The social fabric must be getting pretty frayed in Greece, judging by the police making a big show of gathering up hundreds of illegal aliens. It’s hard to judge from afar, of course, but there are signs that the normal society has been shredded by the financial crisis, and order has come unglued as a result. An early casualty has been the Greeks’ appreciation of diversity.
One indicator: Afghan “refugees” parked in Greece say they wish they’d stayed home. Getting beat up in the street will do that.
Afghan Refugees: Life in Greece Worse than Taliban, By Dale Hurd, CBN, July 31, 2012
ATHENS, Greece — While the Greeks struggle with life amidst a collapsed economy, life for another group in Greece has become dangerous and unbearable: refugees.
Afghan refugees, huddled in their flat in central Athens, told CBN News that coming to Greece was the biggest mistake they ever made.
They called their life in Greece “a nightmare,” and claimed they hide in their home as much as possible to avoid being beaten up in the street.
Worse than Afghanistan
If they could, the Afghans said, they would go back to Afghanistan tomorrow.
It appears the only thing worse than being in Greece during the economic crisis is being an immigrant or refugee. The economic collapse has turned many Greeks against outsiders, especially from non-Western nations. [. . .]
When the government doesn’t provide order and protect public safety, vigilante groups arise to fill the void. Two examples from American history are the Vigilance Committees of San Francisco and the Minutemen who kept watch on the Arizona border.
A June 9 report from the BBC (Journey across crisis-hit Greece) included remarks from a man whose cousin was murdered by Afghans.
“We can’t have so many immigrants – we don’t even have jobs ourselves,” he says. “The migrants are in a way the victims of this whole story. But I would blame the government that doesn’t do anything to protect Greeks from the hordes who come here. We’re very scared of them – people say they would take the law into their own hands.”
Would he take the law into his own hands?
“If the state can’t protect me, someone has to. Myself and my family,” he says.
If the government isn’t holding up its end of the social contract by providing public safety, then concerned citizens will look to themselves.
The New York Times‘ report on the Greek crackdown (As Greece Rounds Up Migrants, Official Says ‘Invasion’ Imperils National Stability, 8/7) contained an interesting quote from a government official:
The minister [of public order], Nikos Dendias, defended the mass detentions, saying that a failure to curb a relentless flow of immigrants into Greece would lead the country, which is surviving on foreign loans, to collapse. “Our social fabric is at risk of unraveling,” Mr. Dendias told a private television channel, Skai. “The immigration problem is perhaps even greater than the financial one.”
Funny how the Times can report on excess illegal immigration (“Invasion”!) causing a social breakdown overseas while the paper continues to preach to virtues of mega-diverse immigration at home.
At any rate, the minister’s statement shows the leaders know the social dynamite on their plate and are taking action. Citizens need to believe that their government is willing to protect them.
Greece: 6,000 detained during raids on immigrants, Associated Press, August 6, 2012
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Authorities in Greece are rounding up thousands of suspected illegal immigrants in a large-scale deportation drive to combat what a government official compared to a prehistoric invasion.
Greece has long been Europe’s main entry point for illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the West. But Greece’s severe economic problems and high unemployment are making the problem worse than ever.
Police said Monday that 6,000 people were detained over the weekend in Athens in a massive operation incongruously named after the ancient Greek god of hospitality, Zeus Xenios.
Officers across the city were seen stopping mostly African and Asian people in the street for identification checks. Most were only briefly detained, but about 1,600 were arrested for illegally entering Greece and sent to holding centers pending deportation.
Left-wing opposition parties criticized the crackdown, while the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees voiced concern that migrants from war-torn countries and genuine asylum-seekers could be denied the right of protection.
Some 100,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to slip into Greece every year, mostly from neighboring Turkey, and up to a million are believed to live in Greece, which has an official population of about 10 million.
The uncontrolled influx, which coincided with a recent spike in crime, contributed to the sharp rise of an extreme-right political party which uses aggressive rhetoric against immigrants.
Once beyond the pale of Greek politics, the extreme right Golden Dawn gained nearly 7 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections six weeks ago. Mainstream parties also pledged to curtail immigrant flows.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said Monday the rounding-up of illegal immigrants would continue, arguing that their unchecked entry has brought Greece “to the brink of collapse.”
“The country is being lost,” he told private Skai TV. “What is happening now is (Greece’s) greatest invasion ever. Since the Dorian invasion some 3,000 years ago, the country has never received such a flow of immigration.”
Ancient tradition linked the invasion of Greek-speaking Dorian tribes with the end of the heroic Mycenaean age, although historians believe that the Mycenaean palatial civilization was brought down by financial and social unrest.
Dendias said arrested immigrants will be temporarily held at police academy buildings in northern Greece, which are closed for the summer, and at a detention center outside Athens. He claimed that by the end of the year Greece will be able to detain up to 10,000 people.
“Whoever is arrested will be held and then deported,” he said.
The Greek office of the U.N. High Commission for refugees said that while Greece has the right to carry out checks on immigrants, it should ensure that vulnerable groups do not suffer. “People who truly need protection must be able to request it,” said Petros Mastakas, associate protection officer at the UNHCR office in Athens.
“It is very difficult, practically impossible, for asylum seekers to apply for protected status, and we are concerned that among those arrested there may be people who want protection but were unable to submit their requests because access to the relevant authorities is practically impossible,” he said.