Tribute to Solidarity
Tribute to Solidarity (2022) is a short film directed, shot and produced by Brush & Bow contributor Julie Bourdin.
Based on interviews taken in 2019 in Lesvos, Greece, the film is an ode to the small village of Skala Sikamineas on the Northern coast of the island.
Since the 1990s, asylum-seekers have been crossing the short but treacherous stretch of sea separating Lesvos from the shores of Turkey. Skala Sikamineas was on the frontline of the humanitarian crisis that enfolded in 2015, when over a million people passed through the Aegean islands to seek refuge in Europe.
The some 150 villagers leapt into action, saving lives and supporting the people as they arrived on the island, setting a shining example of what solidarity can be.
A Crisis of Solidarity
Today, on Lesvos and all over Europe, solidarity is rejected and criminalised. Asylum seekers trying to reach the Lesvian shores are brutally pushed back into Turkish waters by the police and coast guard. People who make it to the Aegean islands hide in the forests in fear of being abducted. NGOs estimate almost 16,000 people were illegally turned back from Greek waters in 2021. Anyone trying to help people – by looking for them, giving them water or medical help, supporting their asylum claims – is severely punished.
In early 2022, just as Europe rightfully opens its doors to millions of Ukrainian refugees, these double standards and the crisis of humanity towards non-white refugees is as clear as ever.
This film wants to pay homage to a place where irrepressible beauty cohabits with tragedy. Where borders have transformed the turquoise sea and peaceful beaches first into a cemetery, and now into a lawless zone. The story of Skala Sikamineas should remind us of our common humanity and ideals: that the initial reaction is, and always should be, to help a stranger in need.