| SOCIAL ISSUES |Phileleftheros



I wonder where all this cesspool is coming from. How were they raised? What is the basis and justification for such callousness? How is it possible for someone, especially in public, to be such a shameless asshole and not blush?

A sense of shame was once somewhat of a safety net. A net that protected us. So much for that. I really am surprised. How can the sea be flushing out corpses while your insides flush out this cesspool? [Translator’s note: Author is referring to the deadly shipwreck off the coast of Pylos, Greece of a fishing boat carrying hundreds of migrants on June 14] Who nurtured them and how? What did they learn from the ancient Greeks? What were they taught about respect towards the dead and about hubris? What have they taken away from the ancient teachings regarding philoxenia – [Translator’s note: friendship towards strangers widely translated as hospitality]? Nothing? If they are Christians, do they not fear the Day of Reckoning? Have they not heard of the Gospel of Matthew?

Do they not, believers that they are, dread the time when “he shall sit upon his glorious throne, and before him shall be gathered all the nations”? Do they not dread the hour of separation? “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. They will answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?

Then he will answer them, saying: Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” So where did all this racism and hatred spring from? Who disfigured them? Are they the same seed as those who wished Kemal Atatürk would slaughter the people of Asia Minor before they boarded the ships, so that they would not “rape the country” and steal their jobs, women and men? “They didn’t want us in Greece… A lot happened… I remember it and I shudder…”. Poor Dido Sotiriou. [Translator’s note: Greek novelist whose most notable work dealt with the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor]

Are they the same seed as those who did not even give a glass of water to a small child, those who are now dancing over the drowning of so many people? “They were chased to a Greek island. Shops, houses, doors, windows, all closed for no reason. He and his wife among the herd. The baby hadn’t eaten for six days, crying, tearing the world apart. The woman begged for water. A house answered her: “A franc a glass.” And the father goes on: “What can I do, Mr. Stratis, I spat into my child’s mouth to quench his thirst.” [Translator’s note: From a text by George Seferis where he refers to the way in which Greek refugees from Asia Minor were received in Greece]

Wherever our people went, they say, they went with papers. Bullshit. They’re vicious and yet ignorant. You’d think we’d treat the others we bring in legally better. In America and Australia and elsewhere, most of them went without papers. And then there were slave traders who promised them the moon and the stars. Cheap labour. And the locals? The newspaper headlines of the time and the signs in restaurants speak for themselves: ‘Hotbed of infection for white society’ / ‘White woman seen with a Greek’ / ‘Entry forbidden to rats and Greeks’ / ‘They stink, corrupt our society, steal our jobs…’ / ‘They suck the state dry and create ghettos’…

We are not living something unprecedented. Migration is human nature. The flows are not going to stop. Man has always sought better conditions, a “Promised Land” to survive. Our Homo sapiens ancestors originated in Africa – sorry if I’m spoiling the narrative about our perfect DNA – and spread across the world. Yes, these days we are, indeed, living through an intense wave. That needs to be managed. By our states and by Europe in general. I’m sick of repeating at every opportunity that immigration is neither a small issue nor an easy one.

On the contrary. It is both big and complex. Nor am I in favour of easy denunciations and anathemas or of abolishing borders. But there is a problem bigger than immigration. Which, even if a way can be found to solve the migration problem, what many carry in their heads and souls will not be resolved. The cesspool will find somewhere else to be channelled, it will find another reason to manifest itself.

It’s called a lack of humanity. And that’s more frightening. And, finally, because many people, I’m sure, like prophecies, let me make one: Amen. Amen, I say to you. What goes around comes around. And we are on an island, surrounded by the sea…


Born in Famagusta. He studied journalism in Athens and has been working as a journalist since 1995. He worked for the Dias Media Group magazines as well as for Special Editions. Since 2007 he has been a member of staff at the Phileleftheros Group as Editor-in-Chief of monthly and weekly magazines. At the same time, since 2021 he is in charge of the Sunday supplement “Elefthera” of the Phileleftheros newspaper. He also contributes as a columnist for the various publications of the Group.

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