Thursday, October 13, 2005


A snippet from Athens News Some 683 Iraqis have applied for asylum in Greece so far this year, according to UNHCR. Not a single Iraqi's application was approved last year because the public order ministry, which handles asylum applications, believes the political conditions in Iraq have improved since the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Greece has the lowest refugee recognition rate in the European Union.

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At 10/13/2005 06:33:00 PM, Blogger Phantasmak said...

And to think, a great deal of the Greek population comes from the 1912 population exchange, thus Greece accepted a lot of refugees from that area back then. Any Greek of Asian Minor heritage knows what their ancestors went through when they first settled in.

At 10/13/2005 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a convenient excuse for them to use as to why no-one ever gets accepted.

I personally believe the EU need to draw up a common policy when it comes to dealing with asylum seekers rather than leaving it up to each individual country. Especially countries like Greece who can't be trusted on issues like this.

At 10/14/2005 04:52:00 PM, Blogger BallAndDust said...

I would like to pass on a thought here, as controversial as it may be. I'd like to make a couple of points/statements.

1. Greece is a country that is (and has always been) a country of financial scandals. I don't care if you are talking about Pasok or Nea Democratia. Tax evasion is a pervasive problem that the goverment simply will not tackle (wolves tend not to be good for looking into disappearing chickens anyway). And the Olympics, as incredible as they were, are a huge additional burden that I don't believe the Greek people can afford (or rather they will have to make huge sacrifices to overcome it). Like it or not, but refugees are a financial burden. I don't want to sound cold by assigning monetary value to the plight of these people, but I'm trying to be realistic. There are also assimilation issues, but that is another matter.

2. Greece has never had a hand in manipulating the internal affairs of the countries from which these refugees come. Why should Greece assume the financial burden of accepting asylum seekers and not the former colonial puppetteers of northwestern Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain. Should Greece deal with the refugees from Iraq? Let the British and the Americans deal with the consequences of Churchill's and Bush's follies.

Make no mistake, I do recognize that the refugee situation is extremely serious. I've read comments regarding the Greek violations of International Law. However, I would like to point out a couple of things from history, starting with Paris in 1919. International law has largely been controlled by the US (though they flout it when it doesn't suit them, e.g. the mining of the harbor of Managua under Reagan) and the European colonial powers. Have we forgotten Wilson's nebulous point for self-determination? That certainly did not suit the Europeans who wanted the spoils of war. Have we also forgotten how the Greeks in Cyprus used every diplomatic means to achieve self-determination and how the UN (or the then-colonial powers of Europe: Belgium, Holland, France, Great Britain) wouldn't hear it and simply downplayed the Cyprus question as a British colonial matter?

I would also like to share these bits of personal information before I receive accusations commonly given for Greeks. It is my mother who is Greek, but not my father. I am half-Dutch, born in the Netherlands (still have Dutch citizenship), living in the United States. I recognize the past and current predatory practices of the country of my residence and the country of my birth. I also recognize the stupidity of the various regimes in Greece currently and in the previous century.

At 11/22/2005 05:56:00 AM, Anonymous Spyros said...

Great comments BallAndDust; not surprisingly, nobody seems to care to follow up on the issues you brought up.

At 11/24/2005 01:33:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

Welcome spyros. I am afraid this post was from a long way back so that is why people did not comment on BallAndDust's entry. I only saw your post because I get email notification. I hope you will jump in to some of the more recent discussions.


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