News / Europe

    Greek Grandmother, Fisherman Among Nobel Peace Nominees

    Emilia Kamvisi, an 85-year-old grandmother, is seen in her home in the Greek island of Lesbos after she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Emilia Kamvisi, an 85-year-old grandmother, is seen in her home in the Greek island of Lesbos after she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Reuters

    "What did I do? I didn't do anything," asked Emilia Kamvisi, an 85-year-old grandmother from the Greek island of Lesbos, when she heard she'd been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Kamvisi's flash of fame came after she and two friends aged 89 and 85 were photographed bottle-feeding a Syrian baby last autumn, as they helped migrants who had survived the treacherous boat journey from Turkey.

    Four months later, she is among three people nominated for the Nobel prize to symbolically represent the "behavior and attitude of Greece, organizations and volunteers towards the huge refugee crisis".

    Fisherman Stratis Valiamos, who has rescued scores of migrants from drowning, and Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon, who spent Christmas helping migrants in Greece, were also nominated by Greek academics and the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

    Nominations

    Thousands of people, including all lawmakers, can make nominations, which must be postmarked no later than Feb. 1. The $1.2 million award will be announced in October.

    The Norwegian Nobel Institute does not publish names of nominees, but Nobel watchers have said former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden and peace negotiators in Colombia have also been nominated.

    Last year, Greece was the main gateway into Europe for more than a million people fleeing war, persecution and poverty in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    FILE - Greek fisherman Stratis Valiamos takes a break at the port of a fishing village in the Greek island of Lesbos, Oct. 21, 2015.
    FILE - Greek fisherman Stratis Valiamos takes a break at the port of a fishing village in the Greek island of Lesbos, Oct. 21, 2015.

    On the island of Lesbos, new menus and signs are in Arabic and cafes are full of migrants charging mobile phones. Bright orange life jackets cover parts of the shoreline.

    Kamvisi, herself the daughter of migrants, said the scenes reminded her of life under Nazi occupation.

    "We saw people crying in the boats, people leaving their homes, people sleeping in the streets," she told Reuters.

    Struggling with migrants

    Greece, stretched to its limits after years of economic depression, has struggled to cope with the migrants. Locals and volunteers like Kamvisi and 40-year-old fisherman Stratis Valiamos fill the void.

    "People say 'you're a hero,' but this isn't heroism, it's the normal thing to do" said Valiamos.

    "When you're fishing and a boat is sinking next to you and they're screaming for help, you can't pretend to not hear them, he said.

    In October, a shipwreck where more than 240 people were rescued took place among "a sea of dead bodies," he said. To make the journey, the migrants must be leaving even more horror behind, he said.

    "No one wants to leave their home, to take a suitcase and five babies and walk for five months and get on a plastic boat," he said.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora