated?
Over at the Greek edition of SOTT.net, however, we didn’t forget because we couldn’t. Reports of new drownings came in almost daily. We kept track of them as best we could. Since Aylan’s death, about 140 child refugees are known to have drowned in the Aegean Sea. In most cases of mass drownings, a majority of the fatalities are children who don’t know how to swim, and who are too small for their life-saving vests. For some of the refugees, even the parents, it was their first, and last, time seeing open waters. This list (with links to Greek reports) is long, unfortunately:
- September 13: Boat containing about 120 refugees capsizes off Farmakonisi island – 34 people drowned, including 4 infants and 11 small children
- September 15: 22 people lost their lives, including 4 children
- September 18: 4-year-old girl drowns
- September 20: 22 Syrian refugees drown, among them 8 children all below the age of 12
- September 27: 17 Syrian refugees drown, including 5 children
- September 30: 2-year-old boy and a woman drown after 3 boats carrying total of 241 people capsize near Mytilene
- October 4: Infant and a 3-year-old boy drown near the island of Kos
- October 9: Infant found dead among 59 passengers on a boat arriving in Lesvos
- October 14: Infant and a child found dead by the shores of Lesvos
- October 17: 5 dead children found among two shipwrecks
- October 18: 3 children dead found among another two shipwrecks, near Kastellorizo and Farmakonisi
- October 24: En route to Lesvos, 2-year-old boy slips through his life-saving vest and drowns
- October 25: Infant, 6-year-old girl and her mother drown near Mytilene
- October 27: Another child refugee found dead in the Aegean
- October 29: 3 shipwrecks near Lesvos, Samos and Agathonisi result in the death of 15 people, 10 of whom are children
- October 30: 2 more boats capsize near Kalymnos and Rhodes – 18 people dead, including 9 children
- November 1: Another 11 Syrian refugees drown, including 2 children and 4 infants, following shipwreck near Samos
- November 4: 5 people, including 2 children, drown near Lesvos
- November 5: Another child and 10 adults found dead near Kos
- November 7: Child washes up dead on the shores of Lesvos
- November 11: 2 boats capsize – 18 refugees drown, 7 children among them
- November 13: 3 year-old boy, travelling in a plastic boat with 20 other refugees, drowns after trafficker begins throwing everyone overboard
- November 17: 9 people dead near Kos, 4 of them children
- November 24: Turkish fishermen find body of 4-year-old girl drowned following boat capsize
- November 27: 2 children from Afghanistan and 4 from Syria drown after two boats capsize near Turkish coast
- December 1: 29 people die in the Aegean, one of them a 4-year-old girl
- December 7: Infant found dead on Kos beach
- December 8: 6 children from Afghanistan drown near Turkish coast
- December 9: 12 people drown near Farmakonisi – 6 children among them
- December 18: 3 Syrian children and 2 Iraqi children among 8 drowned refugees in the Aegean
- December 19: 18 people drown off southwestern Turkey, including unknown number of children
- December 23: 13 refugees drown near Farmakonisi, 7 of them children
- December 24: 11 children among 20 drowned refugees near Turkish shores on Christmas Eve
- January 3: Two-year-old boy drowns as inflatable boat carrying almost 40 people crashes against rocks
- January 5: 38 refugees drown in the Aegean, 4 of them children
- January 15: 3 children drown near the island of Agathonisi, while another infant is found dead after 2 shipwrecks off Farmakonisi
One of the children in the more recent January 5th event was a girl found on a beach on the Greek island of Ikaria. She was 4 feet 4 inches tall, about 7-10 years old, and had long black hair. She was fully dressed in pink; her little gloves, her boots, and her little winter coat were a darker pink color. Only her life jacket was blue – which, of course, failed to save her life. Nobody knows how many hours, or days, she struggled with all her strength in the angry winter seas of the Aegean before it became her tomb.
© Hanife Erdinc/Anadolu/Getty
Like so much seaweed, another child washes up at Ayvalık in northwestern Turkey, January 5th, 2016
The beautiful Aegean Sea… I doubt there is a body of water anywhere in the world more celebrated in song, poetry and other works of art. Witness to eons of wars, mass migrations and the simple lives of those living on its shores, the Aegean Sea – like its big sister, the Mediterranean – has today become the final destination for thousands of people. In 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration, 1,004,356 people successfully crossed the Mediterranean to Europe, with some 400,000 of those landing on Greek shores from Turkey. 3,771 people drowned or are missing at sea – 805 in an attempt to cross the Aegean – up from 3,279 deaths in 2014.
An average of 5,000 refugees were arriving daily on the island of Lesvos until the winter set in. Most Greek islanders are doing the best they can to help out. Some of them were once refugees in older wars that savaged Greece, so they understand. Some volunteers take their own children with them: “We are educating them in humanity,” they say. Stratis, a volunteer in Mitillini, says: “Every child I take in my arms when they come out of the boat is my child.” And Vicky from Chios had this to say for the volunteers: “They are giving their souls to help the refugees. And their only reward is a big thank you, ‘shukraan’ in the language of many of the refugees. The volunteers, in their exhaustion, are able to sleep at night with a clear conscience. This is a great thing.”
The locals have been joined by volunteers from all over Greece, and from others all around the world. “We have volunteers from all different countries,” says Matina, a volunteer on Leros. “This happens for the first time. The tourists heard of the large numbers and saw the people, their grief, their pain. And they also saw how helpless Greece is in trying to help these people.”
Greece, currently suffering from the worst ‘austerity measures’ in Europe, is nevertheless being as hospitable as it can with what little it has. Meanwhile, the EU, instead of helping Greece help the refugees, is going behind its back to strike Faustian bargains with Turkey, the country that supports terrorism, ethnically cleanses its Kurdish population and actively traffics refugees from the Middle East to Europe. The EU has paid Turkey an initial 3 billion euros, and promised an ‘accelerated accession process’ for its entry into the Union in exchange for vague commitments by Ankara to reduce the flow of refugees to Europe, and – in the grand scheme of things – to keep supporting the Atlanticists irrational and psychopathic war against Russia.
Just recently a Turkish trafficker spoke to Greek media and was very clear when he said, “If the Turkish government didn’t want us to bring refugees to the Greek Islands, we wouldn’t be able to bring in a fly.” That Ankara has agreed to stem the flow of refugees reaching Europe via Greece in exchange for political gain tells you all you need to know about the people responsible for this humanitarian crisis – the psychopaths in power.
The illegal manufacture and sale of cheap ‘life-jackets’ greatly contributed to the thousands of deaths in the Aegean. They are on display all over Turkish coastal cities from where the refugees begin their sea journeys. A recent police raid at a manufacturing facility in Smyrna uncovered 1,263 fake life-jackets made out of tent cloth and filled with sponges and rags, rather than the buoyancy material needed to keep potential victims afloat – all put together by underage Syrian girls.
Most of the ‘life-jackets’ discarded on Greek shores after the refugees land have messages on them. “My name is Amptirachman Ali Yusuf. If you find me, call this number. This is my mother. Mom, I want you to know that I love you,” reads one. Apostle Veizis, program manager of the Greek branch of Doctors Without Borders, says: “These messages are confirmation of the fact that refugees are aware of the dangers they are up against when they board the vessels that carry them to Europe.”
It was not the fake life-jackets but the kid’s pool toys used as life-jackets that moved journalist David Darg as he walked along beaches on Lesvos:
If anything can represent the true makeup of the refugee population, it should be these images [of life jackets and children’s pool toys together on the beach]. These toys weren’t used to protect terrorists from drowning; they were used to protect innocent children from a crossing they should never have to make.
I glanced at the back of one of the little life jackets. The instructions sent a shiver down my spine. “Warning: This is not a lifesaving device.”
© David Darg/RYOT News
“Warning: This is not a lifesaving device.”
On New Year’s day, dozens of Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders volunteers and locals created a huge peace sign on a hillside in Lesvos overlooking the small strait between Greece and Turkey “as a way to honor those who have made the journey and to urge peace in the new year.” The sign was made with over 3,000 Turkish ‘life-jackets’…
People are calling out for Peace, but where is she? There isn’t a single place on Earth not suffering from some kind of actual or economic war waged by psychopaths against humanity. They subjugate people and force them to accept psychopathy as a ‘way of life’, to be like them, to not care about each other, and to ignore the fact that there are children, and their parents, dying in the seas all around us.
Killing kids for profit
Not satisfied with plundering Syria’s energy resources, Turkey’s leadership is also apparently plundering its human resources – literally. In April 2014 Nizar Abboud, a reporter at the UN in New York City, cited Syrian doctors’ reports appearing in Middle Eastern media about tens of thousands of Syrian children’s organs being harvested – mainly in refugee camps in Turkey and in Turkish hospitals, where children injured in the fighting go for treatment, but instead end up dead. Watch as the UN Council representative casually dismissed Abboud’s question about the UN investigating these claims:
Les Blough, editor of Axis of Logic, wrote in February 2014:
Were it not for the well-documented terrorism and atrocities that we know are being committed by Turkey’s Erdogan government in Syria, we might pass over as political fiction the hand-me-down news report about injured Syrians being robbed of their organs when taken to Turkey’s public hospitals for treatment.
But in the context of Turkey’s role in supporting and arming the terrorists to overthrow the Assad government in Syria and its history with trafficking human organs, there’s reason enough to take the report seriously.
The Turkish public health sector has a history of operating in international human organ smuggling for money. In 2010 The Guardian reported the theft of human organs by Yusuf Ercin Sonmez, a Turkish surgeon who was sought by Interpol in an international manhunt at the time. Sonmez has been indicted for illegally taking human organs for sale from patients in Kosovo, and has been accused of the same in Azerbaijian, and of being involved in an organ theft ring in Ecuador. In Kosovo, Sonmez was indicted for taking organs from Serb soldiers captured in the 1998-1999 US war on Serbia, and leaving them to die.
Sonmez’s partner-in-crime was Moshe Harel, a Turkish-Israeli. Together they harvested and trafficked human organs for a number of years as part of a global network “covering countries that ran through Kosovo, Turkey, Europe, Canada, the US and Israel.” Though both men were prosecuted and tried, their whereabouts are unknown since 2013. One wonders, with reports of on-going organ-trafficking in Turkey involving young refugees, whether these two are still around and protected by the authorities.
While there is little evidence of direct connections between the Turkish state and this sordid but lucrative business in Syria, Daesh-ISIS (with whom the Turkish authorities have proven business links) almost certainly are engaged in abducting Syrian children and harvesting their organs. When we consider that these crazed mercenaries, completely off their heads on amphetamines, are raping and beheading Syrian civilians by the hundreds, apparently under US air cover, then surgically removing children’s organs and leaving them for dead is actually one of their least barbaric practices.
Pray for peace?
While those ultimately responsible for all this mass death and untold suffering – the powerful and wealthy making political maneuvers from their gilded halls – and while all too many people in Europe block out the refugees’ cries for help with walls of fear, hate-mongering and racism, those who voluntarily help the refugees are exercising conscience to weave a wide net of humanity, dignity and solidarity. Each of us should follow their example, wherever we might be.
Let’s open our hearts and offer help and hospitality, or at least show our support, for those who suffer or could use a helping hand. Compassion is contagious through our innate limbic resonance, and I am convinced that small acts of service to our fellow humans can change the world if done by many consistently. As tragedy upon tragedy piles up, the possibility of a new compassionate world is emerging amid the ruins of war and psychopathic politics… and the children of the refugees, our children, need not continue to drown in the seas.
May our children rest in peace, and may their deaths be not in vain. May it touch our hearts deeply so that we feel a sadness and pain for their loss so intense, that it turns into rage. A true and righteous rage against the policies, the governments, the institutions, the persons that allow the senseless and unjustified wars that produce the deaths of these children and millions of others globally, to continue. Rage against the psychopaths who rule over all life on this planet. Rage and be the voice for all the innocent victims dead and alive. Rage to defend whatever is left of beauty, justice, truth, solidarity, compassion and humanity in this world… For there is a worse kind of death than drowning in the Aegean Sea: drowning in a sea of ignorance and indifference to the plight of your fellow human beings, and losing your own humanity in the process.