The Primate of Orthodoxy resembles world leaders’ policies to King Herod’s and reminds everyone that newborn Jesus Christ was also a political refugee.
New York.- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew used his Christmas Message to over 250 million Orthodox Christians around the world, to make a strong appeal for the protection of the refugees, especially the children. Patriarch Bartholomew was a pioneer when almost immediately after his enthronement took charge on the climate change issue with major initiatives that gave him the title of the “Green Patriarch”.
Using an extremely critical language, His All Holiness compares some policies of the contemporary rulers of the world with Herod’s (who killed thousands of new born children in order to kill Jesus Christ).
He also uses the term “political refugee” to describe Jesus Christ whose parents were forced to leave for Egypt with His Mother Mary and Joseph.
“In our times, regarded as progress time, many children are forced to become refugees following their parents to save for their lives, which various enemies leer. This fact is a disgrace to the human race”, the Ecumenical Patriarch says in his Christmas Message.
He also declares that all societies should ensure for the safe development of children, respecting their right to life, education and normal life, which can ensured by the upbringing and education within the framework of the traditional family, on the basis of the principles of love, charity, peace, solidarity; goods that newborn Jesus conveys to us today.
Popular American actress and activist Susan Sarandon arrived on Lesvos on Thursday to witness first-hand the refugees’ arrival on the island. “I don’t think the world has understood what is happening … I don’t think humanity has understood the depth of the crisis,” the actress told ANA-MPA exclusively on Friday.
“The international community must see what is happening in this corner of the world. It must realize the size of the problem and understand it. These people should stop being ‘somebody else’ and must become the refugees that we must stand by and support,” she added.
Sarandon discussed with volunteers and members of non-governmental organizations operating on Lesvos on the situation and then said: “As mother of three children I completely understand what it means to be a mother with children running away from war and squalor; to reach the coast and to be forced to make this travel only because you must survive. Let’s hope that very soon the countries that do not participate in the effort to save all these people will do so,” she concluded.
Sarandon is visiting the east coast of Lesvos, near the airport, and is at the spot where boats with migrants arrive on the island. She particularly focuses on the children, helping them to change their soaked clothes, socks and shoes.
A five-year-old Iranian Semihan and her two younger siblings captured Sarandon’s heart when the little girl broke into tears while she held her in her arms. “Have courage, you’ll make it,” she told the young girl’s parents when they got on board UN’s bus that would take them to the Identification Center at Moria.
“I cannot imagine how desperate you have to be to get into such a boat … This here before us seems rather safe, but I’ve seen others fall apart and people throw their possessions overboard and risk drowning. Two days before people died.”
She acknowledged the efforts of some countries but noted that to reach a point where one could say the crisis has been dealt with appropriately, a lot remains to be done.
According to sources, Sarandon will remain on Lesvos and will continue to assist the volunteers and the non-governmental organisations in the reception of the migrants and refugees.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday the two-day Summit of EU leaders on migration in Brussels produced “positive decisions for the country”.
Speaking shortly after the end of the meetings, he said: “In a difficult field and within negative European correlations Greece succeeds in using opportunities and defending both its rights, as well as broader human values, such as solidarity, democracy and social cohesion.”
Commenting on the year that is ending, Tsipras said it was “a very tough year for Europe” and a year of “great crises and upheavals.” He also expressed his hope that the New Year will bring major moves towards a more social and progressive direction, so that Europe may rediscover its orientation and its founding values.”
Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday on the sidelines of the European Summit held in Brussels.
The meeting focused on Frontex and hotspots issues and Tsipras briefed Merkel on the progress of the works at the under construction hotspots and the relocation camps that are expected to have been completed during the next two months.
Regarding Frontex, government sources said that it was understood that Greece wishes to make use of Frontex’ knowhow while also accepting assistance. It was also clarified that from the help it has requested so far only half of it has arrived to Greece.
The Greek prime minister opined that a permanent refugees relocation mechanism directly from Turkey or relocation from Greece to other European countries should be formed in order this unprecedented migration crisis to come to a halt.
It was also pointed out that Frontex staff working hours are according to the labour hours of the country they derive.
It was agreed that a structured repatriation policy for those migrants that are not entitled to asylum or refuse to apply for asylum. In this category are include those that are coming from the Turkish coasts mostly Moroccans, Algerians, Pakistanis and Iranians. The repatriation will be carried out in close cooperation with Frontex and EU based on the Greek-Turkish protocol for repatriation and in the spirit of the recent agreement between EU and Turkey.
AN AWARD FOR THE COAST GUARD
Greece’s Coast Guard was awarded for its contribution in saving lives through its search and rescue operations, during a small ceremony at the Athens Music Hall on Thursday evening, presided by Shipping and Island Policy Minister Thodoris Dritsas.
The award was presented by the Greek Institute of Customer Service to the body’s deputy chief Admiral Nikolaos Patrinos.
“Every day, the Coast Guard responds to rescue operations for persons who are in danger at sea … since the beginning of 2015 it has managed more than 790,000 refugees-migrants, in over 5,000 incidents both at sea and on steep Greek islets in the eastern Aegean,” he said after the ceremony.