The concept of hospitality is widely covered in the Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Nausicaa scolds the handmaids running away from Ulysses and she gives them some courage saying “This man, a miserable wand’rer comes, whom we are bound to cherish, for the poor and stranger are from Jove, and trivial gifts to such are welcome. (Om. Od. VI)”. On the other hand, everyone remembers the not-very-warm hospitality of Polyphemus.
Throughout history, the word hostis, originally meaning “a stranger enjoying the same rights of a roman citizen”, changed its meaning into “enemy”, (from which the word “hostile” derives). This phenomenon created a semantic gap, fortunately fill by the word hospes, meaning host.
Some centuries passed by, but humankind did not go through significant changes: there are still groups and individuals deciding to welcome people coming from foreign countries, while others still don’t. In Salonicco, North of Greece, a newly established non-profit organization welcomes people coming from all around Africa and other countries as hosts. The organization’s name is Philoxenia, and it’s goal is to provide a warm meal to migrants stopping by Salonicco on their long and difficult way to North European countries.
They might not be hosts, but for sure they are not enemies. They are people looking for something and in need for help. Men leaving their families and jobs behind looking for a brighter future, looking for eu-topos (an happiness kingdom). Due to barriers and lack of consideration of migrations as a phenomenon inherent to human life, these men are seeing their dream of eu-topos turned in ou-topos (a non existent place, a place they can only dream of).