The black holes of Lesbos: life and death at Moria camp

Border violence, asylum, and racisms at the edge of postcolonial Europe


  • Edgar Córdova Morales CIESAS

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EU–Turkey deal, black hole, asylum, racisms, deportability, anti-black policing


The EU-Turkey Deal of 2016 led to the enactment of a restrictive and specific asylum process for the Greek island of Lesbos, making the former Moria camp a detention center for thousands of migrants who failed to access international protection. Based on ethnographic evidence, I analyze and propose that the asylum process in Lesbos—a postcolonial border space under EU interference and control—derives from the colonial system of white supremacy. Based on historical and re-actualized racializations of migrant populations from different countries of the global south, the aim of the Greek asylum process has been to subject migrant populations in Moria to various processes of control, detention, illegalization and ultimately exposure to premature socio-physical death as in black holes: historical spaces of anti-black racism and humanitarian abandonment in the most hidden layers of Moria.






Grassroots responses to mass migration in Europe