Monday March 30, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o 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)  
Releasing migrants from detention centers not enough, says UN rights watchdog
Tsipras needs rupture with far-left, not Brussels
The Greek brand name
Responsibility lies with the PM
Major effort under way after floods in Serres
Local authorities, residents and members of the armed forces in Serres, northern Greece, worked together on Monday in an effort to limit the damage caused by the Strymonas River, which broke...
Golden Dawns No 2 released, as protests over trial linger
Just weeks before the leadership and around 70 members of Golden Dawn are to go on trial, the neo-Nazi partys second-in-command, Christos Pappas, was released from jail on Sunday as the 18-...
Inside News
Hoteliers hire firm to monitor illegal tourism accommodation
Greek tourism bodies are forming a strong front including a dedicated inspection unit against the phenomenon of illegal tourism accommodation. The latter constitutes a major source of ta...
Construction crumbles by 80 percent in just five years
Construction in Greece has suffered one of the biggest declines to have been recorded by any professional sector within just a few years, as business activity in the domain has dropped as mu...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Cyprus soccer eyes reunion after 60-year divorce
Turkish Cypriot soccer officials on Monday vowed to press ahead with attempts to reunite with the Cyprus Football Association, (CFA), triggering a political storm on the ethnically-split isl...
SOCCER
Three Greek internationals injured in Budapest car crash
Three Greek international soccer players were slightly injured on Monday in a car crash as they travelled by taxi to Budapest airport following Greece's Euro 2016 qualifying goalless draw ag...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Cyprus soccer eyes reunion after 60-year divorce
2. Hoteliers hire firm to monitor illegal tourism accommodation
3. Construction crumbles by 80 percent in just five years
4. Cosco plans for ship repair unit at Salamina
5. Major effort under way after floods in Serres
6. Golden Dawns No 2 released, as protests over trial linger
more news
Today
This Week
1. ECB nerves fray on Greece as supervisors rile central bankers
2. Greek markets show all at risk should mistake trigger a default
3. Talks in Brussels continue but Greece and lenders 'not there yet'
4. Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal
5. European stock-index futures rise as investors look to Greece
6. Work on tram extension begins in Piraeus
Today
This Week
1. Next Monday is D-Day for state funds
2. Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
3. PM faces Merkel amid race to detail reforms
4. Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
5. Some more equal than others
6. Greece to present reforms by Monday, says gov't spokesman [Update]
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.