I cannot take my eyes off of something that so ironically sums up the human tragedy playing out in these places. It’s lying on the ground, motionless, abandoned, covered in mud. It’s a stuffed bear, like all those that are held tightly at night and played with by our children, and provide them comfort when they are upset. It was torn from the arms of its young protector and is lying amid debris in the mud of these last metres of Greek territory before reaching the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
I don’t have a single colleague who isn’t passionate about this job. This passion is what helps us to accept the constraints imposed by our role and to overcome, and sometimes even laugh about, the moments when we feel quite alone. Over the past fifteen years or so, I have had several such experiences, which I remember as if they were yesterday.
In addition to being Consul General, I also head the French Institute of Thessaloniki. The combination of these two occupations was decided in 2011, and sometimes requires me to juggle multiple roles within a single day.