Our last flight of 2020 (or going back when everyone is gone)

How important is it in journalism to revisit the same places as well as the stories that might have been already told?
December 30, 2020
Our last flight of 2020 (or going back when everyone is gone)
How important is it in journalism to revisit the same places as well as the stories that might have been already told?
December 30, 2020

Are we missing something?

On December 14th, while Greece was in the fifth week of quarantine as a result of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleague Stavros Malichudis and I were taking a flight from Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos to Lesvos island.

We were at the airport early, but there were no queues to beat. The departure hall, the shops and restaurants, the security checkpoint; everything gave the eerie impression of a ghost airport.

While we waited for our flight to take off, I tried to recall the last time I traveled –  before the pandemic hit and radically changed the course of the year we are leaving behind, and the planning we had done. The last time I got on a plane was almost a year ago, in February, when I was waiting again for a flight to Lesvos with my colleague Stavros. It was preceded by a pretty busy period of continuous travelling: Hungary, Norway, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the Balkans… and then the pandemic.

From the moment the opening of the gate was announced, it only took us a few minutes until we were in our seats with our seat belts fastened and the pilot was informing us that we’re ready for take off. Once again, we didn’t have to wait in line.

While I focus on controlling my fear of flying (breathing exercises), Stavros looked around at the passengers on board and told me that nothing resembles the flight he took to Lesvos on September 10, when he traveled to the island when the fire broke out at the Moria Reception and Identification Center, which completely destroyed the refugee camp. “That flight was like a press conference or a journalists’ reunion.”

An hour later, when the plane landed at the airport on Lesvos, I regained my self-control and started to notice everything happening around me. I observed the people, I listened to their conversations, and I assumed Stavros was right; there were no other journalists on this flight. In a way, it felt like we were going back when everyone else had already gone.


Are you a member? Login to your account to read the whole story.

Not a member? Join us and get full access to our “Notes from the field”.


Are we missing something?

Related ›

Born on January 1st

Born on January 1st

An unpublished piece from earlier this year that attempts to explain a common and noticeable phenomenon that we often encounter in our coverage of refugees.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More to read

Related

“The state is very funny”

“The state is very funny”

Dandom Howladar owns a mini market in central Athens. Since the pandemic hit, fewer customers shop at his store – and they don’t always have good intentions.

Inside a gardener’s quarantine

Inside a gardener’s quarantine

For a year and a half, Hamid Nasseri moved daily from the center of Athens to the northern suburbs and took care of the gardens at houses there. Until the coronavirus appeared, the country entered a second lock down, and he was forced to lose his job and income again.

“Mom, what are Albanians?”

“Mom, what are Albanians?”

Marios and Mirela came to Greece 24 years ago, and their children were born here. They cultivate garlic − a local product which has helped the region of Platykampos, Larissa, gain international attention. But they are still waiting for Greek citizenship.

“I didn’t know I had to tell my story somewhere”

“I didn’t know I had to tell my story somewhere”

Keita is from the Ivory Coast and has been living in Athens since 2010. As a minor, he decided to leave his family and pursue his dream to play football. But things didn’t quite work out as he expected.

“In Turkey there were 40 of us in a small, covered truck”

“In Turkey there were 40 of us in a small, covered truck”

We met Raz in the afternoon of Sunday, January 21, 2020 at the We Need Books in Kipseli, Athens. He had gone to arrange Greek lessons, which he intended to start. “I am forced to. For my papers, for the language test. So as to bring my wife here,” he told me in fluent Greek.

Thanks for reading Solomon

We choose to change the narrative by offering a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to media, in an independent and sustainable way. Wanna get updates made just for you?

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This