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CoastLine: Wilmingtonians Travel to Refugee Camps in Greece

By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (Arbeitsbesuch Mazedonien) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Refugees at the Macedonian border

Syria’s civil war erupted five years ago in the summer of 2011.  According to Al Jazeera, it is the deadliest conflict of the 21st century thus far.  To put that into perspective, the United Nations estimated the death toll to be a quarter of a million people as of last August.  But that’s a fraction of the people who have fled the violence in Syria.  The BBC puts the number of displaced people at 11 million.  And all sides in this conflict have engaged in war crimes -- torture, rape, kidnapping… Public amputations of fingers, hands, feet – and gruesome executions are commonplace. 

The use of chemical weapons has raised the ire of the international community.  But despite the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, authorized by Syrian President Bashar al Assad, the use of the use of toxic chemicals continues. 

Refugees are flooding into neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey – and many are finding their way to Europe  -- including the already-stressed country of Greece – described by one blogger for the UK’s Spectator as a “broke country of closed shops, houses for sale at knockdown prices, and families living on 40 euros a week.” 

All this while European leaders work out who should direct Greece’s distressed banks.

The human suffering evident in Greece inspired two local people to travel there and see the refugee camps first-hand.


Dana Sachsis author of the novel If You Lived Here and two books of nonfiction, The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam and The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam.   She’s also written for National Geographic, Mother Jones, Travel and Leisure Family, and the Boston Globe. 

Jim Stasios is a native North Carolinian and member of the Supreme Lodge for the Order of American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association – also known as AHEPA.  Founded in 1922 for American citizens of Greek heritage, AHEPA seeks to promote the values of western civilization as established by the Ancient Greeks.  

If you would like to help:

Dana Sachs is hosting a fundraiser Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at the Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater in Thalian Hall at 7 PM.  Admission is free.  She will show slides and talk about her experiences.  Donations will be accepted.  

Direct funding:  https://www.youcaring.com/syrian-refugee-relief-555416

Non-profit umbrella:  http://www.cardeacenterforwomen.org/donate.html  Scroll down to "Wilmington For Refugees"

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.