Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘The Economist’

Prestigious bullshit: the Economist’s report on recent immigration events

Posted by clandestina on 14 June 2009

This is what “the Economist” magazine reports about the situation in Greece.  We will comment on the most infuriating of all.

Twenty years ago Greeks welcomed more than 600,000 Albanians who walked over the border to start a new life. These days Albanian families have credit cards, mortgages and residency permits.

What a welcome it was! Some people have memory, though.  People remember how in the 90s one could shoot an Albanian immigrant for stealing a water melon and get away with it.  People remember the “sweep operations” and the concentration of immigrants in football fields.  People remember all those dead on the border, frozen, shot by border police, those who starved.  They remember how themsleves passed more than once the border and they were deported.  The exploitation for so many years, those who died in the construction sites for the Athens Olympic Games.  People remember the pogrom of the September 4, 2004….*  So many things to remember.

The Economist does not suffer from amnesia.  It is the power’s strategy to divide immigrants.  Immigrants of various gears.  Scared, silent, happy with what they have (not) got.  Along with collective memory loss.  This is what they want.

source of the following article here

Fear and loathing in Athens

Once hospitable Greeks are turning against immigrants

THE ancient Greek tradition of hospitality to strangers is dying out. Twenty years ago Greeks welcomed more than 600,000 Albanians who walked over the border to start a new life. These days Albanian families have credit cards, mortgages and residency permits. Smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Romanians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Georgians and Russians also have a toehold in Greece. But a new wave of immigrants from places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia has met indifference or even outright hostility.

AFP A court can be a home for some

On May 9th far-right protesters tried to storm a former court building in Athens that is a squalid home for 600 immigrants. One resident, Moncef, a mechanic from Morocco, says: “The police stood there and did nothing.” It took a group of Greek anarchists to come to the rescue. More than a dozen policemen were injured and four protesters were arrested—but the immigrants stayed.

Their numbers keep growing. Last year more than 146,000 illegal immigrants arrived, mostly via Turkey, up from 100,000 in 2007. Most end up in Athens because the Turks no longer respect a bilateral agreement to return illegal immigrants, say Greek officials. The half-dozen reception facilities on the Greek islands are overwhelmed; desperate local officials resort to handing out free tickets for the ferry to Piraeus.

The government’s policy is to discourage immigrants from staying. In 2005 it stopped issuing temporary permits allowing immigrants to work, pay social-security contributions and, eventually, become legal residents. Those found without papers are detained for three months, then told to leave the country within four weeks. Last year 88,000 exit orders were issued; but only 18,000 people left.

Those who seek asylum also receive short shrift. In 2008 less than 1% of applicants were granted refugee status immediately, although 11% of those who appealed were successful. Thomas Hemmerberger, a Council of Europe human-rights official, has accused Greece of failing to live up to its responsibilities to protect asylum-seekers.

Thanos Kourkoulis of Greece’s Anti-Racism Movement, who runs a school where volunteers teach Greek to immigrants, says tensions are rising. “Immigrants feel more intimidated, Greeks feel more at risk,” he says. Human-rights groups and local residents oppose plans to use an old military base outside Athens as a detention centre. Yet the flow of arrivals shows no sign of slowing.

* After the albanian national football team’s victory over the greek
team in a match that took place in Albania, on September 4 2004,
hundreds of Albanian immigrants went out in the streets of many greek
cities to celebrate. They faced a pogrom by cops and fascists/
nationalists. A 21year-old Albanian worker, Gramos Palusi, was murdered
and two of his friends seriously injured in Zakinthos island by a
fascist who attacked them with a knife. In Athens at least 70 immigrants
were taken to hospital, and in the rest of the country the wounded
Albanian immigrants were more than 300.

See here about this and more about the Greek state’s shift of strategy after the olympic games.  And about the history of Aghios Panteleimonas police station.

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