Migration and Struggle in Greece

Our share of these days!

Posted by clandestina on 19 December 2008

The murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos triggered an unprecedented revolt and unrest within Greek society; an overflow of anger that doesn’t seem to wane. In the frontline of this unrest one finds school pupils, whose passionate and spontaneous struggle has subverted all certainties of the past period. The power regime in Greece has been unable to understand their struggle along the lines of its usual methods for suppressing political action, let alone control it. Pupils have been making history – leaving to others the “duties” of writing this history in order to integrate it in existing ideologies. The streets, the initiative, the passion is theirs.

In the frame of the general mobilization, whose steam engine certainly are pupils’ demonstrations, the mass participation of second generation migrants and many refugees has been impressive. Refugees participate in the struggle individually, with no particular organization, with the spontaneity and the momentum characteristic of their mobilizations. For the moment, they are the most militant constituent of foreign population in Greece. After all, they haven’t got much to lose.

Immigrants’ children are massively and dynamically involved in the movement, primarily through pupils’ and students’ actions or through left and extreme left organizations. They are the most active and the most courageous part of the migrant population. They do not want to be and they are not like their parents, who came in Greece with their head’s down, and were treated like beggars. They are part of the Greek society, since they know of no other society. They do not beg but demand to be equal with their Greek peers: equal in struggle in the streets, equal in the dreaming of future.

For us, organized migrants, this is our November 2005 French uprising. We never had the illusion that when the anger of people overflowed we would be in position to channel it. Despite our struggles all these years, we never managed to achieve mass and manifest reactions of this kind. Now the streets do the talking. The scream that now tears up the air is the scream of 18 years of violence, oppression, exploitation, and humiliation. This is our part of these days of revolt!

These days are for the hundrends migrants and refugees murdered at the Greek border, in police stations, at workplaces; the ones killed by cops and the deep-state sanctioned fascists; the ones killed by inhuman working conditions; the ones killed for trespassing the border, for not bending the head at some stop-and-search; the ones killed for nothing.

They are for Gramos Palusi, Luan Bertelina, Edison Yahai, Tony Onuoha, Abdurahim Edriz, Modaser Mohamed Ashtraf and so many others that we haven’t forgotten. They are for the humiliations we suffer at the borders and the fortress Europe camps, the unfair trials, our brothers and sisters imprisoned.

Even now, during these days of revolt, migrants pay a heavy price, being fiercely targeted by cops and the extreme right, facing deportation and prison. These days are for the exploitation which we have suffered for 18 years now. For the struggles we fought against it. For the people that died for at the Olympic games construction sites. For the undocumented labour, our sweat and the sweat of our parents, for the documents we will be always lacking.

These days are for the price we pay for being alive, for the price we pay for breathing alive, for existing.For all the insults we had to swallow, the defeats we were held responsible for, the fear that didn’t let us strike back, although we had all the reasons of the world to do it. For all those times we felt alone and paralyzed, since our anger had no exchange value in votes or prime time news.

These days are for all those merginalised, excluded, the people bearing names difficult to pronounce and carrying stories difficult to bear. For all those dying everyday at Evros, the Aegean sea, at all borders in the wilderness of mountains, seas and city crowds.


Στέκι Αλβανών Μεταναστών – Albanian Migrants’ Haunt



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