The volunteers on the Greek islands who welcome refugees, who save them – when they actually manage to save them – are mostly everyday civilians of these islands. All of them find themselves in the dreadful position of experiencing a situation which becomes even more tragic, non-manageable, intolerable, bordering on the impossible, with every passing day. They are using social media, thus transmitting practical information regarding the donations we can send them. They are expressing their rage against the inertness of Europe. They are uploading photos as well as narrating stories of their everyday lives with refugees. Stories of temporary meetings, exchanges, conversations, games with children. Stories told to them by refugees and other stories that they are trying to guess beyond what they see and hear. These stories are close to the limits of fiction that attempts to encircle the real they are facing. The subjects they write on are children and love stories. Children are playing, laughing, crying, painting, exorcizing nightmares through their paintings, remembering friends and toys they left behind. With just a game, a touch, they laugh again.
The volunteers are transferring this smile to us, and it supports them in their difficult daily effort to repel the cruel images of the drowned children whose bodies they have seen washed ashore by the sea. They are trying to believe in that which is possible – a child who was saved, who plays and laughs again – trying to repel the sense of helplessness that overwhelms them, faced with the limits of the possible.
And on the other hand, there are stories of couples. – The couple in the photo, which inside the mass of unknown refugees, separates and sheds light on the photo, managing to find a small, substantial private space to be kissed in.
– The man who has just landed safely on the coast and is taking care of his pregnant wife; he speaks sweet words in her ear in order to calm her down and he has forgotten that he is still carrying a heavy backpack weighing over fifty kilos on his shoulder.
– The woman at the port of the island who spends some of her precious savings to give her husband a fishing rod. They are going to stay for days, waiting to be registered by the port authorities in order receive the longed-for documents allowing them to depart for Europe. In Syria, in happier times, his hobby was fishing. She is trying to make him forget, to console him. During the bombings, they lost their child.
– The love letter which was found on the coast and which testifies to the fact that something “doesn’t stop being written”, (Sem XX p. 144 ), that something can write the necessity of a relationship that prevails over the inevitability of death. Volunteers, like those who read their stories, have experienced separations and relationships that ended, couples that did not work out, that did not endure the floating point of suspension from contingency to necessity (Sem XX, p 145). They are trying to support their difficult task in that belief, that somewhere, there exist a kind of love that is able to beat the “exile from the sexual relationship” (Sem XX 145) that is able to beat the traumatic of the exile of refuge.
Translated from greek by Mihalis Manoussakis.
Lacan Jacques, The Seminar XX, Encore, On Feminine Sexuality (1972-73)
p. 144, 145. London: Norton (1998).