An online campaign run by the grassroots Avaaz platform for residents of the Greek islands of the Eastern Aegean to be nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for their contribution in the refugee crisis has passed the halfway mark to reaching its target of 500,000 signatures.
“The native populations of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea (and many other external, worldwide, non-profit organizations and diaspora Greeks) have done and are doing anything possible to help the displaced Syrian refugees and make them as comfortable as possible, although they themselves have very little to offer, despite being subjected to a severe economic crisis for many years,” Avaaz says in its campaign announcement. “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 campaign has so far collected more than 320,000 signatures, while The Guardian reported on the weekend that eminent academics from the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell and Copenhagen are also drafting a submission in favor of awarding the world’s most prestigious prize to the people of Lesvos, Kos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes and Leros.
The Greek islands received the majority of some 1 million refugees who crossed into European borders from Turkey last year and remain under pressure from thousands of daily arrivals.