On September 21st 2010, for the first time ever, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the United Nations Refugee Agency, described a European Union country’s treatment of refugees as a “humanitarian crisis”. That country is Greece. On September 23rd, I wrote about the escalation of violent racist attacks on refugees in downtown Athens. Since that time, the situation has deteriorated to the point that vigilante groups of “concerned citizens of Athens”, aligned with neo-Nazi and fascists, have occupied some of the squares and are driving away the refugees by attacking and beating them. Several people have been hospitalised including children. For regular updates on the situation in the squares, please go to The Jungle of Athens. Yesterday, the police attacked a group of Afghan refugees after a solidarity demonstration in Attiki square.
Yesterday evening, I watched a video called “The Battle for Attica Square” distributed by Journeyman Pictures
London’s leading independent distributor of topical news features, documentaries and footage
You have to go to YouTube to watch it because the embed facility has been disabled but you can share it on all the social networking sites. I urge you all to go and watch the video in its entirety and then pass it on in whatever way you can. It shows the reality of the situation that large numbers of refugees are living in here in Greece. From people dying on the border and being buried in unmarked graves on what looks like a building site, to squalid overcrowded prisons, to being homeless and without papers or support in downtown Athens and finally, to being hounded and attacked by anti-immigration thugs. It is shocking. Heartbreaking, made even more so because children are caught up in this horror. I don’t know what else to say… there are no words to describe how I feel about what is happening on my doorstep. Just go and watch the video and let the world know what is happening in this European country in 2010.
[Please note: The 400+ comments that follow the video should be read with caution. I have seen far worse, even here on my blog, but en masse they make disturbing reading. It’s mostly just a jumble of the usual lame excuses, cries of “we’re not as bad as some places”, accusations of Turkish propaganda and some “Bravos” and pats on the back thrown in for good measures. If you are not feeling particularly strong today, skip reading them]