The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Shooting of Migrant Farm Workers in Nea Manolada

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I woke up this morning to the shocking news of a shooting incident in Nea Manolada in which over 30 people were injured, several seriously. The victims were all migrant workers mainly from Bangladesh who work in the strawberry fields in the area. The workers had gathered (allegedly) to demand wages that had been unpaid for 6 months when they were shot at by at least one of the three Greek supervisors.

This is not the first time this area has been in the news:

via Kathimerini

Manolada has been at the center of cases involving violence against migrant workers a number of times in recent years. Last year, two Greek men were arrested for beating a 30-year-old Egyptian, jamming his head in the window of a car door and dragging him for around one kilometer.

I am speechless at the moment as to how to respond. It sounds so much like an incident that would happen in South Africa or a developing country… not in Europe. How have we come to this ?

We have seen the rising xenophobia and racist rhetoric sweeping the country. It has become so commonplace to hear or read about foreigners being “filth”, “sun-human” “invaders”, “scum” that people are seeing them as such. The rise of Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) has given racism and xenophobia a voice. A legitimacy.  We have an “MP” that calls immigrants “sub-human” sitting on the Council of Europe’s Anti-discrimination committee !

Immigrants are now blamed for everything. If you have read ANY forum that deals with these issues in Greece, you will have read the vilest, most racist remarks  I have ever seen (and I’ve read a lot) and it’s not just coming from a few neo-nazis. It has become acceptable to despise foreigners and to say it openly. I have seen immigrants blamed for everything from the transport strikes to the financial crisis. From the litter in the streets to the collapse of the healthcare system. It’s disgusting, frightening and inexcusable.

I hold Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and their supporters and EVERYONE who voted for them responsible for this appalling attack. Their continuous and nauseating attacks on the “other” has legitimised hatred, racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.

A protest vote is one thing. Voting Nazis into power is quite another.

I call on everyone here in Greece who abhors racism, slavery, violence and hatred to boycott strawberries farmed in this area. Economics is the only real power we have. I’m starting with strawberries but I am going to look into what other products are farmed/produced by slave labour and post here.

Please share this horrific news from Greece around the world. People must know what is happening here…

I will update this post as I learn more.

Read more at:

Kathimerini

To Vima

Eleftherotypia

BBC

Kathimerini (in Greek)

Eleftherotypia (in Greek)

A social media campaign has started on Twitter at #bloodstrawberries

UPDATE:

The government reacted to Wednesday’s attack on migrant farm workers in the Ilia region in the Peloponnese by their employers calling it an “unprecedented and devastating” incident.

“The injuries suffered by protesting farm workers in Manolada are being condemned in the most absolute manner by the entirety of Greek society,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in a statement Thursday.

“This unprecedented and devastating act is alien to Greek morals and the reaction of the authorities will be swift and proper,” he said.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias issued a separate statement condemning the attack.

“Respect for the law is a fundamental obligation for all of us, but also a necessary condition for the country’s economic revival,” he added while criticizing cases of economic exploitation.

Most political parties issued statements condemning the Manolada shootings.

via Kathimerini

According to this report, some of the injured workers were arrested after their release from hospital and taken to detention centres for deportation.

Is this really Europe ?

7 Comments

  1. Guest (xenos)
    April 18, 2013    

    Greece was never Europe. Only Athens, by the late 19th century, was thought to resemble provincial France. Peloponnesus was always backward and populated by Balkan peasants — and you see their mentality now quite clearly.

    What to me is is even worse, is that this right wing Dendias has no sympathy for the immigrant workers cheated of their wages and then nearly murdered with guns, and issues deportation orders for them. This, despite the rulings of the supreme court that illegal status does not permit employers to deny wages or other benefits. Also despite the existence of European law that requires some formal investigation of the immigrants’ status, history and situation.

    Of course, Dendias has no balls, and is afraid of the popularity of Chryssi Avgi. If you ask me, the people who need to be deported from Greece are all the politicians of ND, Pasok, Democratic Left, Chryssi Avgi and Laos. The leftist parties so far have no culpability in the human rights abuses in Greece. Of course, the problem would be where to deport these criminals: no country would take them, maybe the Moon would be a suitable location.

  2. Christina G
    April 19, 2013    

    chrysi avgi had nothing to do with this as chrysi avgi would be against the use illegal alien labor to begin with , i too condemn violence and exploitation but those Bangladeshis are not asylum seekers but economic migrants who came to Greece Illegally, the ones who hired them are just as if not more culpable for the rampant illegal immigration. The fact that they would refuse to pay these people their even meager wages is shocking and I would side with them against their Greek slave masters.

  3. deviousdiva
    April 19, 2013    

    I hold Chrysi Avgi and their supporters responsible for this attack and the continuous almost daily attacks in immigrants in towns and cities throughout Greece. The issues of the strawberry farmers in Manolada is not new but the escalation of xenophobic violence in general is unprecedented in Greece and coincides with the rise to power of Golden Dawn. If you call on thugs to do your dirty work for you as a “party” then you will be held responsible even if you personally didn’t fire the shots or hold the knife. You incite people towards hatred then you are to blame when they act with hatred.

    The previous governments and the current one has done NOTHING despite countless reports on what is slave labour in the strawberry fields and elsewhere. The police have done NOTHING. The insurance, tax and employment authorities have done NOTHING. The local authority has done NOTHING. Why ? Because it suited them to have slave labour in their multi-million euro business. They actually ask/choose migrant labour especially those without papers exactly because the workers have NO rights. They can force them to live in greenhouses, make them work like slaves and refuse to even pay them and there is NOTHING they can do about.

    I did not say they were asylum seekers. They are migrant workers who have been used as cheap/slave labour to maintain the Greek agricultural sector. Maximum profits. Bottom line. The Greek government and employers do not care whether someone is without papers as long as it suits them. The system of actually getting papers, even a temporary work permit is a joke. Until the system is mended, much of the agricultural work in this country will be done by people here without papers. Because it suits everyone for it to remain this way. Until it doesn’t. And then, we can always blame the migrant workers. Or the one or two employers, the bad eggs, who actually get caught. Can’t we ?

    Well, no we can’t any more. This incident has shocked the whole country. And those outside the country. Greece must step up. It cannot allow situations like this to arise ever again. Sort out the rotten, broken system. Arrest those who are breaking the law. Employ people lawfully. Fix the system so that seasonal/migrant workers can get temporary papers. Put the legal, paid jobs on the market and open up opportunities for Greek people to get seasonal work if they wish.

  4. Christina G
    April 21, 2013    

    i agree with your last 3 paragraphs 100% and your first one 0%

    “I hold Chrysi Avgi and their supporters responsible for this attack”

    they did not attack the immigrants, and they were not used by the employers. If you read their positions (even if you disagree 100% with 99% of what they say) you would see that they say they are against illegal immigration (they want them to leave, they do NOT want them to stay and be slaves because that hurts Greek workers).

    I think the slaves (cause thats what they are, should be pay their due market wages and send home and the employer prosecuted for the abuse)

  5. Giorgio
    May 8, 2013    

    if Golden dawn is against illegal immigration how would they possibly be for the hiring and use of illegal aliens? try to follow logic as difficult as this is for you to do so.

  6. deviousdiva
    May 8, 2013    

    @giorgio. Please read what I wrote:

    I hold Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and their supporters and EVERYONE who voted for them responsible for this appalling attack. Their continuous and nauseating attacks on the “other” has legitimised hatred, racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism.

    I did not say they did the shooting.

    As for the “follow logic” comment, I’ll let it go this time. I have been insulted in far worse ways by those who seek to make excuses for racism, especially when it comes to Golden Dawn funnily enough. Even though they are OPENLY racist. Strange logic.

  7. Rachel
    April 20, 2014    

    Great article but horrible violence happens EVERYWHERE not in just developing countries anyone can be uncivilised

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