OPINION

Repatriation will solve the immigration problem in Greece

Thank you, Stavros Lygeros, for an excellent commentary, «Hold the judgment,» on November 12. On a recent 10-day stay in Athens, I caught a No 3 trolley from Syntagma to go to visit my cousin near Koliatsou Square, in Ano Patissia. With the exception of the trolley driver, I was the only Greek on board. All I saw were Nigerians getting on and off with handbags and CDs, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Ethiopians and other Arabs. I doubt anyone was paying nor did I ever see any conductors checking tickets, no wonder the state keeps losing money. When I asked my cousin, «Where are the Greeks?» his response was, «There’s no state, Greece’s borders are porous.» As simplistic as this sounds, he was right and that was the general response from most people I spoke to. What saddens me is the inability of both major political parties to deal with this issue. I cannot believe that illegal immigrants are allowed to roam so freely and yet we talk of having a standing army of 100,000 that is not being properly utilized for border protection. Greece has hundreds of uninhabited islands to set up proper processing or detention centers away from main population centers. I agree with you that if there was a survey on the issue of illegal immigration, most Greeks would say we don’t want them. If Greece needs immigrants, there are plenty of Greeks still left in the former Soviet republics who could fill the void. Islam is incompatible with Western culture and values. The only solution is to have paid repatriation schemes much like what France did with the Romanian and Bulgarian Roma by offering them $1,300 to go back home. The EU could fund this, as 90 percent of all illegal’s come from Turkey. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is another culprit, he has been sending illegal immigrants over the border since his election in 2002 to build an argument for a mosque in Athens and got a commitment from Prime Minister Papandreou in October. Will there be a consultation process with the Greek people on this matter? After all Mr Purple Tie talks about transparency and democratic values and citizens first. But is he listening to the citizens on this issue? GEORGE SALAMOURAS Melbourne, Australia