Watching the Greek news and the Greek pre-election campaign (the national election is on 6 May, next Sunday) is a surreal experience.
Until a couple of weeks ago I thought the major problem of the country is the financial and the political crisis of the country and of Greek society writ large.
Now, I have just found out that ‘our major problem’ is… migration. both irregular migration but also the new citizenship law that has (at long last) opened the way to naturalisation for both first and second generation migrants. Now the parties (especially the Socialist party PASOK, the Conservative party New Democracy and the far right groups LAOS and Chrysi Avgi) compete with one another who is going to send the migrants back home faster, while ND and the two far right groupings promise to change back the citizenship law and prevent people who live in Greece from naturalising.
It is just quite incredible how for years the elites have watched the situation deteriorating in the centre of Athens (where increasing numbers of irregular migrants and asylum seekers have been living rough – because of a series of failures of the system that it would take too long to explain here – see also previous posts further below) and now, in the run up to the election, the police is doing raids in derelict buildings rented for years to large numbers of irregular migrants per person per day for exhorbitant prices, the police is arresting foreign prostitutes, the polices is doinig publich health checks (!!!) in those difficult streets of Athens, and after 16 months year since a very good asylum and irreg migration law has been voted – it is only NOW (what a coincidence!) that the first ‘first reception centres’ have opened their gates (and of course TV stations are there!).
It is quite unbelievable: the role that the media play in such cases; how easy it is to shift the attention from the real problems to the usual scapegoats, the powerless foreigners!
Another proof of the ‘maturity’ and ‘responsibility’ of the Greek elites! While they are all putting their hopes to changes in Europe to resolve the financial problems of the country they compete with one another in inciting people to hatred towards anyone looking Asian or African (the previous scapegoats Albanian, Romanian, Bulgarian or Ukrainian citizens are temporarily forgotten – until they become ‘useful’ again to the media and the elites)!