For just over a month, 300 people have been on a hunger strike, a protest against the way they have been treated and continue to be treated in Greece. Most of them have lived and worked here for years but have been denied papers to allow them to live here as citizens. The government (and many,many citizens here) are demanding that immigrants leave voluntarily or are repatriated or deported. A grim choice for those who have worked hard here and contributed to the country in many ways. Going on a hunger strike is a desperate act; one that is impossible for most of us to imagine undertaking. Surely no-one can ignore their plea ? The latest reports on the hunger strikers is dire. Many have been hospitalised and some are close to dying. Are we really going to ignore their plea ?
The article that follows is from the Guardian Comment is Free and was written by Costas Douzinas who is a Law Professor at Birkbeck, University of London. His books include “The End of Human Rights” and “Human Rights and Empire”.
As the world follows the north African revolutions with bated breath, a less public north African revolt and tragedy is taking place in Athens and Thessaloniki. Three hundred non-documented migrants, mostly from the Maghreb, have entered the 35th day of a hunger strike. Many have been taken to hospital in pre-comatose condition and are reaching a state of non-reversible organ failure and subsequent death.
These are people who have lived and worked in Greece for up to seven years. They picked olives and oranges, they looked after the old and the sick, they worked on building sites and orchards for a fraction of the minimum wage. After years of exploitation and humiliation, they are now told they are no longer wanted because of the economic crisis. They must go back voluntarily or be deported. Immigrants are the double victims of boom and bust in Greece. Now they are deemed to be surplus to requirements, to be disposed of like refuse.
Please read the full article at the Guardian