[Battlemesh] Call for Refugee Camps

berat at autistici.org berat at autistici.org
Sun Apr 24 16:13:23 CEST 2016

Hi everybody,

I want to make a call for the extraordinary situation of refugees who 
are waiting on the borders of Europe. As you know, thousands and 
thousands of people ran away from a war, they have lost their homes, 
their families, loved ones, they have lost their past and the only thing 
remains is the hope for having a future. Finding a safe place to raise 
their children and live a dignified life.

But unfortunately the borders of Europe are closed and hundreds of 
thousands of refugees are blocked in makeshift refugee camps in Greece 
and Turkey for months(if not for more than one year) without knowing 
what will happen. Conditions in refugee camps are worst in every aspect; 
social, health, hygiene, food, and minimum living conditions that would 
be guaranteed by the basic human rights.

Especially now in Idomeni(which is a small village on the border of 
Macedonia) there is a huge refugee camp with more than 10 thousand 
inhabitants who are seeking for an opportunity to reach other European 
countries. There are different humanitarian groups(also associations 
like Doctors Without Borders, UNCHR) from all over the Europe who brings 
materials/goods, help and solidarity.

An Italian group called "Over The Fortress"[0][1] also organizes 
continuous voluntary groups for Idomeni. They basically monitor, do 
reports and support information/basic necessities to the camp. They 
ultimately reported the high necessity of Internet connection and 
electricity in the camp. One of the main reasons, the only way to do an 
asylum application is a Skype call with Athens, which is difficult in a 
place with very limited resources. Even though it is considered as a 
"cruel and senseless procedure."[2] by the activists (and ofcourse 
they're right) and it should be changed as petition demands[2], at the 
moment this is the only way to stay in Greece. Because the agreement 
between Turkey and UE aims to return them back to Turkey, which is 
definitely not the desire of refugees. On the other hand, ofcourse these 
people need to comunicate with the world outside the camp because many 
of them have parents/familiers in some other parts of the world.

So, Over The Fortress brought a generator for eletricity, for light and 
materials for wifi. They made a contract with a Greece ISP which 
provides montlhy 500 Gigabit for 200€[3]. It will be active for 4 months 
and they launched a campaign to sustain the project[4]. But in an 
ultimate mail that arrived, they informed us that the volume of data 
acquired in the first instance is running out of and need to be 
increased. Sharing this campaign with your social networks could be 
helpful. It can be a temporary solution and at this point, contribute of 
wireless communities can be very important.

The aim of this mail is informing and asking a contribute from wireless 
mesh network communuties about this situation. While we were discussing 
with the Ninux community, they suggested to write to ML Battlemesh, as 
this problem is not temporary and need to be considered in a larger 
scale. Idomeni is just an example and eventhough tomorrow borders had 
been open, this fluss of people would still need many kinds of support 
and the Internet is an important one. They also informed me that some 
communities like Freifunk, already had supported refugees in similar 
situations, so they have experience, which would be very precious to 
share with us. In the specific of Idomeni, contribute/support of Greece 
community would be very essential.

I've never been in Idomeni(I myself am extra-comunitario in Italy, for 
some reasons i can't go) but to have more technical information from the 
camp, you can contact with Over The Fortress, as i know Disaster Tech 
Lab[5] has been there and tomorrow one of my friends from CMN Pisa will 
go to Idomeni with a group, for a week. In return, he can make a report 
about the ultimate situation. Unfortunately i can't neither participate 
to Battlemesh to discuss it face to face. I hope this mail can be a 
starting point to discuss what can communities do about this situation.

Thanks for reading.


[2] https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/stop_skype_asylum_procedure
[only in italian]
[5] http://disastertechlab.org/

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