Tag Archives: Greece

Riots In Greece As Immigrants Clash With Police

Greece has become a port of entry to migrants from Africa and the Middle East who seek to become part of the European Union success story. Yesterday, Greek police clashed with immigrants in the port of Patras after an immigrant was struck by a truck driver. The immigrants apparently thought it was a deliberate action and they poured into the streets in search of revenge. Patras has become a gathering point for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asian immigrants who seek to hop across the Adriatic and find work in Italy. Last month there were demonstrations by truck drives who complained immigrants constantly sought to hitch rides and this frequently resulted in violence.

Perhaps, it is time for the African Union to sit down with the European Union in an effort to organize the process of immigration. This is not an issue that will disappear. In fact, as the economic crisis deepens we can expect even more violent demonstrations and anger on the part of all involved in the immigrant problem.

Immigrant Children In Greece Left Behind

The European Union may take action against Greece unless it scraps a new law which forbids children of undocumented immigrants from applying for the coveted EU-wide longterm residence status– a permanent form of residence. Under a new Greek law, only the Greece-born children of immigrants may apply for this residence permit, provided they are 18 and their parents reside legally in the country. The European Union does permit children under the age of 18 to apply for permanent residency and there is concern the Greek law may be in violation of EU laws. Greek officials insist that if an immigrant came illegally and has not been able to legalize their position in Greece they will be deported and any children under 18 must accompany them.

Historically, the United States of America was among the few nations which grant citizenship automatically to anyone born in the country regardless of the status of their parents. Greece apparently claims a child’s citizenship follows the status of their parents. The American model is an inclusive one which recognizes that once born in the country, one will be regarded as a citizen.

Crisis In Greek Police

Greece was rocked by violent anti-police riots in December after a policeman shot and killed a teenager. The resulting explosion of anger revealed deep seated antagonism toward the police among young people who regard them as excessively violent. The Revolutionary Struggle terror group issued a statement saying the police were legitimate targets for assassination and warned all members of the force to resign or face the consequences. The urban terror group admitted it shot at police during the riots. The result of the riots has been to lower morale among members of the force.

The government is now investigating the possibility of recruiting more police from the ranks of immigrant groups, particularly among those who received a Greek school education and are familiar with the law. Christos Fotopoulos, head of the Panhellenic Confederation of Police Officers, said it was time to expand those who are in the police. “As long as the state refuses to deal with the new reality, there will be more incidents of racism, and the police will suffer the consequences when others are actually to blame.”

Unfortunately, a survey of the police revealed they are bigots since most oppose recruiting children of immigrants into the force.

Does Government Require Religious Oaths?

Europe has an ancient heritage of Christianity being involved in government so it is not surprising that many nations still use religious centered oaths in order to swear in officials. Archbishop leronymos, head of the Church of Greece made an unusual suggestion by arguing that the taking of religious oaths by politicians should be abolished. There was some negative reaction to his suggestion, but it is still unclear whether he meant all oaths taken by government officials or some oaths. Several bishops while supporting the idea of abolishing oaths in assuming a position in government also noted if a person can not swear on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, then that individual is not someone to be trusted.

In days gone by, most Europeans were Christians, but these days, Europe includes peoples of very diverse backgrounds and religions. It is time to end the use of a religious oath and allow those who do not feel comfortable taking such a position due to their own religion, the right to just take office and promise to obey the Constitution.

Greek Children Decry Racism

Greek schoolchildren were recently asked by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) to submit essays in which they could express their feelings concerning racism in their own country Greece, along with most European nations, has experienced the arrival over the past few decades of immigrants from many nations. Maria-Anastassia Louka, who submitted the winning essay, noted that many older Greeks were mistrustful of foreigners. “immigrants want to create relationships with us but Greeks keep their distance.” She also noted many Greeks purchase goods from foreigners because their products are often cheaper, but this is done secretly so others will not know they are buying from foreigners.

Other students argued Greece has a lot to learn from foreigners. Eletheria Tsaknaki, sad, “I want to appeal to the government to listen to political refugees and not abandon them to an uncertain fate.” Sometime the words of children are more meaningful than the hate that comes from adult voices.

Greek Schools Fail Meeting Needs Of Migrant Children

A recent study of Greek teachers and 16,000 immigrant pupils found that the 260 secondary schools that hold regular Greek classes for the immigrant children have witnessed a marked improvement in the academic performance of those students. However, it is more common that Greek schools ignore the needs of migrant children and fail to even address language needs such as ensuring all immigrant children have access to Greek language instruction. Most schools continue using textbooks that reinforce the idea of a monoculture rather than ensure that there is information about the range of groups currently living in Greece.

The study of successful integration is titled, “The Integration of Repatriated Greeks and Immigrant Children into Secondary Education,” allowed many teachers an opportunity to discuss issues of multiculturalism. The author of the study stated bluntly, “most textbooks do not take account of the multicultural nature of our society.”

Greece Moves Ahead On Divorce And Adoption Issues

Historically, European nations that border on the Mediterranean Sea have been politically and socially conservative which has meant issues such as divorce are approached from a conservative viewpoint. However, the current Greek government is moving ahead with plans to modernize their nation’s attitude toward divorce and adoptions. Justice Minister Scotiris Hatzigakis, is submitting legislation to parliament which expedites divorce and allows greater flexibility in case of adoption. Couples seeking a divorce will see their wait time reduced from four to two years. The bill urges both parents to work together on a joint custody approach, but if this is not feasible, one parent might be allowed sole custody.

The law allows a couple living together who are not married to enjoy many rights of married couples since either individual could obtain social benefits from the partner as a married couple currently are able to secure.

Democrats Abroad Hold First World Primary

Democrats Abroad will have the first global primary for Americans in history. Us citizens who are living in various countries around the world will have an opportunity to cast their ballot in a world-wide Democratic primary. Yvette Jarvis of Democrat Abroad Greece says there is unusual interest in the 2008 elections and she has picked up strong sentiment for Barack Obama in Greece. Individuals can vote in person or online and those coming from states which require a personal presence can still go ahead and cast their ballot in this first even global primary election.

We are witnessing a new global awareness in which individuals leave a country to work and live elsewhere on the planet, but still maintain feelings about their homeland. In a sense, this is creating a new concept of a world citizen who is involved regardless of where they are physically located.