In a press conference early this week in Brussels, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, announced that 50,000 refugees are to be housed in Greece until they can be evaluated and processed prior to being deemed eligible to migrate to other countries on the continent.
Αs Juncker explained, Greece pledged to create a total of 50,000 refugee spots with the European Union's financial assistance, 30,000 of which should be in place by year's end. In parallel, the President stressed the need to strengthen the management of Greece's borders with those of its neighboring states of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania.
For her part, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, stated that Greece has undertaken the obligation to complete the establishment of concentration centers and identification "hotspots" so as to facilitate the relocation of the refugees to other host countries.
Sadly, this fateful resolution, accepted by Greece's "Syriza-ANEL" coalition government, is to be imposed upon a country that is in the throes, as everyone is well aware, of a deep humanitarian crisis due to the destructive economic austerity it has been subjected to. Even more tragic, is the fact that Prime Minister Tsipras was feeling thrilled and proud because he had dissuaded his European partners from creating a "refugee town" in the midst of Athens but, rather, persuaded them to subsidize some 20,000 to live in rented homes around the city.
Actually, the refugee crisis, a result of the war in Syria, has been directly caused by the involvement of the West and the Western Europeans countries there. Instead of putting forth efforts to stop the waves of migrants, the Europeans appear to be officially inviting them to come, work and settle. Instead of pointing them, say, in the direction of the wealthy Arab states and closing off the passages to Europe, they seem to be encouraging an immigration policy with a friendly, "lounge-like" reception in Greece.
The Italians, it seems, have taken themselves out of the equation, leaving the Greeks alone to suffer the consequences. Those same Greeks that have been ravaged by the cruel austerity imposed by their European lenders and whose, as yet, still popular leftist government remains incapable of rebutting their demands, however destructive they may be.
I was wondering if the Greek Prime Minister, who boasted about his success in agreeing to bring 50,000 refugees to Athens, using the city of the Gods as a vestibule to separate them into "useful" and "useless" for his European partners, has given a thought to the tragic adventure he is creating for his impoverished country?
Has he understood that those arriving who fail the criteria of the European Immigration Committee, who will be rated as "second-classers," will end up staying, permanently, in impoverished Athens, a city whose own homeless line up in the thousands at its soup kitchens daily? A city that already hosts, with the minimal means at its disposal, huge numbers of refugees?
Has he taken into account the anger of a citizenship, unable to overcome its own suffering, having to support thousands more destitute? Has he not given thought to what potential social clashes and upheaval this agreement will undoubtedly bring?
The Greeks are not xenophobic nor are they enemies of the tormented. All around Athens, in the squares and the concentration centers, and on the islands in the Aegean where some 500,000 migrants have landed this year, they run to help throngs of those arriving, bringing food and diapers for the young and being supportive in every way to ease their suffering.
However, the electorate never authorized its government to solve the Middle East refugee crisis by turning its shores into a new Ellis Island. Tsipras' mandate goes as far as managing the problem in the best way possible.
The Greek prime minister, however, in bowing to the callous demands of his partners and, in turn, creating havoc in his country, has attempted to shamelessly portray his actions as a success. In additon, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the former stalwart of Greece's opposition "New Democracy Party" and current European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, appears to have persuaded his former colleagues to remain silent.
If the Greek government had any courage or stature, it would reject this migratory grotesque created by Europe and America with a loud "No!" and point the refugees abroad, putting them on a direct path to the United Kingdom, France and the United States, the perpetrators of this tragedy.
Unfortunately, the Greek left heads a phobic government that only knows how to lower its head, bend its knees and utter "Yes." It is ironic that this week, on October 28th , was national "Ohi" day, the date in 1940 when a proud Greek nation said "No!" to the invading Italians, going to war to defend its borders rather than bow down in shame!