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May 23 2011

Greece: A Lukewarm Reaction to Attacks on Immigrants

Greek blogger To Vytio (The Jerrycan) writes an elegiac post [el] on his return to Athens from a weekend trip, finding the city gripped in violence, fear, apathy and scary rhetoric. “Our mortal leap was the reaction to what happened in Athens against the immigrants. Lukewarm, blasé. With [right-wing extremists], journalists, politicians, coffee shop patrons and bus passengers gleefully, secretly - or even, not so secretly - contemplating mass extinction”

May 13 2011

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02mydafsoup-01

Fascist pogroms in Athens, one migrant stabbed to death, 17 hospitalized | clandestinenglish.wordpress.com 2011-05-13

In the early hours of May 12th a 21-year old Bangladeshi migrant was stabbed to death in the Kato Patisia district of Athens. The victim was lethally stabbed almost certainly by fascist thugs who have launched a series of attacks in the centre of Athens following the murder of a Greek man on Tuesday night, on the corner of Ipirou and Tritis Septemvriou Street. Eye witnesses report that the murderers of the 21-year old man chased him around the neighbourhood and spoke Greek. On Wednesday night alone fascist thugs roamed  through a number of districts of central Athens, injuring many migrants, 17 of them were hospitalised.

Video from the pogrom

Greece: Wave of racist attacks on immigrants in Athens

In the past days, right-wing extremists in Athens, Greece have launched pogrom-like attacks on immigrants in the downtown Athens area. It began on May 10, 2011, one day after a 44-year old escorting his pregnant wife to the hospital was mugged and stabbed to death. There is no evidence as to the identity of the killers, but racist gangs have gone on something like vengeance spree on immigrants -or even foreign-looking Greeks- who they hold generally responsible for rising crime and unemployment in Greece.

A protest against the killing of the expectant father on May 10, in the same location where the mugging happened, drew a crowd of hundreds that eventually led to the attacks.

A man injured in racist attack after protest in Athens, 12 May 2011 - Photo by Epoca Libera, copyright Demotix

Dozens of people have been injured in the past days, and there has also been one death, which is still being investigated for motive. There has been a marked increase in incidents of violence against immigrants and asylum-seekers in Greece in recent years, but this degree of openly racist violence in the streets is unprecedented.

Twitter has erupted with reactions from citizens.

Media reports

Media professional @doleross provided live news coverage of the attacks on immigrants following the protest around 18:00 on May 10.

@doleross: Σε “κυνηγητό” κατά μεταναστώνστην 3η Σεπτεμβρίου έχουν επιδοθεί οι συγκεντρωμένοι για την δολοφονία του 44χρονου.Εμφανίστηκαν τα ΜΑΤ #rbnews

@doleross: Demonstrators against killing of 44-year old are on immigrant “manhunt” on September III Street. Riot police appeared.

@doleross: MEGA τώρα: Ακροδεξιοί στην 3η Σεπετεμβρ. δέρνουν και κυνηγούν μέχρι μέσα στα σπίτια τους αλλοδαπούς. Η αστυνομία δεν επεμβαίνει. #rbnews

@doleross: MEGA TV now: Right wing extremists on September III Street, beating and chasing immigrants, even into their homes. Police not intervening.

@doleross: Πληροφορίες αναφέρουν ότι ομάδες “τιμωρών” έχουν βγει κ σε άλλες περιοχές της Αθήνας κ άλλων δήμων, “αναζητώντας” αλλοδαπούς.#rbnews

@doleross: Reports that “vigilante” squads are scouring areas of Athens and other municipalities, “seeking” immigrants.

Greek expats summarized the distressing news. Film producer Yanni Koutsomytis tweeted in English:

@YanniKouts: Racial violence erupts in downtown Athens following killing of a 44-yr Greek man. Ultra-right groups indiscriminately attack immigrants now

Greek new media theorist Nikos Smyrnaios observed in French:

@smykos: Grèce, une société au bord de l'implosion: un homme assassiné sauvagement à Athènes => des extrémistes racistes pourchassent des immigrés.

@smykos: Greece, a society about to implode: a man savagely assassinated in Athens => racist extremists chase immigrants.

Eyewitness reports

"This is Greece" - Twitpic photo by Nektarios Sylligardakis

Eyewitness reports of attacks on immigrants between 19:00 and 21:00 were sparse, but dramatic:

Share photos on twitter with twitpic

@nsyll: Κυνηγούν ποιον είναι λίγο μελαψός http://twitpic.com/4vypvc

@nsyll: They're chasing everyone a bit dark http://twitpic.com/4vypvc

@potmos: Σπάνε 1-2 καταστήματα “ξένων” τώρα Αχαρνών

@potmos:They're smashing 1-2 shops of “foreigners” now, in Acharnon Street

@bezesteni: Καμμια 50ρια φασίστες και περίεργοι μεσήλικες Ηπείρου και Γ´ Σεπτεμβρίου. Αρκετοί νεαροί με μαυροκόκκινα στην Αχαρνών και τα γύρω στενά.

@bezesteni: About 50 fascists and middle-aged onlookers, Ipirou and September III Street. Several youths wearing red and black in Acharnon Street and adjacent alleys

@zairacat: damage control: μαθαίνω ότι υπάρχουν πολλοί μετανάστες χτυπημένοι στα εφημερεύοντα νοσοκομεία.

@zairacat: damage control: have been told many beaten immigrants admitted to hospitals on call.

The wave of racist attacks in Athens continued the following days, with one killing of an immigrant man possibly linked to racial motives [el], arson attacks [el] and a second anti-migrant pogrom following a protest [el].

Reactions on Twitter

Sharply divided, the Greek twittersphere reacted to the news of he lethal mugging and the racist violence that followed with a mixture of outrage, apprehension and resignation.

The media were also blamed by many for inflaming racial hatred.

@doleross: Λάδι στην φωτιά ρίχνουν ανεύθυνα δημοσιεύματα από “ενηνερωτικά” πορταλς με τίτλους όπως: «Φόβοι για νέα “Δεκεμβριανά”» #rbnews

@doleross: Irresponsible articles by “news” portals fanning the flames, with titles like “Fears of new ‘December riots'”

@radicalalchemist: ΣΚΑΙ: “Απο τις κάμερες φαίνεται οτι είναι μαροκινής ή αλγερινής καταγωγής” Κάμερες που κάνουν και ταυτοποίηση στοιχείων φαντάζομαι έ?

@radicalalchemist: SKAI (TV channel): “CCTV footage shows assailants are Moroccans or Algerians” Cameras identifying people now?

@Cyberela: Θα το ρίξουν στο μεταναστευτικό κύμα των λαών της Νότιας Αφρικής και της Μέσης Ανατολής.

@Cyberela: They'll now blame it on the migration wave from Middle East and North Africa

A distressing allegation was made by Constantinos Alexacos:

@constantnos: Εδώ και μήνες υπάρχουν blogs φερόμενων αστυνομικών και ακροδεξιών που λένε ότι θα κάνουνε πολιτοφυλακή. Ουδείς ίδρωσε…

@constantnos: Alleged police and right-wing blogs have been warning for months about setting up militias. No one cared…

Some Twitter users pointed out core issues engendering violence in the city center. The demographics of entire housing blocks have changed, as right-wing groups have mounted more anti-immigrant campaigns.

@Anastasialadiab: Πόσο ανόητοι όσοι πιστεύουν ότι για την εξαθλίωση του κέντρουτης Αθήνας φταίνε οι μετανάστες κ όχι αυτοί που έδιωξαν τους Μόνιμους Κατοικους

@Anastasialadiab: How foolish are those who believe that immigrants are to blame for the degradation of Athens downtown, and not those who drove away the permanent residents.

and urged authorities to react to the growing humanitarian crisis facing Athens:

@mao_tse_tung: η τραγικότητα του σημερινού εγκλήματος μπορεί να γίνει εξαιρετική αφορμή για ν αρχίσει η προσπάθεια να αλλάξει η κατάσταση. Δήμαρχε ξύπνα!

@mao_tse_tung: today's tragic crime can provide excellent motivation in an attempt to change things. Wake up, Mayor!

while others mused on the self-perpetuating nature of violence:

@nsyll: όταν απαντάς στην βία με βία σίγουρα έχεις χάσεις κάθε δικαίωμα να ζητάς ανθρωπιά

@nsyll: when you answer violence with violence, you've surely lost all rights of recourse to humanity

As interest on Twitter abruptly moved on to other things for the night, like the popular Eurovision song contest, Helena Chari offered a damning deadpan:

@helena_chari: ελλαδα: ουτε euro, ουτε vision, μονο eurovision

@helena_chari: Greece: no euro, no vision, just Eurovision

May 09 2011

May 06 2011

Greece: Documentary Film “Debtocracy” Available in English

Debtocracy, a documentary by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou about the causes and possible solutions of the Greek debt crisis, can be viewed with the English subtitles beginning today. It's distributed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license and allegedly has had over 1 million views so far. This “documentary produced by the audience” was filmed with only EUR 8,000 raised through small donations [gr] from individuals and trade unions. It contains comparisons with the cases of Argentina and Ecuador.

March 06 2011

02mydafsoup-01

CALL FOR AN AUDIT COMMISSION ON GREEK PUBLIC DEBT - Petition | www.gopetition.com 2011-02-19 (in EL & EN)

   

We the undersigned believe that there is a pressing need for an Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt. Current EU and IMF policy to deal with public debt has entailed major social costs for Greece. Consequently, the Greek people have a democratic right to demand full information on public and publicly-guaranteed debt.

The aim of the Commission will be to ascertain why public debt was incurred, the terms on which it was contracted, and the uses to which borrowed funds were put. On the basis of these considerations, the Commission will make appropriate recommendations to deal with debt, including debt that is shown to be illegal, illegitimate or odious. The purpose of the Commission will be to help Greece take all necessary measures to confront the burden of debt. The Commission will also seek to find who was responsible for problematic debt agreements.

Public and private debt is at the heart of the Eurozone crisis. The global crisis that began in 2007 took the form of a debt crisis of the periphery of the Eurozone. According to the latest government budget, Greek public debt is expected to rise from 299 billion euro (or 127% of GDP) in 2009 to 362 billion euro (or 159% of GDP) in 2011. The increase in public debt has heightened the danger of national default in the periphery of the Eurozone and raised the possibility of bank failure across Europe. The EU, in conjunction with national governments, has responded through rescue programmes that have facilitated temporary borrowing by Eurozone states and protected banks. But these measures have failed to calm financial markets and, as a result, borrowing rates have continued to rise for peripheral countries. Furthermore, the price of the programmes has been austerity. Greece, Ireland and other countries were forced to cut wages and pensions, contract public expenditure, shrink welfare provision, privatise public enterprises, and deregulate markets. Further social costs are inevitable due to higher unemployment, business failures and loss of output.

Greece has been at the forefront of EU rescue programmes, but the Greek people have been kept in the dark regarding the composition and terms of public debt. The lack of information represents a fundamental failure of the democratic process. The people who are called upon to bear the costs of EU programmes have a democratic right to receive full information on public debt.

An Audit Commission can begin to redress this deficiency. It can also encourage the active participation of broader layers of society in movements that tackle the problem of public debt. The Commission will be international, comprising debt and fiscal auditors, legal experts, economists, representatives of labour organisations, and participants from civil society groups. It will be independent of political parties, though it will not exclude politicians from membership provided that they accept its aims. The Commission will ensure possession of expert knowledge, while guaranteeing democratic accountability and control over all involved.

To achieve its aim the Commission ought to have full access to public debt agreements and debt issues over time, including bond issues, bilateral, multilateral, and other forms of debt and state liabilities. It ought to have requisite powers to place at its disposal all documents that it judges necessary to complete its work. It is also necessary to instigate appropriate procedures that would allow the Commission to call public functionaries to give evidence, as well as to examine, after a reasoned request and judicial support, bank accounts, particularly public accounts with private banks and with the Bank of Greece. Finally, a sufficient period of time ought to be made available to it to examine debt agreements and produce its report.

The case for an independent and international Audit Commission to examine Greek public debt is unanswerable. The Commission is also a democratic demand of the Greek people who are bearing the burden of the crisis and want to know its causes. In all respects an Audit Commission for Greece could act as prototype for other countries of the Eurozone.


Petition:
Συνυπογράφω την έκκληση της πρωτοβουλίας αύτης, όπως αυτή παρατίθεται στον πρόλογο της τρέχουσας συλλογής υπογραφών.

I also sign the appeal of this initiative, as it is layed out in the preample of this petition.


Sign the petition


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