The Vinton Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce that International Peacemaker Efi Latsoudi from Greece will be speaking at the church on September 25th at 6:30 pm. She will share with the audience the issues concerning the plight of refugees that Greece is experiencing, a pertinent subject for our country as well.


Efi Latsoudi is co-founder of Lesvos Solidarity ( , a grassroots organization on the Greek island of Lesvos that believes in an open society and the eradication of racism, fascism and discrimination. The organization does advocacy work and provides a number of programs and services related to housing and education and the employment, medical and psychosocial needs of refugees.


Her organization works with the most vulnerable refugees. Somehave serious medical conditions and have experienced torture and violence. There also are pregnant women, newborns, large families with children, and people who've been shipwrecked and lost loved ones.


Additional Background Information

Greece is experiencing one of its worst wildfire seasons in recorded history. At least 18 people have died in the fires in a mountainous region near the border with Turkey. That is also where migrants enter Greece, often illegally. These facts have exposed an ugly current in Greek society.

Officials say that lightning is probably what started the first fire in the Alexandroupolis area nearly two weeks ago, and that flames spread throughout the region because of dry and windy conditions.

But locals are blaming migrants for setting the fires, people who'vecrossed into Greece from the Turkish border seeking asylum. In private messaging apps and on social media, local far-right militias have been coordinating patrols, sharing locations of supposed migrant sightings and calling on people to hunt them, beat them, and even murder them.

A viral video spread on the internet from the leader of the ultranationalist political party Greek Solution, one of several far-right parties Greeks voted into their parliament in national elections in June. Police investigated the video's claims and found 13 Syrians and Pakistanis being held captive. Then, based on the uncorroborated testimony of the three men arrested for holding them, officials charged the migrants with arson.

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