Geert Lovink on Thu, 29 Jul 1999 20:43:27 +0200

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Syndicate: Korinna Patelis on racism in Greece

From: K.Patelis <>

This is the first part of a 4 part piece written on racism in Greece. It
is mean't to show how one more country is being added to the great family
of western european sovinist states. Racism in greece is now similar to
racism in Britain and France. The article will unfold the particularities
of such addition.


Heroism is very important in the construction of modern greek identity.
Being greek is almost synonim to being a hero you are taught this  in
schools, in the way you learn sport and the general way in which you are
told that to be greek you have to in one way are an other suffer.
Greeks are heros because they god rid of the Turks after 400 years Greeks
are heros because they  resisted German occupation. Greeks are heroes
because they habit the heroic crossroad of east and west Greeks are heroes
because they belong to the west but are resist american imperialism

Then NATO bombs Yugoslavia

Such heroism is the most careful well constructed denial of the real
neo-conservatism, racism and that characterisised Greek urban life. We are
talking about a country that is a happy shopper of NATO arms ( under the
pretence that the here  arm for defense) as a whole consumer a more the
significant amount of U.S. products and in general has m. This is not to
mention a more harsh political critique which is that all Greece who has
taken a definite conservative turn in the last 10 years. But we are
opposed to the war because we are the heroes of Europe. 

One of the most striking piece of hypocricy in which this neo-conservatism
articulates is the "operation broom" . The title echoes the pretence of
the heroic everyday man, politic in Greece are for the people hence the
vulgar names used to describe political operation. Symbolically the tactic
is a call by the everyday man to the everyday man to sweep foreigners away
from his home. As an academic I am almost embaressed to describe the
tactic. The idea is we, that pure ethnic nation that can clearly be traced
back to Aristotele,  should sweep that all illegal immigrants, which in
Greece is a synonim for Albanian out of our greece, our home. 
Anybody that looks albanian ( which means anybody that look poor, criminal
like or in general does not appropriate a Greek way of walking and
talking) can be taken into custody, no charge pressed of course and kept
in police headquarters until the id they carry is veryfied. This is the
what happens to the lucky ones, like a succeful actor friend who was taken
to police headquarters because he was walking late a night, and because
policemen did not know how to assess the his i.d. .

The rest  are taken in custody, but are kept in big Greek stadiums. No
this is not an exxaduration, the greek state 50 years after Nazism,
captured people of the same ethnic origin and keept them in stadiums,
until their status is examined . The conditions in the stadium echo normal
greek aposinthesis, no provision of any kind. In the case this was pointed
out to the government the government would answer that it has made no
steps toward the bad treatment of l, but this is precesily the point.
Human conditions requere such steps and their absence shows utter
direspect for humanity , and can be named a crime. 

I do not care for the official exchuse of such tactic, it shock my
deepested conviction in humanity and makes me ashamed of being officially
a citizent of this state that was founded upon a belief in human right and
dignity. The government spokeman has been trying to present "operation
broom" as beneficial for the symbiosis of Greeks and Albanians, a measure
against racism. How this is so remains a mistery.

Operation broom is the symptom of a racism that has complicated financial
and cultural routes. This as well as a brief history of the rleatinship
between the two countries will be coverred by the second part of this
articles .

Korinna Patelis in Athens 

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