Tuesday, November 22, 2005


"For today’s teenagers here in Greece, the word “Albanian” is tantamount to a four-letter word. Both Greeks and Albanians agree on this, as was confirmed by a recent poll of students in the Grava schools in Galatsi and in other areas, such as Kypseli and Metaxourgeio" Kathimerini focuses on young peoples views on racism today in the features section. "When a foreign car driver caused the death of a Greek motorcyclist two years ago, young Greeks took to the roads at night and attacked any person of color whom they chanced upon. Journalists reported the incident with a discreet sympathy and understanding for the insurgent Greeks." See also the article on the exaggerated press focus on crimes committed by foreigners.

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At 11/22/2005 04:25:00 PM, Anonymous sha said...

Am I to fear for my life because of my colour?
Here I am back in Athens with a slightly heavy heart when I read all these things.

Good thing though I do have a choice to love somewhere else unlike the rest of the immigrants here.

At 11/22/2005 06:10:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

Welcome back sha, (I really look forward to reading some more from you over at your blog) To answer your comment, I certainly don't think we need to live in fear for our lives but to be aware that problems that exist and try and address them where we can. In our personal lives and in the society we live in. I believe the dialogue about racism and xenophobia is opening up here in Greece. It is a relatively new issue here but I see many people, greek and foreign, discussing, debating and yes, soometimes arguing and disagreeing. just the fact that people are talking is a start.

At 11/22/2005 06:52:00 PM, Blogger adfjkaj said...

Diva and the rest,

I feel self conscious sometimes living in Greece as a foreigner, and always knowing that every day I wake up in Greece and step outside my door, to the unknown Greeks I face, every day is like my first day in the country. No matter, that I've lived here for 20 years, to some, it will be just like I arrived today. When I've mentioned this to Greeks I've encountered, sometimes they tell me, "You aren't like the other foreigners, you are American, etc". I often wonder if they say that to all the foreigners. For example, if they are talking to an Albanian, or African, will they say to them, "Oh, you are ok, because you are not an American or Englishman". Any thoughts?

At 11/22/2005 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/22/2005 11:33:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

oops! I left one little word out...

Scruffy, I’m not sure if the anti-foreigner sentiment will apply (so much) to Brits/Americans because I don’t think we are perceived to be a ‘threat’ (yet…) and we don’t tend to live in the poorer areas, do crap jobs, blah, blah – although, maybe, as you say, they bitch about us behind our backs?

Like dd says, the influx of immigrants is a new phenomena here (in *recent* history). In the UK and the States we’ve been through it all before the Greeks (although I’m not sure how much progress we’ve really made). I hope Greece can learn from others and not repeat our mistakes.

While a few may think Greece has a long history of racial pureness dating back to Pericles and beyond, I think the facts suggest differently and, looking back after the event, its often been the immigrants who have driven Greece forward – even if it has taken a generation or two. Maybe we’ll start to see a few more ‘mixed-marriages’ as the new generation grow up?

So, I hope people who have a different skin colour won’t feel unwelcome – as the Interior Minister said, Greece is a very hospitable country!

At 11/23/2005 04:14:00 PM, Anonymous sha said...

The week of the Paris riot started I was at DEH office paying bills...
this guy behind me hissed into my ears..

the riots in paris are due to the foreigners.

OH my alitheia I gave him a real nasty look and said ORISTE.
I didnt have time to gather my thoughts. If I was not only in a hurry, man I could have started an arguement.

am still re adjusting to my taka taka, meta, avrio life..and for the fact I dont know how to shove people in the bus..not yet..
soon I will blog.

PS Have noticed lately that greek tv shows been having debates over RACISM AND THE FOREIGNERS .. but they seem to me all experts on the matter.

At 11/23/2005 04:19:00 PM, Anonymous sha said...


"Athens is a crap place to be in when you are a filipineza!!!"

my sister just asked me if am really going to stay here for good thats her line above.
she has her share of racism too.

she is an english language grad with masters.

when she calls the frostitiria, they say oh come but then when they see her face... oh dear.
they start making excuses that they have hired somebody else.

At 11/24/2005 04:11:00 AM, Blogger Eff said...

What were the circumstances of the death of the motorcyclist?

This is disgusting. Few things anger me more than irrationality and the evil that follows it.

Every Greek youth involved in the attacks on presumably innocent foreigners for no better reason than guilt by perceived association with the foreign driver responsible for the death of the Greek motorcyclist, is scum. And many of the world's peoples have colored skin, which suggests that not all of the foreigners attacked by those evil Greeks in question were related by ethnicity to the foreign driver whom killed the Greek motorcyclist.

Let me state again, those Greeks are a national shame to all Greeks.

I have no Greek relations, but my empathy goes out to the many Greeks that most surely be embarrased by the terrible behavior of a few of their own.

By the way, I am, in alphabetical order: Nationality: American; Heritage: English, Finnish, Irish, Scottish, Polish (possibly), and Russian.

At 11/24/2005 06:02:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

Sorry everyone for not answering your comments on this post. I am reading them but I've got a horrible virus and have been laid up for a couple of days. Get your violins out now. just to respond to scruffy american and mike who wrote:
"I’m not sure if the anti-foreigner sentiment will apply (so much) to Brits/Americans"
I agree with Mike. I do think that although there is anti-american sentiment around it is not the same as the racism that is directed at foreigners with different colour skin. I have been racking my rather mushy brains to try and find a good way to explain what I mean. If you are white you, generally, have the luxury to never have to think about race and racism. You have that option. We "others" do not have that luxury. If you say to someone 'I am American" no-one will say to you "but where are you really from?" or "you don't look american" or as I have had to do (even on my own blog because I mentioned my colour), defend and justify my status as english or european. Racism can be a strange beast. It is hard to explain how we experience it. I would like to answer this in more detail but it will have to wait.

The 1st of December is Blog against Racism day. You have inspired me to try and write something on this subject. Thank you for bringing it up.

Hi sha, re: DEH idiot. Isn't that always the way? When confronted by these people, it is hard to come up with something on the spot. Perhaps you would like to write something for Blog against Racism day too?

Hi eff, the article said it was a traffic accident that resulted in the death of the Greek motorcylist. Another tragedy on the road. What followed, as you say, was irrational and despicable.
I must say I did laugh at your listing in, alphabetical order, your heritage. An interesting exercise maybe we could all do?

I hope I will be back in full swing soon.

At 11/24/2005 06:45:00 PM, Blogger adfjkaj said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/24/2005 06:52:00 PM, Blogger adfjkaj said...

HI Diva,

Get well soon!!!

Although it's true, that when I say I'm American, I generally don't get racist type issues thrown at me, but rather political issues about Bush. However, until I've identified myself as an American, I'm assumed to be a poor, scruffy, white, Polish laborer. I've heard this many times. (Polonos) Even though I'm white, it still seems to me that WHEN I'm getting "eyeballed" with the same "contempt" type of looks that you might get if they eyeballed you for being a black foreigner, that it is still a very uncomfortable feeling. In my humble opinion, a "look of contempt" is a "look of contempt" no matter who is on the receiving end of it and for whatever reason. It just doesn't feel nice.

At 11/24/2005 08:02:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

Thanks scruffy american. Now you clarify the situation I see what you are saying. It is also a mistake on MY part to assume all white people are treated equally. Forgetting that the Polish, Albanians etc are also white and they are treated with racism too. It brings to mind a question that someone brought up a while ago on another blog (can't remember where). Are Greeks white? As I've said before Greeks are treated quite badly by some engish people and are not considered white by them. Sorry for misunderstanding what you were saying. You are right. "It just doesn't feel nice."

At 11/24/2005 11:20:00 PM, Blogger The SeaWitch said...

Hey Diva! Glad to see you're feeling well enough to blog again. I was out of commission Sunday to Tuesday with some sort of flu thingy too. I don't mind missing work for being sick but I do mind not blogging. LOL

Scruffy is right about white people experiencing racism here as well. People's attitudes towards me change completely when they find out I'm Canadian and not Polish. And to compound the problem they'll even apologize to me for presuming I was Polish..as if being Polish is an insult. Sharing the same nationality as Copernicus, Chopin, and Mme. Curie suits me just fine. Too bad I'm not Polish, I'd be an EU citizen now.


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