Europe was herself a refugee

Vassilis Vagios


Europe, no matter how much Europeans forget it, was herself an exile and a refugee. A young Phoenician princess living in Tyre in Lebanon (not far from Syria; that is, the origin of the majority of the most recent refugees arriving to European lands). There in Tyre, Zeus came across Europe, took the shape of a bull, kidnapped her, and carried her forcefully to Crete. In the centuries after, millions and millions of people were driven by force off their ancestral lands. Sometimes from outside Europe, sometimes across Europe, sometimes to outside Europe. Sometimes the force was migration pressures of other populations, sometimes it was expansionist wars, sometimes it was the slave trade, sometimes it was religious turmoil, ideological bias, or racist persecution. Every time the refugees were new embodiments of the mythical Europe and they became the creators of the geographical, political, cultural space we know as Europe today.

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