COMMENT

The government must spur a return to moderation

YIANNIS SOULIOTIS

TAGS: Migration, Politics

, even though this could soon be reversed. Among the positive takeaways is that the government has not been a passive observer of developments and did not wait for the initiative to be taken by Europe, NATO, the US, Germany or some other power as was the case in the past. The government made swift decisions and implemented a plan to deal with the situation. The results of its actions will be assessed in due course. It appealed to Europe and the US only after it had drafted its own strategy.

In the field of operations, its “interdisciplinary” approach appears to be paying off. The cooperation between the Hellenic Police and Armed Forces in the Evros border region has received plaudits from everyone involved. The same is true in the eastern Aegean, which is being patrolled by vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Navy and Army.

Interestingly an information mechanism has been put in place which apart from addressing a domestic audience is also aimed at tackling Turkish propaganda. News and videos circulating on Twitter with negative content about Greece are being identified and an attempt is being made to respond to them.

“If you are absent from social networks, then you leave room for the enemy,” Peter Lerner, an Israeli expert on dealing with crisis situations on social networks, said in an interview.

From then on things get complicated.

Within a night, Greece suspended the implementation of regulations such as allowing refugees to lodge asylum claims. Talk of returns, which until recently was a taboo, is now heard in public, and at sea the rules of engagement balance precariously between dynamic deterrence and tragedy.

However, the most unfortunate and dangerous implication of this much-needed shift in attitude – due to the current situation – toward the management of the migrant/refugee phenomenon is that it has left room for extreme, fascist behavior and perceptions.

The beating of journalists on Lesvos and Evros, the burning of NGO facilities on Chios, the armed militia groups at the land border with Turkey, the verbal attacks on migrants who attempted to sail to Mytilene port – all this is not a reflection of a “tough attitude,” but simply vulgar.

There is an urgent need for the government to restore moderation in public discourse.

Online