“He told me, he would never enter a boat again. Especially not one of these crappy, overcrowded, instable rubber rafts, in which he had to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Yet he did. To join Sea-Watch, protesting to stop the dying, facilitate safe passage and end the war on refugees in the Med.”
These are the words of the photographer and activist Chris Grodotzki. He refers to Eyeyou, the young man from East Africa in the picture, right in the middle of the crowd.
A group of friends, Chris among them, is hosting Eyeyou in their own place in Berlin. They gave Eyeyou shelter, the best room of the apartment and are assisting formalising his regular stay in Germany, throughout the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process.
Eyeyou travelled to Germany through the African desert, where he lost his two friends and journey mates. They died of hunger and thirst. He survived drinking his own urine.
When Eyeyou reached Libya he was imprisoned. He spent three months in a room as big as the one he has for himself now, with another 100 people, eating and sleeping on the floor.
He was released upon the payment of further money on top of the thousands he had to spend for that insane journey towards Europe. He then crossed the Mediterranean Sea on board of a rubber boat, which looked very much alike the one used for the demonstration, as Eyeyou reported. After having been rescued, he travelled across Italy and reached Central Europe and where he finally met his German friends.
Eyeyou is one of hundreds of thousands. Yet even one is enough. No one should go through so much pain to have a chance. Eyeyou’s smile carries the intensity of all the smiles taken away by the Sea, under the eyes of Europe, every day, for the last few years.