Posted by Eirene, A Place Called Space
Shame on the new coalition government in Greece and its ‘Xenios Zeus’ operation aimed at arresting and detaining immigrants of Asian and African origin. Over a thousand illegal immigrants have been arrested and detained in the last two days. Busloads are transported to makeshift detention centres and kept there in appalling conditions.
Of the 4,900 people that were arrested on Saturday, 1,300 were detained and the rest released, presumably because they had legal papers. There are rumours that even tourists have been arrested (and subsequently released) as the initial criterion for arrests seems to be the colour of one’s skin.
Public Order and Citizen’s Protection Minister Nikos Dendias defended the campaign by claiming that: ‘Our social fabric is in danger of unraveling. The immigration problem is perhaps bigger than the financial one’.
The irony is that Xenios Zeus was the ancient god who was patron of hospitality and guests! What kind of a sick mind came up with this name for such an operation?
Cheap, clandestine labour, provided by the country’s immigrant labour partly fuelled the economic growth of the previous years. Many of the projects for the 2004 Olympic games were ready in time largely to migrant labour.
Who looks after the ageing parents that the social security system is unable to care for? Who has been boosting the country’s demographics as Greeks are leaving the country in droves escaping the economic situation? Who has been bringing new life to dying villages? All questions conveniently forgotten.
All this is happening in the context of the other big shame that occured last Wednesday in the biggest square of the city, outside the Greek Parliament, where the fascist party (I will not soil my blog by mentioning them by name) handed out free food to passers-by as long as they could prove they were Greek. Those who wanted to receive this ‘generosity’ were asked to produce their I.D. cards (a document that Greek citizens are legally bound to show only
to representatives of the state) and the details were then recorded by the members of the fascist group.
The fact that we have reached the situation where Greek people are willing to give up their rights and to lose all dignity in order to receive a bag of potatoes shows how bad, how desperate things have become – it does not bode well for the future.
The two main political parties (what is the Democratic Left doing in this coalition? Do they need to change their name?) must start realising the part they have played in creating this mess and must start taking responsibility for the chaos the country is in.
It’s a disgrace
(Sources and the first 4 photographs: Kathimerini)