Athens, January 26, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Olga Mavrou
The refugee crisis in Europe has led many politicians to propose laws or reforms that would sound like a joke if people were not drowning every day in their effort to reach a wealthy but xenophobic Europe. When Greeks hear those silly proposals get some kind of relief – “so it’s not only the Greek politicians who say stupid things!”
“An unbelievable minister proposed setting up a camp for 300,000 refugees in Athens!”, said a shocked Alternate Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas. “And it was proposed to also make changes to the law and act like criminals, pushing the refugees back into the sea and essentially letting them drown!”.
Another proposal was to let Greece shoulder the burden, but somehow equalize it with its debt – which is not as silly as it sounds by the way, since Greeks have already become a trap for refugees that can not move forward and they deal with their debt and their demonstrations and social unrest while taking care of the refugees almost for free. (If Greece is “sinking” with this heavy refugee load why not make it an official bargain with the panicked northern and central Europeans a part of the debt?).
Others claim that “it’s a myth that sea frontiers cannot be guarded”, and that Greeks purposely rescue refugees because they know all of them are heading for other countries. Of course Greeks purposely rescue refugees and migrants, otherwise they would purposely kill them by letting them drown. The motive is humanitarian and also legal. What do they mean when they say Greeks do not guard their frontiers? Are refugee boats enemy ships that should be dealt with bombs and guns? And do not Greeks have anything better to do with their (borrowed) money but to spend them in rescue operations? Is it some kind of hobby, of recreational activity for them? What about the 1,000,000 refugees that are not considered “eligible” for Europe and are stuck in Greece? (Pakistanis, Moroccans, Africans etc). Do Greeks enjoy having them sleeping in the parks and in the streets and joining illegal activities? (Because a migrant, legal or not, has to find a way to survive, and if there are no jobs, then illicit activities is the only way for them to put food on the table). So are Greeks some kind of perverts that enjoy the social unrest of migrants as if they did not “enjoy” enough unrest with the memorandum “reforms”? Or are Greeks participating in a dark conspiracy against poor Europeans that are not left alone in their peace of mind?
Frontex officials, speaking not exactly as friends of the Greeks, but “apologising” for not stopping the refugee influx themselves, as if they had superpowers, told everybody that sea borders are not exactly fields in which one can just build a fence. According to the international law and basic humanitarian ethics, once a boat is inside greek waters, then Frontex can but rescue the passengers – the Greek or Frontex boats can not “push” back the boats and let them sink and indirectly let the refugees drown. Boats with refugees do not even try to escape Frontex, but usually head towards them to be rescued and often voluntarily sink their boats in order to oblige Greek and Frontex patrol boats to rescue them. Only boats with traffickers try to avoid Fontex and greek patrol boats.
Greeks have been living with legal or not so legal immigrants for the last 20 years. There were more than 3,000,000 of them, before the bankruptcy. And Greece is a nation of just 11 million people. Yet Greeks do not panic easily amd make an art out of tragedies. Perhaps some wealthy europeans might try and learn something from a not wealthy nation that still does not “push” refugees back to death or confiscate their valuables.