OPINION

Shelved

“These children also had mothers who mourned,» an old man says. He is talking about the three Albanian youths who were murdered in northern Greece about 10 years ago. The victims were «illegal immigrants.» They did jobs which no longer suit our European air. They had no papers, hence they were expendable and effaceable. If your existence is not confirmed by identity cards, passports and stamps, no one will look for you. An idle civil servant will add your name to the missing persons list and your case will be shelved – along with the tears and the pleas of an anxious mother who will have traveled from Albania, Bulgaria or Moldova. Even if this turns out to be another gang of hit men, even if it is not proved that those suspected of having assassinated the three Albanians are involved in the disappearance of foreign women, the Thessaloniki killings remind us of the «other» Greece which we are, in vain, trying to repress, overlook or ignore. The picture looks bright, but black blood, a lot of it, flows underneath. Along with lies and hypocrisy. This is the real life. Before we dehumanize the situation enough to explain away the murder of two people, we must first be convinced that since the victims were Albanian, then that somehow makes it more tolerable than otherwise. We must also be convinced that some people in our social environment will remain silent – out of fear or neglect – while others will recover their memory and sensitivity with a 10-year delay. I am not claiming that the killings were driven by racist motives. However, it is obvious that the «inferior» race of the victims facilitated their «disappearance,» allowing society and police to shelve their case. Even if they too had mothers who mourned.