Ain’t no fence high enough!
Most of the green tents have been opened in a rush. Inside are sleeping bags, blankets, adult clothing, and kids’ toys. Styrofoam cups with a sip of chai and plastic plates with noodles from the evening before. Next to the tilt dwelling: A fire place with a pile of logs, which still waits to be burned to provide heat for the hands and feet of those sitting next to it. Day one after the eviction – or, in the language of the authorities: evacuation. All these things that are scattered along the railway tracks testify to the previous presence of the inhabitants of the informal camp close to the border crossing in Idomeni.
The inhabitants are gone – they were made leave by force – but their presence is still attached to the space. A contested, precarious presence, as in the last days, people had been put under more and more pressure to leave the border area. Entering the village wasn’t allowed anymore, as well as taking a taxi. New arrivals were left six kilometers next to the highway in the dark and cold. The eviction on Wednesday was just another violation of personal rights and freedom which is an almost permanent experience for migrants.
Traces of their resistance against this can also be found in the remains of the camp: ‚Fight racist borders‘ read the outer walls of the big tents. Also, people refused to leave during the eviction. Some shouted slogans and tried to stay together until the police started to pull them away brutally, one by one. They fought for that bit of hope that made them stay the last 21 days in the windy tents and on the cold ground. Hope, that the border would be opened again at some point. But the people of Idomeni didn’t stay on the rail tracks and fields only because of mere hope. The fact that no border lasts forever has been proved day by day. Groups of people left to the woods, headed towards the mountains. Some came back with traces of police brutality on their bodies. Others sent text messages a few days later as they reached Skopje or Belgrade.
With the eviction, the hope of a border opening has been eliminated. But not the will and determination of people to arrive, where they want to go. They will all find their ways and routes. From the crowded Taekwon Do Stadium in Athens, where they were brought, across the borders.
Ain’t no fence high enough.