Message of solidarity – (The Greek Crisis)

By PANTELIS BOUKALAS, From eKathimerini

Thousands of Greeks expressing support in any way they can for the refugees, donating tons of food, medicines, basic necessities for children and adults, knitting woolen hats and scarves or taking a refugee family into their homes for a day or two so they can enjoy a hot bath and a quiet night’s rest: It’s just wrong!

It’s just wrong that grandmothers and grandfathers who still carry memories of evictions and being uprooted cook up cauldrons of food to share with the refugees and migrants sleeping rough in Victoria Square – at least until it was “swept” clean – or at Ellinko. It’s just wrong that fishermen, coast guard officers and young men and women dive into the waters of the Aegean to save those who are drowning.

Welcoming volunteers from all corners of the world to our islands not as carefree tourists but as an expression of solidarity in action? It’s just wrong.

It’s wrong that at public and private schools teachers and students collect clothing and medicines, and organize exhibitions or plays all about helping others. It’s wrong that doctors from every field of expertise or even “simple folk,” as we usually call them, spend days and nights at the port of Piraeus helping out, disregarding the cameras and publicity – in sharp contrast to the high and mighty who make a single appearance, entourage in tow, to display their photogenic compassion.

It’s wrong because they’re all sending the wrong message. That, at least, is what the champions of realism or, rather, of cynical pragmatism, whether politician or journalist, would argue, either openly or in sly insinuation. Their nationality varies (Greek, Austrian, Slovak, Hungarian etc) but they speak the same language: that of callous self-interest. The more amoral among them have no qualms about voicing their opinion, as arrogantly brutal as it may be and as disdainful of the rudimentary values that compose human societies. They’ll spit it out and defend it with passion. To make themselves more convincing, they will evoke the danger of jihadists, the threat of Europe’s Islamization, the “rape wave” or any other wily argument they can pull out of the depths of their intolerance.

So many Greeks showing solidarity is just wrong, according to them. They should, instead, be demanding the confiscation of the refugees’ and migrants’ valuables. They should be siding with the local archons who star in stoking hatred for foreigners and the party apparatchiks who abet them. They should be praising those who profit from the refugees’ misery, because these are the only people sending the right message: “Get out! This is Europe! We have our values!”

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