On the Greek island of Lesvos, today’s refugees are usually met by descendants of refugees. More than half the population of the island is comprised of descendants of refugees.
Last week a photo of three Greek grandmothers taking care of an infant while the baby’s mother took a break went viral. It was a touching scene of humanity and compassion but the story behind the photo is more profound than the image itself. The women are from Skala Sykaminia, a tiny seaside village with a population of 150 on the northern coast of the island where thousands of refugees are arriving daily.
Every single resident of this village is a descendant of the Greeks who fled Turkey in the 1920s, who arrived there on boats and rafts, including the three Greek grandmothers who are themselves, children of refugees who arrived on Lesvos in the 1920s after the genocide and massacre of native Greek populations in Asia Minor.
Greece’s Mega TV caught up with the grandmothers whose image went viral. They shared the story of the drenching wet Syrian mom who was carrying her infant and trying to feed him. They offered to help the mother after hearing the crying child and seeing her trying to remove her wet clothes.
The grandmothers are sensitive to the crying mothers.
“The mothers cry, and we cry with them,” said Efstratia Mavrapidou, one of the grandmothers.
All three women know the plight of the refugee. They told the reporter that their mothers were refugees and they remember their stories.