Two news items from the Nobel Peace Prize winner land

Evros fence ‘ready in weeks’

A fence along the Greek-Turkish border, designed to prevent illegal immigration through the northern region of Evros, will be up and fully operational by the end of the month, authorities have told Kathimerini.

More than half of the planned 12.5-kilometer fence has already been constructed and the remainder will be in place before November, according to an official at the border crossing, which already has seen a sharp drop in illegal arrivals due to a joint crackdown by Greek police and officers of the European Union’s border monitoring agency Frontex.

and 'Difficult' asylum seekers put in Swedish prison

"Desperate" asylum seekers awaiting deportation from Sweden have been placed in a prison after the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) deemed them too hard to handle.

Both items are of particular interest to those Europeans that love to point out how “fascist” the US is in regards to treatment of immigrants (especially involving the US border fence) or those who are keen on pointing to the treatment of prisoners without trial, etc. 

There are plain human rights violations and then there are racist Nobel Peace Prize winning human rights violations. 

Following a fact-finding mission (29.02.- 02.03.2012) the Greek Council for Refugees reported: “Complaints often concerned incidents where migrants were forced into the sea, with their clothes on and in freezing weather conditions, to stay in cold water up to their necks and then once out of the water were made to stand still for hours in their wet clothes, until they freeze (…). In addition, there were reports of migrants who were forced to stay on their hands and knees, while port authority officers would sit on them. In other cases, the victims were forced to take off their clothes, stand still with their legs extended, and beaten every time they moved. Furthermore, as we have been told, the authorities often destroy or confiscate migrants’ personal belongings – even food or their shoes. The port officers unleash their dogs, sometimes leading to serious injuries from dog bites or falls when migrants try to escape them.

From a report released by Pro-Asyl Foundation about the ill treatment of migrants and refugees in Greece.

A couple of things come to mind here:

Europeans and their outrage over Guantanamo Bay and the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib would do well to read about the ways that the European Union itself treats undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. 

When European media reports right wing violence in Greece, the issue is presented as the result of disillusioned fringe groups that should be brought to justice. That is obviously not the case and the involvement of both Greek government officials and Frontex employees proves otherwise. Just to give one more example, from the same report:

A public discourse exemplified by Minister Loverdos of the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, routinely refers to migrants in Greece as a “hygienic bomb”, a “threat to public health” and a “financial burden” on the health system.

There is nothing isolated in these incidents. They are part of a continent wide policy of exclusion and dehumanization. These supposed “fringe groups” taking matters on their own hands now are nothing more than the normalization of this violence.

Unmanned spy drones could patrol Britain’s shores looking for illegal immigrants and smugglers after a series of high-level meetings in Brussels, The Mail on Sunday has learned. The European Commission aims to spend £260 million on its ‘Eurosur’ project, which includes a plan for surveillance drones to patrol the Mediterranean coast.

Athens, Aug 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Two flesh-eating piranha fish have been caught in a river separating Turkey from Greece. A Turkish fisherman caught an 18-inch piranha in the Evros river July 31. Earlier this week, a Greek fisherman caught a nine-inch piranha on a fishing rod, using sweet corn as bait.

The river has been a major entry point for illegal migrants from Asia into Europe.

Piranhas, known for their sharp teeth, voracious appetites, and occasional cannibalism, inhabit South American rivers. It is not clear how the fish got into the Evros.

Flesh-eating piranhas found in Greece river

Side eye news of the day, especially the part about not knowing how the piranhas could have gotten into the river. On Sunday evening, an Iraqi immigrant was killed in Athens. From the report:

A young Iraqi man was killed in the latest in a series of hate attacks against foreigners in Greece. The death comes amid a wave of anti-immigrant feeling and follows electoral successes for the far-right.

Police said on Sunday that the 19-year-old Iraqi was stabbed to death by five men traveling on motorbikes.

The police said the men had “tried to attack a Romanian and a Moroccan in the same area” late on Saturday, a version of events supported by witness statements.

Rarely could charity have had such negative connotations as on Wednesday in Syntagma Square, central Athens, where neofascist Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) handed out free food to passers-by, as long as they could prove they were Greek.

ekathimerini.com | Charity begins at home

From the report:

The discrimination exercised in how food was handed out or the fact that Golden Dawn defied a ban by the City of Athens to use the capital’s main square for its event is the least of Greek society’s worries. There was something much darker, more malignant going in Syntagma Square. Anyone wanting to avail themselves of the far-right party’s “generosity” was asked to produce an ID card proving they were Greek. This document was then taken by party members, who recorded all the details.

Some very worrying developments have been taking place in Greece in the past couple of days. The “food for Greeks” mentioned here took place on Thursday. And on Sunday, thousands of migrants were rounded up by police and detained. This is no coincidence, this is systematic.

ATHENS — Greek police vowed Sunday not to relent in their efforts to evict undocumented immigrants after a sweep they said had netted 1,130 in central Athens over the weekend.
Police said a total of 4,900 people were rounded up in the capital on Saturday, of which 1,130 were detained. “The police operation to evict undocumented immigrants will continue,” a statement said.

AFP: Greek police detains 1,130 immigrants

From the news:

Operation Xenios Zeus, named after the name of the king of the ancient Greek gods in his role as protector of guests, mobilised 2,000 police in Athens and another 2,500 on Greece’s eastern border with Turkey.

Police spokesman Christos Manouras said Saturday the operation was a necessity for debt-laden Greece’s national survival.

"We must send the message that Greece cannot afford work and hospitality" to would-be immigrants, he said.[…]

But as the country struggles with a crippling economic crisis and sweeping austerity cuts, social tensions are on the rise and the increase in undocumented immigrants has fuelled xenophobia and racist attacks.

For the first time in Greek political history, the country in June voted into parliament a neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, which has promised to purge the country of illegal migrants.

A piece, in Dutch, I co-wrote with Quinsy Gario about racism in The Netherlands as a cultural ecosystem. From the piece:

De discussie die ontstond over het ‘racismeprobleem’ dat Marokkaanse jongeren al dan niet zouden hebben is typisch voor hoe het debat in Nederland gevoerd wordt. Discussies over racisme in Nederland suggereren telkens weer dat racisme een individuele gedraging zou zijn, discriminatie door één persoon gericht tegen een ander persoon. Deze obfuscatie voorkomt dat we racisme zien voor wat het werkelijk is: een cultureel ecosysteem. Uit ditzelfde ecosysteem is ook Hirsi Ali zoals we haar vandaag de dag kennen, als vechter voor vrouwen in islamitische omgevingen, voortgekomen. Dat Hirsi Ali van dezelfde partij komt die ook Rita Verdonk, Geert Wilders en ons het huidige demissionair minderheidskabinet heeft voorgebracht is niet toevallig. Het racisme dat door haar gebezigd wordt en constant beloond wordt is namelijk onderdeel van een groter probleem.

An Ukrainian travel agency has started a campaign to encourage travel to Asia with the slogan, “See Asians Like Asians Do.” The above poster – from travel agent Multipass, and created by Kiev advertising agency Tabasco – finds various folks demonstrating exactly what this entails: stereotypically racist “slanted eyes”.
Ukraine has recently been under the spotlight because of their involvement in the European Cup football championship (which is still taking place) where several government officials and members of the organizing committee were said to be unconcerned with the racism faced by People of Color attending the event.

An Ukrainian travel agency has started a campaign to encourage travel to Asia with the slogan, “See Asians Like Asians Do.” The above poster – from travel agent Multipass, and created by Kiev advertising agency Tabasco – finds various folks demonstrating exactly what this entails: stereotypically racist “slanted eyes”.

Ukraine has recently been under the spotlight because of their involvement in the European Cup football championship (which is still taking place) where several government officials and members of the organizing committee were said to be unconcerned with the racism faced by People of Color attending the event.

I wrote about current affairs in Europe in view of this week’s commemoration of the end of WWII. From the post intro:

This week, Europe commemorates the end of World War II, the event that marks a breaking point in contemporary history, the event that faced us with this reminder of humanity’s capability for evil. I don’t need to re-visit the significance of this war or the importance of the event as others have done it (and continue to) much better than I ever would. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot about the legacy of this war, the Holocaust and how we have moved forward after the concerted and life long efforts of so many activists to never repeat anything remotely similar again.

While thinking about this loss of life and the ensuing continuum that leads us to today, May 1st 2012 (coincidentally or not, International Workers Day), I end up with a few snapshots, a few seemingly disconnected events that offer a landscape, a view from the margins if you will, which is, after all, the only view I am ever capable of.

Spoilers alert: we don’t seem to have learned much (or at all). As a matter of fact, Europe seems to be repeating some dangerous patterns.

For years, German police were baffled by the nine murders of ethnic Turks and one Greek man committed by the Zwickau cell of neo-Nazi terrorists. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, they even asked the FBI for help. The profilers submitted a report clearly stating that the victims were killed because of their ethnic origin.

German Police Sought Help in 2007: FBI Saw Racist Motive Behind Killings of Ethnic Turks - SPIEGEL ONLINE

And yet, it took them more than four years to actually acknowledge that indeed, this was a racist group murdering foreigners. 

The thing with people like “European Resistance” is that they are the manifestation of something much more serious and dangerous. You can equate this person to pus on an open wound. Sure, the pus is gross and disgusting and very evident. However, it is also the symptom of a general infection, the part that is not visible and slowly spreads around the organism. While the pus does not directly affect other organs, the infection that manifests as pus in the wound erodes them, and eventually leads to massive failures. That’s the way I see this person. Sure, just like pus, their views are “evident” and in the open, but they are only the manifestation of something much more serious and unaddressed going on. While “European Resistance” posts photo after photo of Breivik, glorifying his actions, somewhere in Europe, there is a silent racist in charge of an HR organization who refuses to hire a Person of Color. “European Resistance” is the vocal, visible symptom of this widespread disease.

inessita replied to your link: "European Resistance"

They showed a video in court that Breivik had produced. He cried when he watched it. But he claims self-defense for his attacks. Self-defense. JFC.

 ”Self defense”. SELF DEFENSE! 

And of course, then we have to contend with people like “European Resistance” who tell us they cannot empathize with the victims and hold Breivik as a “role model”. I am sincerely feeling sick right now.

Resistance to what? To change? To humanity? To decency?

This clown is publishing Breivik’s manifesto in its entirety, one chapter per day (chapter… well, if you can call that incoherent drivel “a chapter”). Today, Breivik’s trial begins in Norway and, of course, there are Europeans who “cannot empathize with the victims”, just like this asinine arse.

The funny thing? When “progressive” Europeans tell me that racism in the EU is not “as bad” as I make it to be. I suspect that it is much, much worse even.

How to physically abuse refugees, manual leaked

Remember when in October last year when I wrote extensively about the corporations that run immigrant detention camps? Back then, I mentioned the conditions that immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees in detention camps run by Serco, in Australia, were exposed to:

Naomi Leong, a shy 9-year-old, was born in the detention camp. For more than three years, at a cost of about $380,000, she and her mother were held behind its barbed wire. Psychiatrists said Naomi was growing up mute, banging her head against the walls while her mother, Virginia Leong, a Malaysian citizen accused of trying to use a false passport, sank into depression.

Turns out Serco’s training manual for the treatment of these detained persons was leaked to the press yesterday. via Serco training manual: how to “hit” and “strike” asylum seekers:

The “control and restraint” techniques included in the 2009 training course manual recommends the use of “pain” to defend, subdue and control asylum seekers through straight punches, palm heel strikes, side angle kicks, front thrust kicks and knee strikes.

“Subdue the subject using reasonable force so that he/she is no longer in the assailant category,” it explains.

“If justified, necessary force is to be used to bring the subject to cooperative subjective status whereupon they respond favourably to verbalisation.”

Under a section headed “principles in controlling Resistive Behaviour”, guards are told to cause pain, stun, distract, unbalance and use “striking technique” to cause “motor dysfunction”. […]

“They enhance your ability, to compel compliance from unco-operative subjects,” it explains. The “expected effect” is “medium to high level pain”.

I cannot write about this without exploding in a ball of rage. More at the link above, including the text of the whole manual, though I must warn for potentially triggering content.

H/T @jonanamary