About twenty days ago, I posted a story about a group of illegal immigrants who decided to house themselves in the Athens University of Law. As some may remember the illegal migrants, mostly from North Africa, then launched a huger strike and had the audacity to demand legal residence and work status for more than 500,000 illegal immigrants here. They were of course removed from the premises and relocated at a posh (yes you heard correctly) mansion on Patission street in downtown Athens where almost 20 days weeks later, and until the time this story was written, they are still continuing with their hunger strike until all demands are met. Question: Can people who just drink water live more than 20 days…or 18 days… or 16 days…? Hmmmm…..
Extreme leftists, obviously to increase their voting power, are still supporting the move and believe that free residency should be given to anyone who asks for it in this country, and call us… meaning all the remaining Greeks who oppose this influx of illegal immigrants racists. Racists? Greeks? No… we are realists! Nice philosophy from the LEft, or more humanitarian Greeks, as they term themselves, very, very heart-warming, but most certainly a recipe for sheer disaster.
For one it breaks down in a time of financial crisis, when masses of illegal immigrants, mostly from Arabic nations, are escaping their countries seeing asylum anywhere they can. Secondly, in a period with the Greek unemployment rate is already at an all-time high, our country cannot afford to take on more residents… because if first needs to take care of its own people… Lastly, the illegal immigrants that already unlawfully entered Greece mostly engage in illegal and semi-legal activities, from pornography to panhandling to drug trafficking. In fact, they have transformed downtown Athens into something worse then Spanish Harlem (and if you have ever lived in New York… you know exactly what I mean).
I don’t know how leftist groups see the world, or what their overall perception of a better Greece is but the image or North American multi-cultural society cannot work here. Their argument is that many Greeks migrated abroad and found work and a new life in North America and other countries, and never had to face such discrimination, so why can’t people of other ethnic origin find the same here. Very nicely said indeed…. but what they omit to say is that Greek people LEGALLY MIGRATED to North America, or Australia, or Germany and/or England etc, because they were LEGALLY invited by family members already set up there. They did not pay slave traders or human trafficking lords large sums of money to do so. Also, residency in all these countries was only achieved after a decade or more, after studying the language, the history of the country and passing citizenship tests by competent authorities, not by seizing a public university and demanding that it be done or else. That is how it is done in normal countries!
It is obvious that the leftist parties, who have the least amount of seats in the Greek parliament want the government to legalize more than one million illegal immigrants who claim that they paid human trafficking bosses a total of 5,000 Euros in order to be smuggled into Greece, because they want to increase their power in government. In other words… paid voters! Just like PASOK did all these years and inflated the public sector with some one million public sector workers. But if Greece did that… then I see one billion illegal immigrants from India to God knows where walking westward across Asia in order to come into Greece. Sure… come to Greece… we are so nice here… all you have to do is cross the boarder and presto you are given citizenship. This is absurd!
Turkey is certainly not our ally, since most of these immigrants are illegally entering through this country. One of the reasons they choose Turkey is because a couple of years ago Turkey lifted its visa to all Arabic countries, meaning that if you are a Muslim from lets Algeria, then you don’t need a visa to go to Turkey, same holds true for all Arabic countries. Another reason is the massive money probably made from all this. Human trafficking, just like drugs and illegal weapons, is a huge enterprise worldwide. No wonder some people in our neighbouring country are making billions of dollars…. in a country where the average monthly salary is some 100 Euros…
According to reports, the prices for a “Crossing” between the Asian Minor Shore and the Aegean Islands costs anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 US Dollars and for an illegal route from Turkey to Northern Europe the smugglers demand up to 15,000 US. The immigrants from the African countries travel to Smyrna, Istanbul (Constantinople) and Mersina through vessels crossing the Mediterranean Sea, whilst Arabs come mostly through the Syrian-Turkish borders. The Asians (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Kurds, and Afghani) pass through the Iranian-Turkish borders
Constantinople in particular is the undisputable centre where masses of illegal immigrants concentrate before being smuggled into Greece. More specifically, in the Vefa neighbourhood right beside the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Iraqi-Kurdish immigrants gather. In the Laleli area the most immigrants come from the Caucasus. In the Aksaray and the Beyazit Meydani regions there are people from all corners of earth pilled in cheap hotels and in the Tarlabasi, African immigrants. In a city of almost 17 million people, it is roughly estimated that between 250,000 & 500,000 of those are illegally residing and waiting mainly to find a way reallocating towards Europe through Greece.
The traffickers issue fake visas and passports along with other necessary travel documents and sometimes they spot potential “clients” in the aforementioned neighbourhoods or outside Embassies and Consulates. They charge up to 15,000 US for a passage to the West that includes mostly transport to Greece or Italy via the Sea routes and with a speedboat or in most cases an old vessel.
In case the “client” cannot pay the full amount, he is basically sold to his future employer, mostly a second-generation immigrant in a European city, where he works until he repays his voyage. Yes you heard correctly… SOLD… like a piece of furniture. Thus London, Paris and Berlin for example have amassed a considerable number of modern day slaves that work for almost nothing, long-hours under conditions of extreme stress and insecurity. Are the rich so fixated on becoming richer that they do not want to employ legal citizens and rather prefer illegal employment in order to maintain their lavish lifestyles? Maybe… but this makes me wonder… do they really want to chance hiring or enslaving someone to work in their homes and/or businesses who might be a terrorist, or a madman? And the reason I say this is because we have experienced and heard so much since 9/11 that it is quite dangerous to even play such a Russian roulette with people from these nations, because we don’t know who they are. Their papers and/or passports are usually trashed from slave or human traffickers and who investigates their background anyway? No one my dear friends… that is why this whole situation is so alarming.
At this point it has to be noted that between Middle East, Iran and Greece there is only one country apart and that it Turkey. That is one of the main reasons USA did not lift the visa between Greece and the States because there is a real threat of terrorists, criminals and other travelling through the Atlantic once reaching Greek territory. As it was mentioned before, that is much easier that originally though, judging by the fact that from Central Asia to the Aegean the border controls are either lax or non existent.
Once reaching Turkish territory the immigrants are literally stashed in old warehouses or decaying apartments and wait for their transfer. In the meantime -a period up to 2 years- they work as underpaid manual workers in the local tourist and industry businesses, thus minimizing labour costs in Turkey.
Just peachy. Let’s analyze it further. If I was from Pakistan and made 1 euro a day in wages…. would I give all my savings, that probably took me years to accumulate, in order to illegally come to Greece, sleep on the streets and become a professional junkie, drug trafficker, or someone who sells copycat Luis Viton purses? Does that sound like the dream of a lifetime for anyone? Would I or would I not use that 5,000 Euros, because that is what they claim to pay human traffickers to smuggle them here, to open lets say… a hotel or something in my country? What… a hotel only costs 5,000 in Pakistan… it very well might… it doesn’t need a lot of sense to figure out that if wages are 1 euro a day in Pakistan… then bread, milk and the cost of living are probably a third of that, so 5,000 Euros is MOULA there!
I cannot accept the other argument either that “humanitarian groups” say that smugglers lie to these immigrants so that they can trick them into leaving their countries and depositing all their savings in the search for a better life either. I could have accepted that the first year this trafficking began… several years later, and because of the telephone, fax, email, and other communication tools I am sure that some of the first victims already warned their countrymen that the “better life” was not all it was meant to be. So this argument cannot stand either. Something else is going on. Something bigger and more dangerous. At first I thought Turkey was doing this because it wanted to hit Greece’s tourism industry. We are after all competing eachother, but then the issue of Thrace surfaced, and the belief that there is a Islamisation of Europe occuring. Some European liberals even say that continued immigration, predominantly from the reactionary Muslim world, is destroying liberalism.
In this madness, and following the uprisings in several North African countries, the government, after being heavily criticized by the opposition, decided to increase its border patrols (it was about time) over fears that a new wave of illegal immigrants would begin to invade Greece from Turkey. I understand that some may want to escape poverty in their country, but don’t they know Greece is too small and too unprepared to deal with illegal immigration of the scale we are witnessing today.
Greece’s actions also have wider ramifications for the overall security architecture of Europe. Already some EU member states such as Span, Germany, Italy and France have recognized the issue and are assisting Greece through the FRONTEX force, which is a multi-European task force, composed of Coast Guard and Police officials that monitors and tracks illegal immigration in the Aegean. But it is not enough. It is clear that no walls in the world will stop immigrants from overpopulated Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, not to mention troubled African countries. The wall built on the border between the USA and Mexico did not stop millions of illegal Mexicans immigrants from entering the US now did it?
Clearly there is a short list of radical measures, which can solve the problem, but will the European Union, being the stronghold of human rights, ever dare to resort to those measures? The situation is already at a critical point… it seems that sooner or later the EU will do so, otherwise European countries run the risk of having Asian and African problems on their territories.
Some may think what does this all have to do with 250 starving (yeah right) illegal immigrants currently living in one of the most elite mansions in downtown Athens. I am afraid that if the government does not “cut their air” now as a Greek idiom says “kopsei ton aera” then we are going to have massive, massive problems here.