“Can you really ignore what’s in front of your eyes? Because tomorrow it could be me. I could be on a boat with my family and I would like to be helped,” says fisherman Stratis Valamios in “Ode to Lesvos,” a new documentary film from Johnnie Walker Storyline.
At this time last year, Stratis’ life changed beyond recognition as he spent months on end rescuing men, women and children from the waters around his home.
His village in Greece, with a population of around 150, became the front line of the refugee crisis as hundreds of thousands of people came ashore, fleeing war and seeking a better future.
The positive response of the people of Lesvos who, last year alone, helped almost half a million refugees making the dangerous voyage across the Aegean Sea, has been documented in “Ode to Lesvos.”
The film was created by Scotch whisky maker Johnnie Walker as part of its Storyline initiative, which gives a voice to real-life stories from around the world.
“Ode to Lesvos” is a documentary short that tells the stories of the islanders whose uncompromising compassion has earned some of them, including Stratis, fellow fisherman Thanassis Marmarinos, and 85-year-old Aimilia Kamvisi a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
As part of the launch of “Ode to Lesvos,” Johnnie Walker is supporting Mercy Corps, a leading global organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster.
Since the Syrian war began, Mercy Corps has helped more than 7.7 million people affected by the crisis, and expanded its programming to Greece and The Balkans in response to the migration crisis.