The balkan route has officially been declared closed by the governments of the Euopean Union. There are but a few things to mention.
1. The Balkan route is not something anyone can close easily. It is not even a single route. It is a network of routes that are centered around one or more main routes. It consists of open road, hidden foot paths through mountain and forests, train and bus lines, networks of illegal traffickers, intersected by borders of a dozen states; it changes over time, its main routes in 2013 very different than in 2015, due to political hindrances. The Balkan route, in that sense, has been closed many times. It changed and emerged anew. It will do so this time, too, undoubtetly.
2. That is because there is need for it. People are desperate to cross the Balkans into Central Europe. That is simply what it means to be a refugee. The Balkan route is officially closed, that means more or less one thing: the movement of refugees is forced back from the open roads into the forests, the mountain paths, the clandestine network of traffickers, the unpredictable sea. It means crossing into Europe is more dangerous, more expensive and brings much more suffering with it, and much more deaths. And it would be an illusion to think there would be less refugees all of a sudden since the EU-Turkey agreement. Turkey may well be one of the most prominent places where people flee from, with its own replica of the Syrian war already raging in its lands.
3. All this makes one thing imperative. Concerted action by a solidarity movement, by humanitarian and political activists is needed to relieve the immense suffering; to stop the local goverments and the greater powers from treating the refugees as mere objects; to help the refugees assert themselves as human beings, as agents of their own destiny. What a solidarity movement from the West must provide to be of assistance, that will be one of the main topics of this blog.