Sunday 12 August 2012


Shame on the new coalition government in Greece and its 'Xenios Zeus' operation aimed at arresting and detaining immigrants of Asian and African origin. Over a thousand illegal immigrants have been arrested and detained in the last two days. Busloads are transported to makeshift detention centres and kept there in appalling conditions.

Of the 4,900 people that were arrested on Saturday, 1,300 were detained and the rest released, presumably because they had legal papers. There are rumours that even tourists have been arrested (and subsequently released) as the initial criterion for arrests seems to be the colour of one's skin.

Public Order and Citizen's Protection Minister Nikos Dendias defended the campaign by claiming that: 'Our social fabric is in danger of unraveling. The immigration problem is perhaps bigger than the financial one'.

The irony is that Xenios Zeus was the ancient god who was patron of hospitality and guests! What kind of a sick mind came up with this name for such an operation?

Cheap, clandestine labour, provided by the country's immigrant labour partly fuelled the economic growth of the previous years.  Many of the projects for the 2004 Olympic games were ready in time largely to migrant labour.

Who looks after the ageing parents that the social security system is unable to care for? Who has been boosting the country's demographics as Greeks are leaving the country in droves escaping the economic situation?  Who has been bringing new life to dying villages? All questions conveniently forgotten.

All this is happening in the context of the other big shame that occured last Wednesday in the biggest square of the city, outside the Greek Parliament, where the fascist party (I will not soil my blog by mentioning them by name) handed out free food to passers-by as long as they could prove they were Greek. Those who wanted to receive this 'generosity' were asked to produce their I.D. cards (a document that Greek citizens are legally bound to show only to representatives of the state) and the details were then recorded by the members of the fascist group.

The fact that we have reached the situation where Greek people are willing to give up their rights and to lose all dignity in order to receive a bag of potatoes shows how bad, how desperate things have become - it does not bode well for the future.

The two main political parties (what is the Democratic Left doing in this coalition? Do they need to change their name?)  must start realising the part they have played in creating this mess and must start taking responsibility for the chaos the country is in.

It's a disgrace.

(Sources and the first 4 photographs: Kathimerini)


  1. So, at least the Greek state is finally implementing SOMETHING. The fact that 75% or so of those arrested were released means they were wrongfully arrested, so they're obviously arresting the wrong people. The Greek state has billions of euros outstanding in court-imposed fines for tax evasion, of which they have collected .... 0.4%. The Greek police might be better employed arresting the guilty tax evaders, instead of hounding the innocent and the most deprived sections of Greek society.

  2. I completely agree Sally. These are awful times we are living in.

    What is also worrying is that this seems to be spreading across Europe. The so-called socialist government in Frande is doing exactly the same with the Roma people.

    Depressing times and I don't know what it is all going to lead to.

  3. May I please have permission to repost this on my blog
    My blog features daily articles / videos on the current humanitarian crisis in Greece.
    Thank you for your consideration.

    email @

    1. Thank you for your comment. I will reply by email.

  4. The photographs remind me so powerfully of the round up of Jews in the 1930s. The associations are frightening...unemployment, inflation, scapegoats, horror.

    1. It is a connection one would rather not make, but unfortunately, it is inevitable.

      What is really scary is that a lot of people who live or work in the centre are in favour of this operation. The centre has been allowed to deteriorate in the last few years and parts of it are a sorry sight. The ND and PASOK governments did nothing to stop this deterioration and people now blame immigrants for this sad state of affairs - scapegoats, as you rightly say.