Residents of the Greek island of Lesbos who helped migrants get safely to shore throughout the crisis of 2015 have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but say they were merely doing what they had to do. Mana Rabiee reports.
Stratis Valamios normally takes his boat out to fish, off Lesbos. But for much of last year, it was people he was plucking from these waters. The fisherman is among a small number of islanders nominated for the Nobel peace prize, for coming to the rescue of migrants caught in the Mediterranean when Lesbos was the epicenter of Europe's migration crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FISHERMAN AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE, STRATIS VALAMIOS, SAYING: "It was like a war zone here last year, a proper war, you had the wounded, the dead. Do you know how many people died? How many babies we brought out here on the concrete, on the tables, and died in our arms?" The nomination was made as a symbolic gesture to all the Greek people, who volunteered to aid migrants fleeing war and conflict. But 86-year-old nominee EMILIA KAMVISI, says she was compelled to help. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE, EMILIA KAMVISI, AGED 86, SAYING: "It will be a vindication both for myself and the village. It will be nice. In this old age I will die with a clear conscious." Still, Valamios says the peace prize will not affect the root cause of the migrant crisis that washed up on their shores, especially in places like Syria. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FISHERMAN AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE, STRATIS VALAMIOS, SAYING: "On Friday, when they give the Nobel, bombs will still fall there and people will still get killed. So I think it makes no difference." But it does validate the islanders instinctive response to the crisis. "I did the right thing," says one nominee. "I did what I had to do".