"In Syria we would die quickly, here we are dying slow. What is better? ". That is a question you often get when you walk around the refugee camp near the small village of Idomeni on the border between Greece and Macedonia. More than 10,000 people are gathered here hoping to move up through Europe. Many have family in Germany, Norway, Denmark and other European countries.
A old railway station and the dry fields surrounding it is filled with tents. They are not large villa tents, but small squalid tents on a surface of dirt and stones. Many of the tents are further covered with plastic. Dust fills the air and it smells of a mixture of sweat, food, dust and urin. People are here in an attempt to create a life where they can safely live with their families without having to fear being bombed every day.
The camp is not supported in any way by the Greek government. It is solely in the hands of the many aid organizations and volunteers to provide food, shelter and medical care. Should refugees want any help from Greece, they must leave the camp and go to one of the official camps and register. Few believe that these camps is the right place to go. Will they be sent back to Syria, is the conditions okay, will they be able to come up to other European countries with their families? These are some of the questions that people ask themselves again and again. The camps are also located far away. Maybe 100 kilometers away. With our western mindset that is not far. But when you have fled bombs in Syria, travelled through Turkey, crossed the sea to Greece in small rubber boat and then on to the border to Macedonia, 100 kilometers is far, far away. In Idomeni they can see the border. They live right next to it. The only thing that separates them from the rest of Europe is a fence and massive amounts of barbed wire. But the view of the Macedonian mountains gives them hope. And for many hope is the only thing they have left.