(Lesvos, Greece) – Islanders living on the island of Lesvos, Greece were nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize as a symbolic gesture designed to represent all Greeks for the role they played in helping with the refugee crisis. A small number of people on the island of Lesvos were selected because of the work they did rescuing refugees who were crammed tightly in dinghies that were sinking into the sea. Many of these volunteers plucked refugees out of the water and onto their fishing boats. They saved countless numbers of lives back in 2015 when the refugees first started coming to Greece to escape their war torn countries. Back then, body smugglers were commanding a price of $1500 per person and cramming them into ill-suited boats. Many of these boats sunk under the weight.
Stratis Valaminos, one of the co-nominees, is quoted saying, “I wish this Nobel nomination wouldn’t exist for me or anyone else.” When asked to clarify what he meant by that, he said, “Wouldn’t it be better if all this didn’t happen at all?” Volunteers like Valaminos put their daily lives on hold in order to assist with the rescue efforts. Valaminos, a fisherman, used his boat to travel the waters and lift any bodies that he saw out of the water. Some were alive, some weren’t. He did say that as he travels through the waters in his boat, he is still subconsciously looking for bodies.
The Lesvos islanders were considered one of the favorites for winning the overall prize. However, the winners were announced for the Peace Prize today and they were not the final winner. The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, won the award for the work he did to end a bloody conflict that spanned over fifty year. Santos organized a peace deal between the Columbian government and a known rebel group.