Apologies for Playing Defense
There exists a question that nobody ever asks, at least within the framework of “instituted” politics and of the “instituted” public debate, although certain extreme forces of the political spectrum have asked and answered it – and given wrong answers. The question is the following : Do all the various ethnic, racial, cultural, social and economic groupings, now present on Greek national territory, have equal collective rights ? Should the needs and goals of all those groupings receive equal weightings when the course of the country is (or is not) being plotted and when decisions that will shape its future are taken (or not taken) ? Does the person that tears up and throws into the sea all of his or her documents and destroys all evidence of his or her identity, nationality and origin before entering Greek national territory have equal rights with one who, not by the “right of blood”, but by the “right of shared experience and memory” has linked his or her existence irrevocably and exclusively with the course of the country called Greece ?
The answer to that question is simple and clear : No. A person without identity, origin and citizenship who, were the slave-drivers to have chosen a different itinerary, would have found himself or herself in Malta, Italy or Spain has, of course, unalienable rights to life and dignity. Nevertheless, his or her needs, aims and goals, however legitimate and humanly understandable they may be, cannot be allowed to take precedence in determining the fate of somebody else, that is the fate of one who chose to have a name, a surname and a country to call his or her’s own and chose, besides, to answer the question of existence (to “live awaiting death”), by staying in his or her country of birth. Seeking “a better life” away from their home country by large population groupings cannot be assumed to automatically imply an obligation on the part of other groupings of humans (ones, besides, that are in no way responsible for the sorry fate of the former) to undermine their own future and to downgrade their own life experience in the place in which they were born and in which they chose to continue living. On the basis of the most elementary sense of justice, the moral rights of the two groups cannot but be of different weighting and unequal : in a democratic commonwealth founded on the principles of humanism, the set of rights enjoyed by each member (and each grouped subset of members, too) must necessarily be balanced against an equivalent and equal-sized set of obligations and commitments. When that balance is disturbed, then there arise the well-known dysfunctions, either of anarchy (where rights prevail), or of tyranny (where obligations dominate). People with a “favourable” balance of rights against obligations necessarily live at the expense of the rest, having, in essence, seized from others the excess of the rights they enjoy over the obligations they have assumed. This is precisely what is happening at present in the centre of Athens : Even as they live in abject misery, illegal immigrants (“refugees” following another terminology1) use, to the point of abuse, the infrastructure and the economic fabric of a city for which they have not worked and for which they have not ever paid tax and, also, the “rights of access to” and the services of a welfare state (admittedly a feeble one), for which they have not agitated, struggled or paid any tribute of blood. The presence of illegal immigrants generates nuisance of such an extent that, in essence, takes away from the “law-abiding” residents – mainly native born but, also, aliens, a whole lot of fundamental rights, such as the feeling of security and order, the option to engage in economic activity to earn one’s keep plus the chance to live without too many hindrances in a familiar interpersonal, cultural and socio-residential space – all indispensable conditions for personal and collective psychological balance and living in peace.
Beyond the issues raised so far, there exists something else that regards the rights of a “collectivity”. Just as the concept of the “nation” is not equivalent to the concept of the “people”, because the former expresses a phaenomenon transcending time and encompassing its entirety, while the latter denotes a specific point in the vector of its evolution, that is an instant, mono-prismatic record of it, so the collective “rights” of nationless persons or, even, refugees, cannot carry equal weight with the collective rights implied by historical identity and cultural uniqueness. It may well be that one is a pure-bred Arvanite-Liapis or an authentic Dravidian traveler but wishes, nevertheless, to believe himself the straight bloodline descendant of Alcibiades. It is within his rights to believe this, just as it is within the rights of peoples to manufacture national myths and to use them as lodestars to guide their lives and their courses along the paths of History, provided only that their devotion to their own symbolic and mythical value system does not threaten the fundamental rights of those who swear faith to alien Gods. The myths in question, just as the societies that are built on them, define the existential coordinates, within which the human mind evolves and civilisation develops. At the same time, they offer to each particular member of a national community the feeling of “belonging”, a necessary condition for psychological balance and existential security, at least for the great majority of humans. Therefore, a nation is something that adds up to much more than the sum of its members, that is the set of those who happen to belong to it at a given time point, and, also, adds up to much more than the sum of the vital needs of its members. Human civilisation rests, among other assumptions, on recognising a nation as a self-existing entity that, despite the “symbolic”, “imaginary” or any other attribute one would like to attach to it, produces very tangible, concrete and almost “material” outcomes : It sets up a framework for and gives a meaning to the lives of humans that choose it as a system of reference, without being a simple accounting record of those same lives. The persistence of the national phaenomenon over time is a higher value and a benefit of a higher order of magnitude than the transient and ephemeral perceptions, images and appearances that it generates, since it regards, not only its representatives at the present moment in time, but, also, those that will come in the future.
Of course, “partaking” of a national community is a matter of pure choice and the outcome of a well-known daily “balloting” of the citizens. One who denies his or her country, one who is denied one, the “citizen of the world” as well as the ethno-cultural errant or resident alien has every right – in a democratic society – to divest himself or herself and to cast off – in his or her conscience – his or her national identity (and each and every other national identity). However, in exchange for that freedom and option that he or she enjoys, he or she is also obliged to accept himself or herself that the “participants” of the nation are entitled in their turn – always on condition that they do not threaten or limit the corresponding essential rights of others – to defend the system of values that they have inherited and accepted. Moreover, the person that declares himself or herself “free of national commitments” owes it to himself or herself to defend the right of national entities to exist, that right being an indispensable condition of common liberty. If the view that the national phaenomenon is but collective delusion and that the claim of the collective national conscience to be respected has no precedence over extra-institutional movements trying to challenge it or, even, over “opposing” groupings of opportunity, the world would be very different and a lot harder to live in. This means that the assertion by a set of radical “advocates” of illegal immigration that Greek citizens have no right to claim privileged access and a privileged relationship with the land of Greece and with the wealth accumulated within it, because both are a possession of humanity as a whole and, therefore, belong in equal measure to any immigrant henceforth to be found on Greek soil, even if he or she is there illegally, is misplaced and void. That assertion is misplaced, not only or mainly because it implies the wholesale write-off of tens of unalienable rights of native-born Greeks, such as the right to own property, but, mainly, because by denying the legal standing of the national phaenomenon and the rights emanating from it and by attempting to substitute for it an arbitrarily defined creation of (natural) law called “humanity”, in reality it attempts to cut off the citizen who has freely chosen to be Greek from the symbolic values and the means of vital support that embed him or her to the world and to his or her own existence. In other words, in the name of an arbitrary concept of “humanitarianism” it seeks to effect and legalise the psycho-cultural genocide of the Greek nation and the looting of its material wealth.
If, ten years ago, one were to surmise that for a Greek to take a walk, alone and unarmed, in 2011, in the historical centre of Athens between 18:00 and 07:00, that Greek would have had to be either extremely stouthearted or deluded, that guess would have been thought quixotic. Today, this is a reality that everybody has accepted as unavoidable. Let us, therefore try, with the right conferred on us by the fact that reality has proven itself stranger that the most fertile flights of imagination, – a right that relieves us of any fear that the guardian titans of “political correctness” will unleash the thunderbolts of their ire at us accusing us of demagogic fear-mongering – to imagine alternative scenarios about how Athens may look like in 2021, after ten more years from today.
According to one scenario, in 2021, Athens will be an autonomous caliphate ruled by a ruler that would be appointed by a certain religious council based in far-away Punjab. The proclamation of the caliphate will have occurred in 2015 when, following the second default of Greece, the 5 million Muslims that would by then be residing in Attica, rendered speechless by the moral turpitude and corruption of the native-born, will have successfully rebelled to liberate the area from the infidels.
Another hypothetical, but equally likely, scenario is that in 2021 the region that was, sometime, Greece may be a region under the rule of law, in which different nations, cultures and religions will co-exist in harmony in a successful instance of a multi-cultural society, under the ever-vigilant eye of the Turkish General Commissioner, who would guarantee that the rules of public order and of equal protection of the laws for all are respected. The intervention of Turkey and its proclamation to the status of guarantor power of the former region of Greece would have been rendered necessary following the third default of the Greek Republic and its definitive eviction from the European Union (EU) that would have led to horrendous rioting that would, in turn, have taken the form of open war between the native-born population and the 8 million of non-legalised immigrants that would no longer have withstood theirs remaining for ever in the status of second-class citizens.
If the previous two scenarios did not please the reader, perhaps he or she can rejoice a little at the one following : In 2021, Greece will be ruled by a High Commissioner of the UN, while order will be kept by the GREFOR military force that will comprise military units from 45 countries. The intervention by the international community in the shape of the GREFOR will have been rendered necessary in 2018 because, compounding the state of anarchy in the country, piracy originating in the long Greek coastline by pirates, who will have immigrated to Greece from Somalia in their quest for a better life, will have reached such enormous dimensions that free navigation in the Mediterranean Sea will have been practically abolished, leading world trade to paralysis. Turkey, a leading peripheral power and a pylon of NATO, to whom the international community would have, at first, appealed, asking it to mobilise itself to restore order, will have refused, claiming only, instead, to subject to its control the Aegean islands but not being interested in continental Greece because “even masochism has its limits”. (Off the record reports in the media will have mentioned, instead, that Turkish leaders got cold feet only after they were informed that Turkey, as a successor state of the Greek Republic, would have automatically undertaken the legal obligation to accede to the EU and to follow a “European course” analogous to the ultimately disastrous one followed by Greece since 1981). At last, in view of the approaching impasse, the ultimate solution would have been chosen to form GREFOR and intervene in order to transfer to Greece the entire international bureaucracy that had theretofore ruled Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Following the dissolution of those state-like entities and the annexations of their constituent parts to Albania, Croatia, Serbia etc that international bureaucracy would had been left without a job, thus creating a serious social problem for middle- and upper-ranking employees of international organisations and international bureaucracy. Special analysts will have noticed that with the experience they acquired in their previous postings the officials of this international administration will be in a position to guarantee a much smoother transfer of control, when the time comes to annex previously Greek regions to neighbouring countries.
If, however, all the above appear sombre, fortunately there exist some brighter aspects of the issue. Let us review a few :
Science. Perhaps the contribution of our country to science in modern times has been minimal to non-existent so far. If, however, one were to walk in the streets of the historical centre of Athens (the ones in which police recommend that women not walk alone in after 6 in the afternoon), one would realise that Greece is in a position to offer new material for research in the forthcoming centuries : new diseases (that may even turn out to be pandemic) that in all certainty will start in the diamond stone on Earth’s ringb and will reach the ends of the world, thus covering the name of our country in glory and promoting it as a tourist destination. Is is a certainty that the scientific community cannot show itself so small-minded as to refuse to call those diseases by names such as “the Athens virus’, “the Acropolis epidemic” etc.
Peace. One should not overlook the importance that illegal immigration may take on in advancing the world peace movement and the mutual understanding of the world’s peoples. If, for example, Greece were to embroil itself in war with a Muslim or partly Muslim country, the existence of a strong Muslim element precisely in the centre of Athens will function as a strong lever of the peace movement and as a bridge of friendship uniting the peoples of the two countries (somewhat along the lines in which the Fifth column of Franco was expected to operate in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War), thus ensuring that military operations end much sooner, since one of the two sides at war will implode.
Economy. In that field, too, the benefits of illegal immigration can be very significant. As soon as the one-stop-shop for investment in Greece is set up, all the large international companies will rush to invest in the country since, beyond the convenience that this new institution will offer them, they will know that, given the political prospects of the country, an investment in Greece will automatically offer them privileged access to enter the markets in Punjab and Somalia. Either because of the soon to be consummated twinning of those regions with Athens, or because of the forthcoming inclusion of the city to the caliphate, those companies will be able to include those regions in their planning, thus achieving a “two for the value of one” deal dreamed of by every businessman.
Do, perhaps, the above flights of the imagination not bear any relation to reality ? What is, rather, irritating and unacceptable is the serene belief that, if nothing is done, Greece in 2021 will be something more or less similar to what it is today with some variation for the better or the worse. Those that knew nothing of the statics of buildings, while they were watching on 9/11 the “twin towers” burning may have been thinking that that fire would burn what it could burn and, then, would have gone out by itself. A few minutes later, however, the towers had collapsed because their load-bearing frames had melted and broken down. The same thing happens to societies when erosion and disintegration get to be the dominant forces operating in them. Entropy, by crushing the mechanisms of maintaining and reproducing order, spills over, multiplying itself at an incredible speed. Much faster that one thinks, who in his or her life so far had only learnt that he or she can do well by being inactive and by voluntarily blinding one’s self to evident reality, the internal temperature of the system will approach the “melting point” and the “collapse point” of its capacity to bear adversity, with destructive results following immediately thereafter. This will happen to Greece inexorably and pretty soon, unless something changes radically and right away.
Two things appear not to be understood with respect to illegal immigration into Greece. The reason is that the debate is conducted within a framework squeezing the participants breathless between the twin plates of, on the one hand, the ideological scales in the eyes created by a falsely-labeled “progressive” thinking and, on the other hand, by the ideological terrorism practiced by the professionals of “political correctness”. It follows naturally that the distortion of the issue has, to a great degree, become official state ideology, leading a large number of honest people to wonder whether they are being too selfish when they silently wish that the unbearable conditions they witness all around them change at last.
The first step in obscuring and perverting the perception of reality derives from claiming a framework of “tolerance” towards delinquency by illegal immigrants (and “refugees”), since they are “tortured souls” that simply seek “a better tomorrow”. This claim is either made expressly or is implicitly and laterally declared in the name of an unspecified “humanitarianism”. In reality, it in not even a claim but a fully-blown bid to ideologically legalise heretofore illegal behaviour. That extremely lax kind of “tolerance” already exists on the ground, both because of the well known pathologies of Greek public administration and because of the multi-faceted agitation of “progressive” forces. Thus, processes get going and get self-reinforced that make every one worse off, including the majority of immigrants, those who have no inherent tendency for delinquency and simply and solely seek a better tomorrow. This happens because conceding that an area, in the very centre of Athens, is exempt from the rule of law creates an “autonomous region of delinquency, criminality and lawlessness” with an international appeal and self-perpetuating feedback dynamics.
If one is, by profession, a thief and murderer in a country with an average per capita GDP of 2.000 dollars a year in Asia or Africa and get information from a reliable source that, somewhere in Europe, in a country with an average annual per capita GDP of 20.000 dollars, there exists an area in which he can exercise his profession without any interference, what will that person do ? What is the economically rational choice for him ? To stay where he is ? Or to emigrate to that area to seek a “better future” ? Naturally the latter. Thus, besides the “normal” immigration motivated by the urge to earn one’s living, there arises a parallel “delinquency immigration”, the dynamics of which feeds back into and reinforces the already existing features of the “autonomous region of delinquency, criminality and lawlessness”2. (It is somewhat entertaining to think that the only illegal immigrants, that regard Greece as their final destination and not as a necessary intermediate station in their journey, are the ones that belong to that second grouping). The result of this particular type of immigration is not only the visible criminality bearing down on the legal inhabitants of Athens, including the legal aliens, that attracts the light of publicity. There is, also, the latent criminality claiming its victims among the great mass of “regular” illegal immigrants who live practically in a state of slavery, undergoing unimaginable exploitation by certain fellow-nationals of theirs who operate as “subcontractors”, pimps, blackmailers, kidnappers etc. The size of that kind of invisible criminality is , perhaps, much larger that the visible kind. This widespread, extremely savage criminality, images or intimations of which reach public opinion by coincidence or accident, when a dismembered African is discovered in the enormous Liossia landfill or an Asian woman is found cut into pieces in a vat in the Cephissus river, does not seem to bother the local, self-appointed defenders of immigrants. One may attribute that attitude to the fact that their interest is not primarily authentic but indirect and mediated, since, on the one hand, the “progressives” look upon the world of indigent immigrants simply as a tool that will help them realise their wet dream of storming the “winter palace”, while, on the other hand, certain NGO’s (of course not all) consider it as a means to attain some much more pedestrian (funding) goals. The fact that the violence that pervades the inner universe of the immigrants leaves their supposed defenders unmoved does not mean that the constituted state can be allowed to disregard it, too. Entirely to the contrary, a state resting on the rule of law is obliged to have zero tolerance as regards the “inherent” delinquency of illegal immigration and not just to relieve the native-born residents of the city from the nightmare in which they live but, also, to relieve the great mass of illegal immigrants from the bonds of slavery forged to hold them by the crime networks of their fellow-nationals that followed them to Greece with that express goal in their mind.
The second distortion of reality originates in the unfortunate and mislabeled ideological creature called “multi-culturalism”. Its ill fate is not due only to the fact that the leaders of the three largest countries in Europe that tried it have gone explicitly on record and stated that the experiment failed but, also, because, in reality, it is unhistorical and anachronistic, seeking to return humanity to a pre-modern world and, in particular, to the conditions that prevailed in the Ottoman Empire, in which people were classified on the basis of their religious (and, indirectly, ethnic) affiliation and in which those religious and ethnic groupings, called the milliyet at the time, coexisted in peace, albeit in a clear hierarchical order overseen and guaranteed by the merciless Ottoman sword. “Multi-culturalism” comes with a false label because, in reality, it does not call for co-existence of different cultural standards of behaviour and ways of life, but for moral relativism in setting the standards for human rights. Post-modern humanity in the West has a broadly uniform position as regards life, a stance at once positive and negative. Negative, because this leads the unique features of some nations to weaken or vanish. Positive, however, because this convergence originates in the universal acceptance of the primacy of a strong core of human rights. Greeks and Poles may speak different languages, listen to different kinds of music and eat different kinds of food. The basic axes, however, of their attitude to women, children, fellow citizens, adulteresses, homosexuals, infidels are uniform, if not identical, and, for that reason, the two peoples can coexist without friction in a common network of relations and one need not even label as “multi-cultural” the space the inhabit in common. Conversely, a large population grouping, that of the Muslims, is basing its living together on a very different set of values, clearly pre-modern, and, as a result, its co-existence with the people of the modern western culture is difficult, while its assimilation in their societies ranges from hard to impossible.
All the psychologically stable and balanced Greeks, that hold liberal and democratic views, felt alarmed and vexed a few years ago by an assault on democratic institutions and freedoms attempted by the forces of a domestic theocratic and hierocratic obscurantism.c However, in the name if “multi-culturalism”, the members of Greek society are asked to accept a theocratic obscurantism, that is many times more dangerous, and to tolerate female genital mutilation, sharia, forced marriages of 12-year-olds, “justified” honour killings, masked women etc. They are required, that is, to relativise their devotion to the human and democratic rights in the name of the respect of “diversity”. This, though, should not happen and will not happen because Greek society, in spite of its intellectual misery and its moral decline, still holds certain ultimate lines of defense and, fortunately, demands as the least common denominator for accepting any alien in its midst the full and absolute respect on his or her part of the fundamental core of human rights, a respect that Islam is incapable of, because of its very own foundational doctrine. However, the well-intentioned, in all other matters, defenders of “multi-culturalism” pretend that they do not notice this enormous chasm of values and choose, instead, to whistle nonchalantly and hypocritically.
Moreover, our goal is not just to avoid the “multi-culturalism” of the sharia. The goal should be to avoid an unneeded war of cultures on Greek soil. “Multi-culturalists” appear to have their views fixed on so broad an horizon as to be failing to see the immediate problem in front of their very nose. And we cannot reach that goal be blinding ourselves to reality or by being naïve and inert.
Greece today stands on the most critical crossroads in its history. The incidence, at the same moment in time, of deep economic crisis, on the one hand, and of an uncontrolled inflow of immigrants that get “trapped” and remain on its soild, on the other hand, creates an explosive mix of major risks that, unless addressed directly and decisively, are likely to lead the modern Greek state entity to disintegration into its constituent parts and Greek society to an unthinkable tragedy. At the moment, of course, all the attention directed to those two problems consists of inaction and inertia, albeit with one great difference : in the case of the virtual bankruptcy of Greece the inertia is counterbalanced by the existence of foreign lenders who, by dint of their need to try and secure the funds due to them, pressure the Greek government into adopting policies that can only be beneficial to the Greek economy over the medium-to-long term.3 Unfortunately, this is not the case as regards the immigration problem. The conversion of Greek national territory into a repository of illegal immigrants is not only not a threat, but is, in fact, a great benefit for the rest of Europe, that, therefore, takes care to do nothing essential towards fixing the problem, limiting itself to symbolic gestures (such as FRONTEX) and to hypocritical prodding and scolding about the way in which Greek authorities treat illegal immigrants. Therefore, in this particular matter, Greece is alone. Nobody is going to support or help it, unless Greece forces the issue to come to a head by means of its own decisive choices and action. Instead of this, however, Greece wastes itself crying and babbling about a “European” problem and awaits – again – a solution to come from Europe. (Never, of course, will any solution come from that direction).
If the country had 60 million of native-born inhabitants, illegal immigration of the size it has actually reached, would have, again, been a serious problem, as it is for Italy and France. Since, however, it has only 10 million native-born inhabitants, it is not facing just dislocation by the flood of immigrants, but a threat of immediate extinction. Therefore, the small-souled, empty-talk-filled and ostrich-like reaction to the problem by Greek society and its political leadership is clearly suicidal. Since, moreover, in 10 years’ time, when everything will be collapsing around us and those present, as well as past, leaders that are responsible for the problem growing to gigantic size without reacting, will not be around any more to be held accountable, they ought to rush into action today, before it is too late. If they lack the required force and capability, it would be good to state that fact and leave the management of the matter to those who can and want to achieve something, whoever these may be. Greece must meet the threat it is facing head-on and not to resign itself to the passive awaiting of its inevitable end, swearing all that time loyalty to the brotherhood of the people of the world, to the EU and to “multi-culturalism. The immigration problem is not mainly a problem of land use or of policing. The management of those two aspects of the problem is necessary to relieve the pressure on and the degradation of the standard of living, but neither open-air marketplaces for Afro-Asian pottery, nor one personal bodyguard for each and every citizen of Athens on a 24-hour basis each day, if it were feasible, would give us a solution (Rather, in the latter case, both citizen and bodyguard would be in danger). The immigration problem is created by world-scale geopolitical shifts and it is vital for the Greek side to awake itself as to the processes that feed it, so as to act in the right direction, because, so far, its action has not only been extremely small-spirited and anemic but, also, – and this is much more serious – it has been in the entirely wrong direction.
Modern immigration flows from Africa and Asia to Europe are of a purely “tectonic” character. They are due to the collision of two “cultural” plates, that of the rather successful post-modern experiment in the West with the unsuccessful and ultimately dead-ended experiment to build a neo-traditional society in the post-colonial world and, especially, in those societies whose cultural character precluded theirs even attempting to “import” modernity. Men and women abandon that post-colonial, but pre-modern world, realising that its prospects are getting poorer but, mainly, because it cannot stand comparison with developed capitalist economies and democratic government. At times, of course, people abandon that world because of humanitarian tragedies that those societies “produce” almost inexorably, as a result of their dysfunctional rigidity. In this way a set of migration flows arises, that resembles a natural phaenomenon in both its regularity and its inevitability. It just so happens that Greece stands geographically astride the great migration routes, even if the great masses of migrants have never heard of it and, in reality, have no wish to hear about it. It is unfortunate that practical factors force a very large number of people to get deadlocked on Greek soil, thus burdening the country with a deadweight that overwhelms its capacity and threatens it with total submersion like a modern-day Atlantis.
One can ask a simple question at this point : Greece is a point on the itinerary of migrants purely for geographical reasons or is there something else that supersedes even the geography factor ? The answer is equally simple : geography is not the major factor. The major factor is that Greece is considered part of Europe, that is of the “Schengen Area” and entry into Greece is believed to be an arrival into the “promised continent”, even if that is, in reality, not true. Except that that particular misconception of the migrants gets reinforced by the entirely misguided response of Greek authorities that ask, implore and beg the EU, in many and varied ways, such as asking for the abolition of the “Dublin II” agreement, to relieve Greece from “a certain number” of immigrants. In reality, though, the stand of Greek authorities operates as a multiplier of the problem : The impression that remains alive and gets registered in the collective conscience of the interested parties is that, if one manages to reach Greek jurisdiction, his or her problem will have been partly solved, since it will be the Greek authorities themselves that will, then, handle the case and will keep imploring and begging the other European countries to allow migrants to proceed to those other countries. Besides, prospective migrants realise that, even if Greece fails in its mediation in their favour, there is always the option of crossing over to Italy illegally, since the Greek western border is guarded either haphazardly or not at all. Therefore, the whole Greek stand and rhetoric operates as an open invitation to illegal immigrants.
Since, thus, we face a tectonic problem, we need a tectonic solution that will raise an insuperable barrier and will place Greece definitively out of the course of migration flows. That solution calls for two simple steps that, however, require decisiveness and a well-intentioned dynamism in the place of the present-day inertia and fatalism.
The first step is the immediate withdrawal of Greece from the Schengen Agreement. The unfortunate worshipers of the religion of “The Great European” will, of course, exclaim in horror upon hearing such blasphemy, since their real life only began in that magical afternoon at the Zappeion and, ever since, take care to live by European license only and to breathe exclusively with European lungs. However, that policy is not quite as subversive as it sounds. Greece was a member of the EU before the Schengen Agreement was implemented and will continue being a member of the EU after is has withdrawn from Schengen. Moreover, withdrawal need not be complete : There is no reason to control at the border those that arrive into Greek territory from the rest of Europe and their entry from “Schengen space” can continue as effected at present. What Greece, though, needs to do is abolish for ever free movement in the opposite direction, thus abolishing, both on the symbolic plane and in practice, its status of an “intermediate station” for illegal immigration into Europe. In order for this to succeed, Greece ought to make it known in all directions, using every possible symbolism and means of communication and publicity, that not only will it reinstate controls in exiting Greece towards the rest of Europe, but that it binds itself to never allow and in no case, nor for any reason, to any person who has entered illegally into Greek territory to proceed to the rest of Europe. Even if other European countries themselves ask to admit or to host particular persons or groups of persons, those people will need to leave Greece for Turkey, Libya, Egypt, anywhere outside “Schengen space” and, only after they have gone there, to proceed further to their ultimate destination. In the same spirit, also, Greece should immediately upgrade the guarding of its western sea border thus aiming to not allow anyone to cross it without the proper travel documents. Since, moreover, the Greek civil service, although excellent in every other respect, has proven itself not particularly effective in duties as narrowly specialised as the guarding of borders, controls in all the exit points towards the rest of Europe, in seaports and airports, should be carried out jointly with customs and police personnel from the countries concerned, such as Italy, Germany, France etc. (This is not novel but current practice, as regards travel from European airports towards the USA, with controls being carried out by US customs and police staff on European soil). This particular detail is of the utmost importance, because, not only will it further validate the effectiveness of the new policy, but because it will emit an extremely strong symbolic signal of the decisiveness of Greece to shake off for ever its status of bridgehead of illegal immigration into Western Europe. (Of course, those that will claim that granting the right to carry out controls to Italian or French customs officers implies giving up a sovereign national right will be telling – again – lies : It is the exact opposite, an action to defend and safeguard national sovereignty that is at present severely challenged by illegal immigration).
The voluntary withdrawal from the Schengen Agreement is the first and, perhaps, the most important step to counter the advancing expropriation of national territory and of national sovereignty.4 It will, in the medium term, reduce the inflow of illegal immigrants into Greece. However, it is not enough, by itself, to solve the problem. Some immigrants will continue to come, either because they will not be aware of the policy changes, or because they are obstinate, or because they have no other alternative route to enter Europe, or because they are not motivated by the legitimate drive to seek a decent living, but because they seek to enter the “autonomous region of delinquency, criminality and lawlessness” at the centre of Athens, at least as long conditions there remain unaltered. Besides, the illegal immigrants deadlocked in Greece will continue to exist. Therefore, a second step is required, a step equally necessary but much harder and more expensive : placing all those who are illegally in Greece in refugee reception areas, far from the large population centres. There are many reasons for not placing “reception areas” close to urban centres, the main one being that this is one way to combat “internal criminality” that afflicts the immigrants’ universe, since the slave-trafficking gangs of “subcontractors”, pimps and every sort of blackmailers operate as intermediaries between the illegal immigrants, that are in a state of vitual slavery, and the Greek “buyers” of their “services”. Suppressing such corruption and the policy of fully controlling immigrants in well organised “reception areas” will put an end to the out-of-control “trading of human souls” that serves the markets of prostitution, undeclared, undocumented and uninsured labour, trade in smuggled goods and unlicensed trade. It will, also, put paid to blackmailing, kidnappings and all related activities. On the side of the negatives, immigrants will lose the meagre incomes that they collect by labouring under slave-trade conditions and that many use to support the families they have left behind in their home country. There exist, however, no ideal solutions with zero side effects. On the contrary, moreover, denying illegal immigrants that income will be one of many incentives that this particular policy will create to induce them to leave Greece. One need not consider this an irony : it is most likely that the combination of incentives that those policies will generate will motivate the greater part of illegal immigrants to rediscover the travel documents that they “lost” when they entered Greece and to depart.
Certainly, an attempt to place all the illegal immigrants in “reception areas” appears to be and is an enterprise of immense dimensions. One that will, also, be extremely expensive. One could argue that its scale resembles the effort to resettle the refugees from Asia Minor in Greece in the decade of 1920. What, though, is the alternative ? To reconcile ourselves definitively with the fact that the capital of the country has been conquered by Islamism and will no longer be part of Greece ? To accept, in other words, a course that inexorably leads, in a visible time horizon, to the disintegration of modern Greek society and to the dissolution of the modern Greek state entity ? That would really be a world tragedy of biblical proportions that nobody, except a neighbouring country and – maybe – Al Qaeda, would want in the whole world, including those who, under normal circumstances, would be sideways hostile to and undermine present-day Greece. Will we, then, allow it to happen only because, in order to avoid it, we might, perhaps, have to privatise the whole of the Greek Public Power Corporation (for instance) and to use the proceeds, not to pay down a part of our national debt,5 but to finance the creation of well-organised areas to receive illegal immigrants ? Or, again, will we let it happen only because we will fear the ill-mannered cries of “shame” by the local and foreign fascists of “progress” and “political correctness” that will accuse us of erecting “concentration camps” and of re-instituting “banishment into exile” ? ( accusations that would be lies and calumny, since the creation of spaces for humane and controlled habitation by illegal immigrants will free them from the barbarous criminality of which they are the victims, under the conditions they live in today. It is, besides, clear that those particular spaces bear no relation or similarity with practices of the past that involved the violent removal of persons from their family and professional environment and their imprisonment in places of torture and torment seeking to force them to deny their beliefs – a fate, moreover, that most of the defenders of “political correctness” do not deny that they dream to impose on those who disagree with their views and to those who oppose their practices). Will we fear to do all that circumstances call for and require and will we choose, instead, collectively, but also individually, to assume the responsibility for the forthcoming destruction of our country ?
Of course we should not do it and we will not do it. Greek society, although in all other respects miserable and in tatters, is, strangely, nearly unblemished as regards its humanitarian contributions to the peoples of societies that are undergoing or have undergone humanitarian crises : nobody has the right to overlook the fact that there exist countries that would have had their population decimated by hunger, but for the immigrants’ remittances sent out to those countries from Greece. Besides, with the number of immigrants legally established in Greece being one of the highest (if not the highest), relative to native population, in the Western world, Greece has done its humanitarian duty in the best possible way and has assumed, proportionally, one of the heaviest burdens in alleviating “world misery”. It is entitled, therefore, to look after its own survival without any burden of guilt and without having to “apologise for playing defense”. Its next forthcoming contribution to humanity must be the carrying out of those policies that will save it from the disaster bearing upon it.
PS Alexandros Spartides, a pupil of the Lycée Léonin high school in Athens had not yet reached his 16th year of age in 1973 and would never reach it. On the 17th November his life ended abruptly in Kotsika street, cut short by the bullets of agents of the dictatorial regime in power at that time.
Kotsika street is a small street in the centre of Athens, joining Patission street and Mavromataion street, opposite the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation high-rise building, on top of which had, probably, been perched the murderers, snipers that cut the life of Alexandros short. Alexandros was not a victim of dictatorship but, instead, was and is a hero of democracy.
The passer-by who nowadays traverses the crossing of Patission and Kotsika streets and sees what happens around him cannot but wonder : if Alexandros Spartides had not died a hero’s death that morning of 1973, but had survived like all the rest of us, could he, today, walk in that same area, in peace and safety, as he would have been entirely entitled to, at any hour of the day or the night ? Could he have been calm and free of worry while thinking that his children or his nephews or nieces or, even, his grandchildren were walking in the centre of Athens after 6 in the afternoon ? Would he have been able to ignore and pass by – without feeling that anger and sorrow felt by any honest man who cannot prevent a tragedy – the sight of 12-year-old African girls desperately soliciting their “buyer” (for a price of 20 euros) to enable them to accumulate the sum that their owner and “trafficker of human souls” demands as his reward for transporting them to “Europe” ?
Of course not. He wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. The conditions that prevail today in the centre of Athens are an insult to the memory of Alexandros Spartides and of all the Greeks who, in recent or earlier times, gave their lives for a better country in a better world. Who ever feels the need to honour their memory but, also, to protect from degradation his or her own life memories and personal history owes it to himself or to herself to fight back.
Βιβλιογραφικὴ σημείωση – Ἱστορικὸ δημοσιεύσεως
Bibliographical Note – Publication History
D. A. Ioannou, “Apologies for Playing Defence” (in Greek), Analysis Bulletin of the Centre for Analysis and Planning (of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs) no. 71, pp. 27 42 Μarch 2011.
*Arab numerals : author’s footnote, alphabetic numerals : translator’s footnote
a “Apologies for Playing Defense” is the title of a well-known folk song by Thanos Microutsikos to lyrics by Costas Tripolitis and sung by Greek folk singer George Dalaras. The author-narrator-singer is apologising to a loved one for not proposing and for, thus, hurting her.
1 That, however, is not correct. A real “refugee” is one who abandons his or her home and hearth in order to save the highest gift, that of his or her life. As long as, though, he or she distances himself or herself from that departure point and traverses, without stopping at all, towns and villages, lands and kingdoms, in which he or she could have stayed and lived in safety, aiming exclusively to reach the Champs Elysées in Paris or the Unter den Linden in Berlin and claiming that only there can he or she feel protected, then the status of that person gradually transforms itself, removing that person entirely from the grouping of “refugees” and moving it into the grouping of “economic immigrants”.
2 It is, besides, worth wondering why the grand Bin Laden had been so naïve as to believe that the secret services of the well-known great Asian country would be able to afford him effective protection. If, instead of that error, he had been perspicacious enough to choose the caliphate of the centre of Athens as his hiding-place, nobody would have discovered him and nobody would have dared to turn against him.
c Following its re-election in April 2000, the government of Costas Simitis introduced new identity cards for Greek citizens. Unlike the cards they replaced, the new cards did not mention the religious affiliation of the holder. Then Archbishop Christodoulos opposed this policy and mobilised three million citizens to sign a petition requesting a referendum to allow those who so wanted the option to have their religious affiliation mentioned on their identity cards. Since the constitution only allowed the government to call a referendum, the petition was refused.
d According to the Dublin II Regulation of the EU, the country that a person first arrived in is responsible for dealing with the that person’s application for refugee status. This puts excessive pressure on border areas, where states are often least able to offer asylum seekers support and protection.
3 The European partners of Greece offered it the helping hand of the bailout (the “Memorandum”), that, however, in an instance of collective delusion leading to loads of bullshit-talk and empty-talk, has been condemned as leading to an “impasse” by the vast majority of public opinion and political leaders in Greece ! Of course, the bailout was a perfectly feasible course of action, except that those tasked with carrying it out in Greece did all they could to lead it to an “impasse”. Moreover, those who opposed them, the ones who had stated right from the start that there would be an “impasse” (and now feel vindicated !), have left the few citizens of this country that can count to wonder : since that wretched Memorandum leads us to an “impasse”, but there exists some smarter trick that would bore a way for us out of that “impasse” allowing them, in spite of the lack of bread due to the default of the Greek economy, to distribute to the people large quantities of top quality cake, why do they keep that recipe secret from the rest of us ?
4 A policy that, will, moreover, confer some other advantages and benefits, such as the increase in the number of visitors from Russia that will follow the abolition of the visa now required by Schengen for tourists from Russia. Increasing the tourist inflow from Russia is a very significant help, given the present state of the Greek economy.
5 Let us ask, after all, our European partners to pay a small part of that cost – through the “restructuring” of our public debt – whom we have so far helped in the highest degree by turning our country into a repository for human souls that they, for better or worse, refuse to admit into their own countries.