This morning I listened to my NPR station on morning addition on my today’s subject. Contributed by Peter Kenyon and Joannna Kakissis: http://www.npr.org/2015/09/14/440173512/migrants-set-off-for-europe-despite-others-tragic-tales
Greece counts about 6,000 islands of which about 275 are uninhabited. I cannot find a count of the Turkish islands but besides a few in the Turkish Sea of Marmara and two or three Turkish islands at the the Greek side of the Dardanelles Strait and half of Cyprus, plus a few uninhabited rocks of the Turkish coast there are no Turkish islands on the Mediterranean Coast. The about 600 mile Turkish Black Sea coast has no islands, and for that matter, practically, neither has the Georgian, Ukrainian, Romanian or Bulgarian Black sea coast.In the Greek War of Independence between 8121 and 1832 the Ottoman Empire was pushed back to the Turkish mainland. Before the advance of the Roman Empire the Greeks had colonized most of coastal Turkish territory in the Mediterranean. Ephesus, Antioch, Colossus, Myrna, Tarsus, Philadelphia, etc. were all familiar names in the New Testament they were all part of the Greek sphere on the now Turkish mainland.
I did not know this when I sailed in October 2011 from the Greek Island of Samos, which at its closest point to Turkey is only separated by less than one mile…, via the Turkish mainland harbor of Gümüşlük to the island of Symi, on my way to the Turkish resort town and popular snow bird marina of Marmaris. Symi is surrounded by the Turkish mainland.
I thought to my self, after I had put the anchor down in the small bay on Symi: “These two week charter boat sailors don’t have a clue on the proper display of the courtesy flag”. They were all flying the Greek courtesy flag. But then I discovered that I had once more illegally entered Greek territory. The Greek Orthodox monastery on shore woke me up. I had been kicked out of Greece on the island of Mitilini on my way from Istanbul, because I was unable to show proof of liability insurance. See previous blogs at: http://www.cometosea.us/?m=201110&paged=2
You can get a feel of the wind and sea conditions the refugees face, reading through this period from Istanbul to Marmaris and back to Chios in October/November 2011 and then again from Chios to Leros via Samos in April 2012. In the summertime there is a steady strong northerly blowing and in the fall strong storms kept me in port for weeks. The Mediterranean threw more nasty storms at me than the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans I have crossed and in the end managed to wreck “Fleetwood” on November 16, 2013 near Ibiza.
Now, after sharing my geography and history lessons, I want to abuse you from my soap box. When the whole Charlie Hebdo story enfolded, I commented that I was relieved that our president was not in that picture of all the “who is who” of the European Community. The below picture reflects my reaction to the same, overly spontaneous, reaction to the refugee problem. Particularly by Merkel and Hollande. It sounds so good, but how do you control the flood gates and the perils of this journey?
I believe the new British approach to bring the refugees directly from the holding areas on the Syrian Turkish border, Jordan and Lebanon makes much more sense. And I hope that the Unites States will do better than the current 10,000 suggested visas.
One of my FB friends posted a FB link https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204577442212183&set=a.2243004070761.2104764.1117871446&type=1 that makes me sick and wanting to cut the land lines and sail away as far away from these shores as I can. Particularly when you read the venomous and ignorant comments. The picture shows the destruction of the Twin Towers and accuses the President of wanting to admit 10,000 potential terrorists. If anything showed us how easy it is for a foreigner to enter the United States to learn how to fly an airplane, it was 9-11, why would you bother to apply for a refugee visa? How did the couple million illegal immigrants make it into this country?
For a little more positive news: I am done with the English version of “Soloman”, I just have to do a thorough check through the 385 pages and then make the call for the volunteer editors.