Wednesday April 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
23o C
15o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Enemies of the people

Hassan Mekki, an immigrant from Sudan, shows scars on his back in Athens in a file photo from 2012. Mekki, who fled conflict in his country in hopes of a better life in Europe, said he was attacked by a group of men holding Greek flags and left with the deep wounds on his back, throat and neck in August 2012.

By Harry van Versendaal

A recent opinion piece I wrote for ekathimerini.com ["A tale of two parties," January 31] that sought to underline the importance of upholding the right of all people – whether documented or undocumented – to live and pray without fear of violent persecution or death produced a torrent of blind hate.

The overwhelming majority of readers’ comments supported the view that Pakistani immigrants “do not mix” with Greek society and should be deported. One reader said he is “tired and sick of them” because they are “polluting our country and our culture.” The “hypocrite” author of this “one-sided leftist pablum” was obviously not spared the vitriol either.

Interestingly, none of the readers who commented appeared annoyed or offended by the statements of Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris, who was quoted in the piece suggesting, among other things, that immigrants eat the capital's stray dogs.

Many, on the other hand, were quick to bring up the case of the 23-year-old Pakistani who was this week sentenced to life in prison for raping and assaulting a teenage girl on the island of Paros in 2012. Their thinking seemed to be that this was an example of why Pakistanis are supposedly not fit to live in Greece. But to equate the brutal and condemnable assailant of one girl with an entire nation of 180 million people is the kind of irrational thinking that lies behind attacks on migrants in Greece, such as Shahzad Luqman, the 27-year Pakistani who was stabbed while cycling to work last year, allegedly just because of the color of his skin.

Being hated, let alone killed, because of who you are and not because of what you have done, is the very essence of racism. And racial ideology has been at the core of every Nazi-inspired movement. However, it is hard to see why mixing with a Muslim immigrant is a greater challenge than mixing with an intolerant, militant bigot.

Statements by senior government officials like Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias, who on Thursday lamented the “tragic” quality of migrants that come to Greece, indicate that Greek society is nowhere near having a well-informed, non-partisan national debate on immigration and integration.

Given this state of affairs, it is useful for us to keep in mind that Greeks were themselves subjected to despicable racism when they migrated to the USA and Australia last century. And it was only a couple of years ago that British Prime Minister David Cameron said that his country was prepared to close its borders to Greek immigrants in the event that Greece was forced to leave the eurozone.

Condemning the attacks against poor immigrants in the center of Athens does not preclude us from being critical of Islam. Perhaps it is unwise to deny the tension between the religious code of Muslim immigrants and the secular ideals of liberal democracies like Greece. But nothing goes more against our revered western standards than denying individuals who practice a different religion their basic human rights.
 

ekathimerini.com , Friday Jan 31, 2014 (20:30)  
Realitys other side
Enough barbarity
Unanswered questions
Avoiding extremes
FBI seeks to identify victims of suspected US child molester who worked abroad, including Greece
U.S. authorities have asked the public to help identify as many as 90 possible victims of a suspected child predator who worked at American and other international schools in at least nine c...
Tunnel boring for Thessaloniki metro to resume after two years of inactivity
The two tunnel boring machines that are being used to construct the Thessaloniki metro are to start work again after almost two years, it was revealed on Tuesday. The borers have dug 73 perc...
Inside News
Corfu property market puts up resistance to pressures
A survey by Savills has revealed increased interest in Corfus property market. The report by the international estate agents on areas in high demand by holiday home buyers has identified th...
Major tourism promotion at travel fair in Latin America
Greece is the country of honor at the World Travel Market Latin America, the regions biggest travel fair that opens on Wednesday in Sao Paulo, Brazils most populous city. It will last unti...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Reds and Greens stay alive in Euroleague
Easter and home advantage worked wonders for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos who stayed alive in the Euroleague play-offs beating CSKA and Real Madrid respectively on Monday in Greece. Shak...
BASKETBALL
Greens lose badly as CSKA Moscow
Panathinaikos has a mountain to climb in order to reach the Final Four of the Euroleague after losing at CSKA Moscow on Friday for a second time in two days, only this time it was comprehens...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. FBI seeks to identify victims of suspected US child molester who worked abroad, including Greece
2. Corfu property market puts up resistance to pressures
3. Major tourism promotion at travel fair in Latin America
4. Eurostat to confirm the size of 2013 primary surplus
5. Hundreds of thousands of social dividend applications
6. National bond issue already covered
more news
Today
This Week
1. FBI seeks to identify victims of suspected US child molester who worked abroad, including Greece
2. Three more arrests made on Santorini over Easter injuries [Update]
3. PM Samaras sees Greek bond yields falling more
4. Athens airport worker dies after being hit by shuttle bus
5. Vodafone sued for 1.4 billion euros by former Greek distributor
6. Warning issued over Evros River overflow
Today
This Week
1. Greece's market return mirrors return of tourists
2. Greece startup leaders say they cant break jobless cycle alone
3. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
4. Mayoral candidates clash over Athens mosque plans
5. Government looks to kick on
6. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.