clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Arab immigrants’

A call by Athens Elementary School teachers in support of colleagues prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

Posted by clandestina on 18 January 2010

SEE PREVIOUS POST: Teachers prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

A call by the teachers of the 132nd Athens Elementary School
At a time when achieving harmonious conviviality between the children of Greeks and immigrants poses a serious challenge for the Greek society, and has been commanded by the Greek state, Stella Protonotariou, former director of the 132nd Elementary School Athens will face on January 22, 2010 trial at the criminal court of Athens  on charges that she conceded premises of the school for the teaching of the mother tongue to pupils who speak that other languages.  Along with her will be faced with charges the teacher that taught  to schoolchildren their native language.   Mr Gioutlakis, the present director of the 132nd Primary School will be the witness for the prosecution.

We, the teachers of the school, who decided together with the former director the educational interventions implemented in the 132nd Elementary School, we invite all of you and all who fight every day for a better education, to attend the trial court at that day, to confirm with our presence not only that  Stella Protonotariou has our full support, but also our willingness to fight for a fairer world and a school that includes  all our pupils on equal terms.

It is worth noting that on the basis of a second report filed by the same witness, a preliminary examination by the police has been conducted on Stella Protonotariou for alleged misconduct, because along with the teaching of the Albanian mother tongue she also ran along with us Greek lessons to immigrant parents.

Teachers who work or have worked at the 132nd Athens Elementary School

Signatures.

Read the rest of this entry »

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From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait 

Posted by clandestina on 20 December 2009

Text in Greek available here.

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day

From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait

Just over a month and half ago Prime Minister Papandreou used the Global Forum on Immigration & Development proceedings in Athens to sketch government measures which would stand for a humanitarian turn compared to the policies and situation of the recent months .  He described as necessary

“[T]o stimulate the participation of immigrants in the political life of the country, through the possibility of Greek citizenship acquisition, particularly of course for the so-called ‘second generation’, in which we are suggesting the acquisition of citizenship by birth for the new person born in our territory.”

For people in Greece, though, the announcement of the Secretary for Home Affairs Theodora Tzakri two weeks later, which made clear that Greek citizenship would be granted only to children born to legal immigrants, came as no surprise.

The doctrine of “Zero tolerance to illegal migration” goes hand in hand with this government’s humanitarian turn… As for what this turn is all about, it aims at incorporating immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation, and in exchange for votes. A phony exchange indeed.

Along with this, the dividing of immigrants into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ becomes more intense, and the system of exploitation grows deeper roots .

As we wrote in our above linked text on the Global Forum on Immigration & Development:

“The aim of developmental policy is to control migration flows (through the FRONTEX patrols and detention centres) as well as to regulate them (through 5-year rotating work permits, the annulment of asylum rights), in order to keep a stable proportion of productive inhabitants within the increasingly ageing, unproductive populations of Europe. In other words, recycling the migrants will keep the indexes of development in check, development being the systematic and bloodthirsty pillage of lives and resources, time and space.

According to the “UN Population Division report on replacement migration”, if the Europeans want to keep their ratio of older people to active workers at the 1995 levels, the Union will need 135 million immigrants by 2025.

This demographic issue is only part of the story, and maybe not the most important. Neoliberalization inside Europe has meant a weakened, destabilized labor force. It’s not just that capital wants selected migrants because it needs more workers, it wants migrants because they are powerless, unorganized, low-paid workers for whom there will be no job security, no health care and no pensions.In other words, they are far cheaper and less troublesome workers”.

Illegal immigrants are necessary because through them the rights of the legal ones are suppressed (there is of course rotation of people in these roles). At the same time, illegal immigration helps governments maintain a useful xenophobic atmosphere to impose authoritarian policies. “Migration management” includes both authoritarian hysteria and humanitarian logistics. The two seemingly opposite positions are the two sides of the same coin of subjugation.

So let’s outline against this backdrop the government’s humanitarian turn after the elections of October 2009…

The Doctrine “Insulated Greece”

The new doctrine was introduced by Minister of Citizen Protection (= Public Order) M. Chrisochoïdis on Tuesday, December 15, at his meeting with the FRONTEX Executive Director J.Laitinen.   The construction of the Southeast Mediterranean FRONTEX Headquarters at the U.S. base of Aktion or at Piraeus has been a permanent request of the Greek government, which proudly stated that 75% of illegal entry arrests at the sea borders of EU for this year took place in the Aegean sea.

A few days earlier in the frame of FRONTEX operations (on Saturday, December 12) officers in Samos island, on no notice whatsoever and violently, carried out with utmost secrecy the transfer of over 85 Afghan refugees from the local detention center to the island’s airport at Pythagorio.  There the refugees were boarded on an airplane which departed for an unknown destination.

The slaughter in the Aegean Sea continues

In less than two months, 16 migrants have died in the icy waters of the Aegean. Most of them were children.

  • On Tuesday, October 27, 8 immigrants, three adults and five children, drowned in the east part of the Aegean Sea.
  • On Saturday, November 7, the lifeless bodies of six children from Palestine, aged 2 to 12 years, washed up on shore near Bodrum (Alikarnasos), Turkey.  The boat in which 19 Palestinians – half of them children – squeezed themselves on an effort to pass from the Turkish town of Turgutreis to Kos island overturned 500 meters from the shore.
  • On Friday, December 11, a boat carrying undocumented migrants sank near the island of Leros. Fishermen found 25 migrants perched on a rocky island and two more lifeless bodies in the sea.

Police violence

Incidents of abuse and humiliation by the police amount to dozens, and most of them never reach the public attention. We report the following characteristic cases:

Para-state violence

The para-state mechanism was launched last summer against immigrants and since then it has been working relentlessly despite the supposed change of policy.

Para-state organized violence encourages and feeds the diffuse social one.

  • Thus, on November 8, four immigrants who had been working at olive fields in Messolongi, Western Greece, were attacked with crowbars and clubs and beaten savagely by circa 15 people. The immigrants were transferred to the emergency dept. of the Messolongi hospital. The immigrants had been asking their wages from the owner of the fields in which they had been working.  They were ambushed and beaten in an old warehouse, where they had an appointment with their employer to get their money.

Institutional violence

  • In late November the trial of 25 immigrants (mainly Arabs and one Afghan) took place; they had been arrested during the events of December 2008 and had been detained ever since.  All this period they were considered missing.  All of them were sentenced to imprisonment from 7 months to 3 years.  It is characteristic for the fairness of the trial that only one interpreter had been assigned , who translated simultaneously for 24 defendants who were divided in three groups in the court’s room.  The Afghan who did not understand Arabic was seated on the last bench of the room…
  • On Friday, December 11, in Thessaloniki, a report was issued by the Hellenic League for Human Rights, about the detention centers in Evros and Rodopi.  The survey took place from the 25th to the 29th of November 2009 and states:

In many cases there is inadequate lighting, ventilation and heating (…)  At virtually none of the premises visited have the possibility to go outdoors on some yard. Even in detention centers where there is an adequate yard, the large number of detainees on the one hand and the lack of personnel on the other allows usually only for some prisoners to have outdoor breaks for a minimum period and not on a daily basis (…)  Food in many cases is inadequate, the quantity and quality in general varies (..). The care taken for sanitation and hygiene conditions varies from inexistent to inadequate (…) The availability of medical and nursing staff is poor and at all cases occasional (…) The detainees were in total confusion regarding their rights, the time of their detention and ill-informed as to asylum procedures; interpreters were not available.

December 18, 2009

Clandestina Network

Group of Immigrants and Refugees, Thessaloniki

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Fascist bomb in Salonica, racist pogrom in Athens

Posted by clandestina on 26 November 2009

source of article and updates this libcom.org article

Fascist bomb in Salonica, racist pogrom in Athens

Last Monday the fascist parastate made a double attack in Greece with the bombing of an antiauthoritatian centre in Salonica, and the pogrom against the arab community of Neos Cosmos in southeast Athens.

The fascist para-state has waged a double attack in the two major Greek cities, Athens and Salonica, on the night of Monday 23 November with police providing impunity to the perpetrators and the bourgeois media systematically under and misreporting the events.

In the case of Athens, a mob of fascist thugs attacked the arab community of Neos Cosmos, a southeastern neighbourghood of the metropolis, in the area of the proletarian blocks next to Syngrou avenue after 21:00. The fascists shouted racists slogans while beating the arabs on the street and smashing their shops, looting the tills and destroying their merchandise. The arab community was quick to mobilise a counterattack, chasing the fascists and forcing them to seek refuge in a block. At that moment strong riot police forces arrived which attacked the arabs, and let most of the fascists to escape. The cops then moved to detain 6 arabs and two fascists who claimed to be accidentally in the area playing basketball, and thus set free. Besides, the greek police in an attempt to cover the traces of its para-state accomplishes published a communique that claimed the clashes were between rival arab gangs. For many hours this story monopolised the news, and had to be revised in gross embarrassment after the intervention of left-wing parties and anti-racist organisations. The Radical Left Coalition has accused the police of being “provocatively inert” allowing the fascists to escape. Three arabs are reported to be in hospital wounded. The attack comes as a climax of racist bigotry on the side of the extreme-right, which seems to be losing its ability to control the area of Agios Panteleimonas where with the support of the police it had created a white-only zone through stabbing and beating people of color.

In the case of Salonica, the attack against the antiauthoritarian centre BuenoVentura came in the early hours of the morning, causing only material damage to the premises. Although initially the media reported the story as an anarchist attack against a cafe, once it became obvious it was a fascist bomb attack against an antiauthoritarian centre all reference to it stopped. The centre is located in a central spot of the city and is an active venue of social action and counter-information. What follows is the communique of the centre:

Regarding the ignition of an explosive device at the free social space “Buena Ventura” (Thessaloniki)

At the dawn of November 24, at 03:55 am, the free social space Buena Ventura (which hosts the assembly of the group Solidarity – Antiauthoritarian Movement) came under attack with a strong explosive device.

The way in which the device was placed reveals much about the morality of the perpetrators, a morality of murderers – since they did not just attack Buena Ventura, but the entire neighbourhood. In short, the windows of neighbouring blocks of flats were smashed by the explosion in a radius of 15 meters, while shattered pieces were whammed all around, posing an imminent danger to the lives of neighbours. Shattered pieces also hit three cars, which also highlights the murderous nature of the attack since any random passer-by could have been hit by them too.

The attack comprises the tip of the iceberg – part of the framework of repression and of the blooming of para-statist action over the decades. It begins with the activity of the para-statist group “Karfitsa” in the 1960s and comes all the way to the placing of the explosive device at Buena Ventura.

It becomes painstakingly obvious that free social spaces are being targeted – as approximately six months ago the haunt of the “Struggle Movement” (Sfentona) was also attacked. The method of the attack and the construction of the mechanism reveals that the perpetrators are the same, naturally raising the question of who will be next and – what scale of attack they will come under.

Such attacks comprise expressions of a fascist-type logic that aims at the terrorising of people in struggle; a logic that finds refuge and legitimacy on a practical level in the coordinated attack launched by authority against everything last year’s December has given birth to.

This witch haunt, the zero-tolerance schemes, the demonization of the anti-authoritarian movement both from mass media and from the state (from the mouth of the “Citizen Protector”, Minister Chrisochoidis), offers the strongest alibi for the activity of such circles, within and in parallel to the action of the state.

In our face, the entire movement was attacked, since we consider the choosing of our particular group for the attack entirely random. In our place it could have been anyone who has chosen the paths of struggle and resistance.

It could have been any free social space, haunt or squat. Through us, they attacked all those parts of society that revolted in December, since the symbolism of the date cannot be overlooked: the attack came only days after the mass mobilisations of November 17th and ten days before December 6th, marking a year from the assassination of Alexis Grigoropoulos.

Our response cannot be other than the one given by society itself during last year’s revolt: The state and its dogs won’t scare us.

Open Assembly: 24/11, 7pm at Buena Ventura

Solidarity – Antiauthoritarian Movement

UPDATES

Nov 25 2009

Update: Today after a press conference by the Buenaventura centre, the bourgeois media made a u-turn, portraying for the first time the attack as “ultra-right paramilitary”. Forensics demonstrated that the explosive device was a pipe-bomb filled with metal shrapnel which would have caused certain death to any passer-by. The media claim that the explosion was felt all around the centre of the city and that the police in making investigations amongst extreme-right groups.

2nd Update: As a response to the fascist violence against the arab community of Neos Cosmos in Athens, a protest march took the the streets around the scene of Monday’s pogrom. It must be noted that one victim of the racist violence remains in hospital due to a stab in his eye with a knife.

 

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Teachers prosecuted for providing immigrant pupils with lessons of their parents’ language

Posted by clandestina on 15 June 2009

The ex – head – teacher and a teacher of albanian language of the 132nd primary school of Athens will be brought to court tomorrow for providing the immigrant pupils with the opportunity to learn Albanian – their parents’ and at cases firts language language – in the afternoon, when the shcool is not officially operating.   At this school immigrant children had the opportunity to learn Arabic and Albanian, while in the afternoon their parents were offered lessons of Greek. At the same school “an experiment took place of replacing the Morning Prayer by a poem written by Yiannis Ritsos”.

source: Network of Social Support to Immigrants and Refugees article at Athens Indymedia. Read there about calls to action, tomorrow at Athens Courts (at the second building of Evelpidon courts).

Read below about this case’s past (source: http://www.greeksrethink.com/2009/05/our-father-in-heaven-replaced-by-a-poem-in-greek-schools/).

We requested a review from Stella Protonotariou, Headteacher to November 2007 of the 132 Athens Elementary School where an experiment took place of replacing the Morning Prayer by a poem written by Yiannis Ritsos.

“Many pupils of other non Orthodox faiths attend today’s Greek modern schools which are now multicultural.

According to the presidential Decree 200/98 the pupils who enter the school prior to the Morning Prayer are obliged to attend the assembly area with their Year Group even if they do not pray, respecting their peers who are praying.

Often this is not adhered to as the children when in school at the time of the prayer they want to be part of the team and participate in the first collective activity of the school day.

The children do not wish to feel excluded, odd looking and talked about.

Many a time Muslim pupils took to the microphone and recited “Our Father in Heaven…”

“Why should I not say myself a prayer? Am I not like all the other children? “asked once a pupil of Year 3 and at another time a pupil of Year 5, a Catholic girl, told her teacher that she felt that the other pupils stared at her strangely and made comments on the way she does the sign of the cross.

Parents of children of the non orthodox faith have often requested for their children to participate in the Morning Prayer but without making the sign of the cross.

They themselves were aware that their children were participating anyway.

If discussions were taking place at home the children would react strongly.

Some of the parents opposed as they felt that we as teachers had no respect for their religious beliefs.

It is therefore necessary to find a way such as not to deprive our children from participating in the morning prayer and of course in any other school activity.

I consider their exclusion from the prayer to be an error as well as a violation of their right and is in conflict with the Convention Rights of children a subject taught in school and an official part of the Curriculum.

132nd School after a lot of thought and discussion replaced ” Our Father in Haven….” With the following poem-prayer ”The Morning Star” by Yiannis Ritsos:

“Oh Dear God, we are wellMake, oh Dear god, that the children have a Creek of milk, Plenty of Stars, Plenty of SongsMake oh Dear God all to be well”

The lyrics have been chosen as not to be in conflict with the “original elements of orthodoxy” as required by law , do not offend any other faith, they are simple to understand and make allowances for the other faiths children to pray.

However the local parish objected.

When the Headmistress of the specific school asked them for a common solution, they refused to discuss.

Cont ..: Mrs Protonotariou failed the selection process and her replacement reinstated the “Our Father in Heaven..”.

In the uproar that followed(E has always taken an interest with several reports of “IOU” Mr A Lykourentzos Deputy Minister of Education intervened stating along other comments in NET that he is in the position that he is in, in order  to protect ” The Laws of the country” and the ” Greek tradition”.

The Defending Council for Children requested further explanation but they received no reply.

This is what 3 of our commentators in the experiment of 132nd School say:

H Frangopoulos: “The free mixing of different religious beliefs and the comparison of those leads to one distancing himself from Any Religion.

Especially when we are talking about Yiannis Ritsos who was a Marxist and he had no Belief in any religion.”

A Kariotoglou: “It was wonderful to see what they did and bravo to those who took the initiative”.

K Bey: “It was so good….as for the result of this experiment, it can only happen in Greece where there is darkness and intolerance”.

On the light of the position of Mr. Kariotoglou we asked him to pass on the relevant questions to Archbishop Ieronymos. However we received no response.

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Interviews and Testimonies, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Police and Neo-Nazi scum collaborate once more in Athens…

Posted by clandestina on 10 May 2009

 

athens indymedia photos

athens indymedia photos

… once more, against immigrants, refugees and anti-racists.  

Neo-nazis and junta-nostalgic ultra-nationalist scum were to do a demo in Athens down-town yesterday, bargaining on the cultivated by mass media sentiment of economic insecurity, to promote their anti-immigration absurdities. The gathering spot for this demo was at Omonoia square and about 100 braindeads were there. The gist of the days’ events is that the Police has an excellent cooperation with the para-statal neo-Nazis (of Golden Dawn) and uses them to help keep up the anti-migrant terror. 

At the same time, in surrounding streets and squares, antiracist organizations of all shades called for counter-demos. Most of the anarchists gathered at Kaniggos square but they were attacked by riot police and repulsed towards Exarcheia and the Polytechnic. There were conflicts and barricades for some time there. From Kotzia square migrant, student and leftist associations moved towards Stadiou avenue to prevent the neo-nazis from taking it to this central avenue. At the same time, other antiracist organizations of the left gathered in front of the Court of Appeals building .

The neo-nazis when obstructed from doing the demo started beating randomly immigrants with iron bars in Menandrou street. The police all the time looked but not intervened. Their collaboration got even tighter when the neo-nazis moved towards their headquarters, which is located near the Court of Appeals building at Socratous Street. Under the protection of the riot police, from their hq’s roof and then from the street, the neo-nazis attacked the building where immigrants find refuge with stones and flash and sound grenades. The neo-nazis were all wearing helmets, this at a time when in Greece the state attempts to illegalise hoods in protests.  They tried to invade the building but the immigrants defended it with stones. Four protestors and many immigrants were injured.  A girl was  arrested.  

All these, in the background of tragicomic but intense efforts by the Ministry of Public order to promote and further solidify Security State regulations across various spheres of the Greek society – for instance, it wants to plant 1.100 new surveillance cameras in Athens.

See photos and videos of the collaboration between police and neo-nazis here.  One more video is available here - if you dont understand Greek skip the first half.

info from

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