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    By Don Flynn The sun has been brilliant over (most) of the UK for four whole days in a row and we are all extraordinarily happy. But if there’s an inkling of truth in the weekend’s news that emergency border control plans are being prepared against the arrival of Greek citizens, abandon hope for the balmy days of summer for years to come….. The news, circulated over the last few days, that the Home Office is preparing contingency plans to control borders in the event of Greek exit from the euro can be read as evidence of just how bad the government thinks the crisis has the potential to become. The only circumstances in which such a measure would be permissible under the terms of EU law are if a situation threatening basic public security arises. This has been permitted on limited occasions in the past, for example with the threat of public disorder instigated by travelling football hooligans, as during the European football championship in Germany in 2000, or the actions against anti-globalisation protestors intending to visit Genoa, Italy, in 2001 during the time of a G8 summit in the city. More recent attempts to limit movement rights across [...]

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    Cash-strapped Greece showed its dark side over the weekend when some 2,000 police in Athens and surroundings arrested 1,100 undocumented immigrants and held another 4,900 for questioning, according to Clandestina blog. The action is a disturbing example of how the Greek government is trying to blame immigrants for the country’s financial problems.   It is estimated that Greece has close to one million undocumented immigrants mostly from Asian countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and others. Apart from having no legal protection, one of the most worrying aspects of the clampdown by Greek police is the silence of European politicians. This is not only shameful but a clear indication that matters are going to get worse in Europe for immigrants before they improve. Adding salt to injury, the police named the operation Xenios Zeus, which was the ancient Greek god of hospitality. Two thousand police were mobilized in Athens and 2,500 on Greece’s eastern border with long-time enemy Turkey. The massive crackdown, which will continue, took place before the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and European Central Bank representatives were set to meet Greek officials concerning a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of aid next month. Writes the Los Angeles Times: ”Public Order and Citizens’ [...]

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    By Alina Tsui Illegal immigrants are tearing apart the social fabric of Greek society. They’ve been blamed for the spike in crimes and the cause of Greece’s economic woes. At least this is the narrative that’s repeated by the far-right and accepted by most Greeks.   With no end in sight of the economic crisis and punishing austerity measures, Greeks are feeling the squeeze. This week’s meeting with Germany and France to discuss the terms for the third round of bailouts will without a doubt renew class tensions between locals and immigrants. At the same time, Golden Dawn, a far-right political group notorious for its hateful and xenophobic rhetoric, has blamed illegal immigrants. Their success in winning 18 seats in June’s parliamentary elections demonstrates at least some level of their views resonating with the masses. This group creates a hostile environment complete with its swastika-like logo and ran on the platform slogan, “Greece for Greeks.” There has been some demonstrations against Golden Dawn, but the scapegoating of illegal immigrants have been somewhat accepted by the masses. Illegal immigrants make up 10% of the Greek population, and locals view this problem as a scourge. Efforts are being made to demonstrate that Greece is serious about deporting illegal immigrants [...]

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    This chilling phrase that was written on flyers in a gay clubbing district of Athens, Greece, is only the tip of the iceberg concerning the ever-growing violence and intolerance spreading throughout Europe. Writes the Trumpet.com: “Masked men on motorbikes patrol the streets of Greece’s streets, attacking immigrants and driving off. Mobs armed with improvised weapons beat them in public squares. Neo-Nazis have been elected to Greece’s parliament, with slogans like “Foreigners out!” and “The garbage should leave the country!” Would you call it far-right ideology? Fascism? Populist radical right thinking? Counterjihadist-spirited? Intolerance? Ignorance? Since some politicians have no problems about lying to your face, use the following test to peel off their masks of deceit. Do a simple test: Take their denials and turn them into affirmations. A racist will usually state, ”I’m not a racist,” and a populist radical right politician will claim that he’s not a radical.  Sensible people know that the opposite is the truth. A good column on the Independent of the U.K. by Laurie Penny states that there isn’t anything wrong to draw parallels with what is going on in Europe today and Nazism of the 1930s. Writes Penny: “Actual fascists in actual black shirts are actually marching around Athens [...]

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    The Greek Police announced that 16,836 foreign nationals were brought for questioning  during the first month that Xenios Zeus was instigated, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). A staggering 80% of those brought in for questioning were legal residents. Only 2,144 held by the police didn’t have their residence permits in order.  Xenios Zeus, which was the ancient Greek god of hospitality, is a good example of how ineffective immigration policies and economic problems can force xenophobia to poison a society. Sensible people understand that scapegoating immigrants for the country’s economic problems is a red herring. Greek politicians and civil servants, with the blessings of the public, are more interested in blaming defenseless immigrants and refugees  for Greece’s problems than themselves. Whenever a person or a group scapegoats immigrants and minorities, it is a clear sign of cowardice and opportunism. The Greek public should critically look at the country’s politicians, civil servants and financial sector and launch a “Xenios Zeus” to uproot corruption that festers in that country. ECRE writes in a statement: ”Greek authorities claim that as a result of Xenios Zeus, the influx of illegal immigration in the area of Evros has been reduced [...]

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    This documentary about refugees in Greece is a stark reminder of how Greek authorities and the European Union have turned their backs on asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The answer is not higher border fences or fear-mongering by politicians, but finding proactive solutions that take into account the needs and human rights of these people. Eighty percent of the refugees that come from war-stricken areas flee to neighboring countries like Pakistan, where there are 1.7 million refugees. In the Dadaab refugee camp alone in Kenya there are a staggering 500,000  Somali refugees. For the sake of comparison, 27 EU states have a total of 1.3 million refugees. Traveling under a truck is one way that asylum seekers use to cross borders in Europe. Says the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in a statement about the documentary, How much further: Filmed in Athens between October 2011 and February 2012, in the midst of social, political and economic turmoil, the documentary raises the voices of those who have fled Afghanistan, Somalia or Sudan hoping to find refuge in Europe. After months or even years on the road, they arrive in Greece, a country whose population is facing the full brunt [...]

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  • 01/18/13--22:54: Migrant Tales in Greek
  • Blog entries that are published on Migrant Tales get sometimes mentioned in some major publications like Time, Sveriges Radio, YLE’s Suora linja and others. One of the most recent reposts was by UNHCR in Greece, located in one of Europe’s hotbeds of xenophobia.   The work we do on this blog got mentioned  (in Finnish) on Re Vera as well. UNCHR of Greece reposted one of Migrant Tales’ posts about integration and diversity in Europe. Sensible people understand that there is little time to pat oneself on the back in Europe these days when it comes to challenging the rise of racism, xenophobia and far-right parties that loathe cultural diversity. When racists claim to want to “debate” cultural diversity issues, what they are really saying is “let’s talk about how to water down and justify outright discrimination and social exclusion of whole groups based on ethnic and cultural background.” Are certain inalienable civil rights, like equal treatment before the law, “debatable?” Look at what is happening in countries like Greece, Hungary and in other parts of Europe and the so-called “debate” taking place in such places. The rise of far-right ideology, which bases its world view on prejudice, racism and social exclusion, is [...]

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    The news from Greece is getting more distressing as Golden Dawn neo-Nazi thugs continue to terrorize sensible Greeks, immigrants and other minorities with the collusion of the police. An investigative report by The Guardian exposes how bad things are in Greece at present and why matters will get far worse. Could we see something similar happening in Finland and the Nordic rgion?   A policeman wearing a Golden Dawn t-shirt under his uniform. See original post here. Writes the Independent of London: “Actual fascists in actual black shirts are actually marching around Athens waving swastikas and burning torches, and maiming and murdering ethnic minorities, and world governments appear frighteningly relaxed about it as long as the Greek people continue to pay off the debts of the European elite.” For a person who saw military dictatorships come and go in Latin America in the 1970s like I did, the ever-worsening situation in Greece  is a cause for concern. The fact that up to 50% of the police is some districts of Greece voted for Golden Dawn, shows how volatile and dangerous the situation is in that country. Taking into account that many Greeks have lost confidence in their rulers and democracy, a blow to the credibility [...]

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    As Europe’s far right raises its head, the more violent things become. Some 30 migrant workers were injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Nea Manolada, Greece, after requesting salaries that had not been paid. Thanks to @ritorikaxalikia for the heads-up and the poster below.  Writes the BBC:  ”The Council of Europe – the main European human rights watchdog – issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece. The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that “democracy is at risk”. It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.”          

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    Workshops that debate and challenge immigration issues in economically hard-hit countries like Greece are never too many. One of these took place on Friday at the University of Peloponnese and was organized by the Scientific Association of Young Political Scientists. According to a statement: The issue of immigration has become a major national issue and […]

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    Dr. Theodoros Fouskas*  The article examines the participation and representation of immigrants in local public life in Greece. Through 27 semi-structured questionnaires, this research (Fouskas, 2013) is the first attempt to evaluate the operation and representativeness of the Migrant Integration Councils (MICs) of the municipalities of Greece. Research evidence proves that there are serious difficulties […]

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    Migrant Tales insight: Dr Theodoros Fouskas, a lecturer at the New York College, Greece, is no stranger to our blog. We’ve published two stories about his research and work. Taking into account the economic and political hardships that Greece faces and how this had impacted migrants, Migrant Tales believes it has a responsibility to show the good […]

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    Dr. Theodoros Fouskas, a lecturer at the New York College, Greece, is editor together with Dr. Vassileios Tsevrenis of a comprehensive book on immigration in Greece. As some are already aware, Greece has seen a surge in xenophobia due to the great number of refugees that enter the country from outside Europe.   Dr. Tsevrenis is

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    A YouGov survey shows that 74% of Finns are against debt relief for Greece with the same amount blaming present and past governments for the country’s financial problems, reports the English service of YLE.

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    Can you trust a party that says one thing and then does the other? If you look at the adamant stand that the the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and its leader, Timo Soini, had against any bailouts for Greece, we have now witnessed one of the biggest turncoat performances in Finnish politics ever. This link in Finnish will

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    Migrant Tales gets emails from readers who want to tell their story. This is perfect for us since it is our aim "to be a voice for those whose views and situation are understood poorly and heard faintly by the media, politicians and public."

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    My name is Zakar and I want to write about one of the refugees that lives in Finland today. Zakar isn't his real name but he's from Afghanistan. He's 17 years old.

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    As refugees and migrants die in Greece’s ‘hotspots’, military camps and in transit, the EU, the UNHCR and Greek institutions must be held to account.

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    This seven-day course “Migration in Southern Europe: Solidarity, Crisis and Beyond” will investigate the developments, challenges and the impact of the migration and refugee crisis on southern European societies and on migrant populations. It will also explore the prospects for improving the current management of issues and relevant social policies. In conjunction with the lectures

    The post (Announcement) 2017 Summer School Migration in Southern Europe: Solidarity, Crisis and Beyond appeared first on Migrant Tales.