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Greek island of Lesvos nominated for Nobel Peace Prize


02-18-2016 15:02 BJT

The Greek island of Lesvos has been in the spotlight since August because of the thousands of migrants and refugees who have reached its shore. The islanders have been nominated for this year’s prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and are represented by two Lesvos locals, an 85-year-old grandmother and a fisherman. 

This small fishing village, Skala Sykaminias, may have gained worldwide fame for becoming the main landing spot for thousands of migrants and refugees last summer. Yet, for decades, locals have been helping refugees when they arrive. Fishermen here have dozens of stories to tell about rescues at sea. Stratis Valiamos represents all of these men as a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The recent refugee crisis created an even stronger sense of community here, especially among friends.

Despite the fame that comes with a Nobel Prize nomination, Stratis remains modest and rarely gives interviews. Though he’s rescued hundreds, he doesn’t feel special, he says, because he only did what anyone else would do when someone needs help.

A few meters away, another restaurant owner remembers the boats full of people landing on the beach outside his restaurant 10 years ago. Then the numbers declined. Last summer, it became overwhelming, by the thousands at the peak.

Looking across the sea, towards Turkey, Paris remembers the Greco-Turkish War of the 1920s and gives another reason why locals have embraced the refugees.

And one thing all locals hope is that their stories will help the rest of the world understand as well. 

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