Greek Fishing Village cc Rennett Stowe

Greek Islanders who have sacrificed their livelihoods and risked their lives to rescue refugees on the Aegean Sea have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Even though they live a world away, the people on the peaceful islands of Lesbos, Kos, Chíos, Samos, Rhodes and Leros have been on the front lines of the Syrian crisis–because most of the 900,000 refugees fleeing to Europe have landed first on one of those six islands.


Greek fishermen frequently set aside their work to rush to the rescue of distressed refugees whose rickety boats take on water or sink outright. Other civilians who simply happen to be nearby, often join Greek Coast Guardsmen to get refugees safely to shore.

Beyond the rescues, islanders have taken in thousands of refugees, some opening their own homes to shelter them.

In a nomination letter to the Nobel committee, a group of academics from the US, UK, and Denmark praised the islanders for the “empathy and self-sacrifice” that has saved thousands of lives.

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The Greek foreign minister has thrown his support behind the idea and an online petition has gathered more than 300,000 signatures backing the nomination.

“On remote Greek islands, grandmothers have sung terrified little babies to sleep, while teachers, pensioners and students have spent months offering food, shelter, clothing and comfort to refugees who have risked their lives to flee war and terror,” the petition reads.

(READ more at The Guardian) – Photo: Rennett Stowe, CC

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