Tuesday September 2, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
23o 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)  
EUs three big problems all linked
A great president
Dont feed the zombies
Keeping an eye on international developments
Education minister calls for probe into predecessors reform plan
Following reports that a plan to reform the tertiary education sector launched in the spring of 2013 failed to lead to millions of euros in savings, Education Minister Andreas Loverdos on Mo...
Anti-racism bill goes back to Parliament
An anti-racism bill, foreseeing stiffer penalties for individuals and political parties that engage in racism or incite racist violence, is to be debated in Parliament on Tuesday following m...
Inside News
Tourism targets rise ever higher
The latest data have allowed the Hellenic Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE) to raise its target for tourism arrivals and revenues this year higher still. During a meeting with main o...
Horse race betting hurdle removed for OPAP
The new tender for the concession of the right to organize and operate wagering on horse races in Greece for the next 20 years will include a number of changes in its terms, despite assuranc...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Greek hoopsters go top of their group in World Cup
Greece has qualified to the second round of the FIBA World Cup after going top of its group of six through a third win in as many group games in Spain. On Monday it beat Puerto Rico 90-79 in...
SOCCER
Fulham striker Mitroglou set to re-join Olympiakos
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus are set to re-sign Kostas Mitroglou on loan from English second tier club Fulham after the striker arrived in Athens for talks on Sunday. An Olympiakos spo...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Greek hoopsters go top of their group in World Cup
2. Tourism targets rise ever higher
3. Horse race betting hurdle removed for OPAP
4. Revised GDP data confirm that Greek growth is near
5. Measures to reduce unemployment
6. Peachy export data despite Russian embargo
more news
Today
This Week
1. Excavation work at Amphipolis reveals section of marble mosaic floor
2. A great president
3. Erdogan visits Turkish-occupied Cyprus
4. Greek economy shrinks at slowest pace since late 2008
5. Dont feed the zombies
6. Greek officials meet to fine tune strategy for Paris talks with troika
Today
This Week
1. The battle against progress
2. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
3. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
4. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
5. Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
6. Hardouvelis, ECB executive discuss bank program, stress tests
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.