Travels We Gaan Ze Halen
On December 21th 2018 a solidarity convoy of 60 drivers departed from the Dutch city of Utrecht, heading towards Athens in Greece. I was one of them. Our goal was to encourage refugees by showing them the people of Europe would stand up for the rights of refugees and demand from our governments to treat them fairly. Furthermore we delivered warm winter cloths and, perhaps most importantly, we wanted to draw the eye of the world to these seemingly forgotten people dangling at the edge of our continent.
We Gaan Ze Halen (Let’s Bring Them Here, LBTH) has challenged the Dutch government over and over again to adhere to their Relocation promises (EU decision 1601 and 1523, signed in 2015). While the politicians dragged their feet, fearing flak from rightwing populists, the circumstances in the camps in Greece deteriorated quickly and the lives of more than 16,000 people were being destroyed. A humanitarian disaster was (and is) ongoing.
To show the urgency, 60 citizens drove 3000 kilometers from Amsterdam to Athens, in winter-conditions, to evacuate refugees. They’ve announced to the Greek government that they are coming with the intent to bring 150 refugees home if the bilateral agreement is signed. On Christmas Eve the convoy reached Athens, delivered a petition to parliament and celebrated this feast of light in darkness with refugees, locals and volunteers. On the 25th of December, a conference was held: ‘How to proceed on our own if governments refuse to act’.
The convoy managed to temporarily move this difficult situation to the top of the political agenda, thanks to the immense attention the media, both local and international, gave to the effort.
This album contains the images I shot for EO Visie Magazine. As embedded reporter I provided daily updates for their readers. The full story (in Dutch) can be found here: http://kolesqueeste.nl/photography/essays/categories/wegaanzehalen/