“Amori. The Islands.” – Book presentation by Johanna Lier

Monday, September 6th, 19.00-20.00, ASZ, Top Floor

Reading and Discussion with video statements of the protagonists of the book Abtin S., Junus B., Deniz C., Karim Q., Lizzy O., Filomela P. Moderation: Lorenz Naegeli.

«If I don’t get asylum in Europe, there is no other country in this world that will accept me. But the European authorities threaten me with deportation, although they would kill me  in Kabul. That’s crazy and i don’t understand.» (Abtin S. 24 years old)

AMORI. DIE INSELN, published in May 2021 by Verlag die Brotsuppe in Biel, is a literary-documentary report about the everyday life and struggles in the Registration- and Reception Center Moria on the Greek island of Lesvos. The basic question asks about survival under conditions of constant denial of basic needs by the authorities.

The author Johanna Lier, who is an activist with Watch-the-Med Alarm-Phone, spent several months in Greece in 2018 and 2019. Rather by chance, she came to the Moria camp. A violent experience that did not allow the author to leave it behind so easily. As a result, based on James Baldwins essay «everybodys Protest Novel», she startet to research and to write.

Nine men and women from the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, refugees and activists, tell the author (or her fictional alter ego Henny L.) what it takes to survive there. It is about hunger, cold, heat, war, violence and the radical loss of control over one’s own life.

They are escaping war, dictatorship, hunger and the effects of the climate catastrophe; some are in search of a better life; they come from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan countries. What they all have in common is that they cross the Aegean Sea in unseaworthy rubber boats and are held in camps on the Greek islands until it is decided whether they can apply for asylum in Europe – or whether they will be deported to Turkey. That can take years.

AMORI. DIE INSELN is not a chronicle of the Skandale, but a documentary report that uses literary means to get as close as possible to the people involved. Centuries-old European practice is documented: the selection and the camp.

The protagonists set their own ideas of personal fulfillment and freedom against it.