Into the Fire: The Hidden Victims of Austerity

2013, Society  -   37 Comments
Ratings: 7.35/10 from 63 users.

Most refugees arrive in Europe by foot or by boat, landing in Greece, Italy and Spain. Under EU regulations, asylum claims have to be made in the country through which refugees first enter Europe. They cannot move to another European country. In 2011 the European Court of Human Rights found that asylum seekers in Greece are at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. There are deficiencies in the asylum procedure, the detention conditions and the living conditions in Greece.

Not even the police or the state have the exact number of refugees. In 2010 it was estimated that about 80% of all those who entered the European Union, they entered through Greece. So all those people have nowhere to stay, no social welfare, and many of them are just sleeping rough. They are trapped in Greece, with no possibility to leave and no possibility to stay.

Early in the morning, Athens' parks are full of refugees sleeping rough. When they are picked up by the police after crossing the border, they are initially detained, and then left to fend for themselves. Asylum seekers now want to go back to their countries because they have no jobs, they cannot survive in Greece.

It is a situation where there is dire need for European solidarity. Active solidarity. But the other member states want Greece to control the borders so that the people don't go irregularly there. There are many people and many asylum seekers who do not even manage to apply for asylum and may be in the streets of Athens undocumented.

Not only do asylum seekers queue day and night, sometimes waiting for months or even years to start their application, they also say the police forcibly disperse them, preventing them from registering their asylum claims. In these situations, extremist groups take advantage. They find fertile ground to take advantage.

Chrysi Avgi, or Golden Dawn is an extreme right party. In the 2012 elections, they won 18 out of 300 seats in the Greek parliament with 7% of the vote. Mobile phone footage published online shows Golden Dawn supporters singing their anthem and giving nazi salutes. A neo-nazi party, a nazi sympathising party in a territory, in a part of the world where the nazis caused huge pain only a few decades ago, it doesn't logically make any sense, it can't really exist.

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37 Comments / User Reviews

  1. anonymous

    can i get an aaaamen ?

  2. anonymous

    @sonya i'm more a believer of the flying spaghetti monster

  3. anonymous

    lol the hatred in these comments, these are humans fleeiing from war, disease, poverty,... a lot of people from africa i see, richest continent in the world, o wait capitalism, exploitation, 20th century europe. We have the duty to help as much of them as we can, its not even 1 percent of europes population. this comming from a 100% white european BORN -guy somewhere in this heaven we call the EU. peace

  4. sonya

    Wow! Has society no conscience! Of course not because where there is darkness, EVIL will happen! Light is LOVE and LOVE IS LIGHT-True Love is dying for another-like JESUS did for us!

  5. A H

    Ask the immigrants to go to their embassies and consulates ..... who can give emergency papers .... and they can get out from this sh it hole ..... Greeks wouldn't like to beaten on the streets of Cairo or South Africa or Pakistan ....... one sentence explained all in the documentary ....." We didn't leave them any choice in their own countries"

  6. chard01

    Sad but Europe cant simply have an open doors policy we take enough legally!

  7. Gadea

    They have problems everywhere, they go, even in their own countries
    of origin. Doesn't matter of the times are good or bad.

  8. elizabeth wesley

    I feel for these people, displaced without the necessities of life but do they not realize what they are getting into when they leave their country? Maybe it's better to stay where they came from and put their efforts into changing what's wrong there. Greece is bankrupt, how could it be expected to welcome refugees with open arms when they have nothing to offer. Chaos erupts in these situations.

    1. pegdi shi

      you are so right... If we Africans can stop being so brain washed may be we can get better things to do in our countries of origin.. Its not that bad anyway...If i can compare with what they go through for exemple there in Greece

  9. disqus_DckmtFvCrE

    Well, it looks like the Greek state is supporting the police and the far right here. Could this be a deliberately diverting tactic to stop the people rising up against their own corrupt and incompetent establishment that caused this financial calamity in the first place?
    Divide and rule.

  10. Terry Beaton

    It really is a valid point that the problems for all these people are originating in their home countries. However, a point of no return seems to be descending on so many backward places in the world. What the answer is, is past my imagination.

    1. ThomasXxs

      In general, Europe may have already taken in as many 3rd world refugees as they can without creating a real threat to the long-standing ethnic identities of the nations of Europe. Once you go beyond a certain threshold of 3rd world inhabitants in a European state like Greece, does this not risk turning Greece itself into a new 3rd world society, perhaps someday spawning its own influx of refugees into the remaining nations of Europe?

      The main industrial nations already give substantial aid to 3rd world nations every year. And there is also an enormous amount of non-governmental aid to these same nations. It seems at cross-purposes to such massive aid for so many would-be leaders of reform in these 3rd nations to leave and seek the greener pastures of Europe, but only for themselves, while leaving their homelands that much poorer in real leadership and that much further from reform.

      Such periodic releases of discontented people to go abroad can actually be very much to the benefit of corrupt leaders, by serving as a political pressure release valve, thereby helping to keep public displays of resistance to current leadership well under control.. This has been seen many times in Mexico, with those in discontented exodus to the USA becoming a non-factor in Mexican politics.

      Another Mexican export to the USA has been the development of what are called "colonias" on the US side of the Texas border. These are new housing "subdivisions" catering to largely illegal Mexican immigrants at very low prices, but without such things as running water and normal sewage facilities. There may be a central water faucet shared by all the homes, by no plumbing in individual homes, only primitive "outhouses" in place of bathrooms and without regular toilets connected to a municipal sewer system. Most have only unpaved dirt roads and some do not have electrical service to all homes - with telephone and internet connections considered distant luxuries. These can be seen as 3rd world incursions into the USA. Or as pieces of 3rd world Mexican society trying to take root and grow on American soil, but using Mexican housing standards. The State of Texas now has an official program to try and prevent these "colonias" from developing.

      Where most of these refugees are really needed is back in their respective homelands, to potentially form the nucleus of positive change in their own societies - rather than abandoning their homelands in order to line up and savor some of the wealth that the various European nations have built up over many centuries of hard work, freedom, trade and innovation. By allowing the influx of millions of people whose own heritage is sadly NOT one of democracy and freedom, this can eventually risk a serious decline in the very wealth and prosperity that make European lifestyles the elusive goal of so many.

  11. Harry Nutzack

    so where are the UN, the red cross, the red crescent? refugees are mandated to be provided for, those orgs collect funds for the express purpose of providing FOR them. obviously the greek economy can't support these displaced people, so why aren't the international orgs doing it? it would seem a refugee camp would be a far better existence than waiting for thugs to beat you to death, or slow starvation on a diet of dumpster diving finds.

    1. bringmeredwine

      I totally agree!
      Where is everybody?

    2. Harry Nutzack

      my guess? it would "look bad" to have an unsightly refugee camp in "mother europa". might put off the tourists

  12. bringmeredwine

    Well this was a shock to me.
    Where have I been?
    I knew Greece was in economical ruins, but had no idea the police were terrorizing their own people, and the refugees who are trapped there.
    I've never heard of the Golden Dawn.
    Clearly this party is taking advantage of a country torn apart by unemployment and fear for the future.
    The lawyer was right, the Greek people have to rise up and fight their govt. and the police force, and the crazy fascists.
    No one else will step in and save them.
    How can refugees assimilate if no one is even allowed to help them? I'm sure they really regret leaving their home countries, living in a new hell hole, where they can't even leave once they get there.
    Reminds me so much of the Brown Shirts stirring up pre-ww2 Germany against the Jews. The world is watching but no one says anything.

    1. Pysmythe

      Greece is getting ready to ban the Golden Dawn party, and it's about time, too. The recent murder of a leftist rapper there by their minions appears to have been the final straw.

    2. yellowmattercustard

      It is one thing to ban a party. That's easy. Try banning that party's raison d'etre.

    3. Pysmythe

      I don't imagine that it is, in fact, easy to ban a political party in a democratic country, unless it has been shown to advocate violence, with the long-term intention of undermining and circumventing the democratic process, etc., if not disregarding it entirely, as has this one. It isn't illegal to be a neo-nazi, but it is not acceptable to organize politically under such ideologies. If Greece bans the Golden Dawn and they try to sneak back in by the back door, I'm sure they will be found out and their assets confiscated, etc. In addition, Greece has gone up against this sort of thing before. No doubt, however, the former party would try to use this to its advantage: "They only banned us because they know we are right!"

    4. Harry Nutzack

      or they'll just get blackmail-worthy dirt on the pols that ban them, and use it to make new inroads into politics. of course, there's also that often practiced debate technique of political assassination. they already have the hearts and minds of the cops, and probably the military too

    5. Pysmythe

      Greece should certainly be careful about potentially underestimating these thugs... Not too sure if they'd even bother with blackmail, but assassination sounds about right, along with all sorts of other violence. If they go ahead with this ban, that's certainly what I expect, considering their track record so far. My understanding is that they don't have all of the police with them yet... just enough to make a significant difference.

    6. Harry Nutzack

      ever seen the old flick "z-he lives"? it relates to the french conservative party conspiring to murder a liberal pol back in the 60s. it's a true story. the conservatives used a reactionary group of thugs as "below the radar bully boys". they actually committed the murder. since i first heard of GD, that group immediately popped into my dome. also the "bald heads", the street enforcers of jamaican politics.

      blackmail is the lubricant of the wheels of corrupt governance. it kept hoover in charge of the FBI til he died. it kept the FBI from pursuing the mafia during his reign. it's why all the hookers in DC are under strict surveillance (male and female, hetero and homosexual varieties). very similar scenarios play out all over europe as well (look at berlusconni, and the presumed head of the IMF from france). violence makes martyrs, character assassination makes disgraces (rarely do the latter inspire their flock to resistance).

      my guess is GD has a "rabbi" HIGH up in the military. such a group doesn't gain such street power without one, usually. they are the SA (brown shirts) to some hitler who hasn't emerged as of yet. the parallels between hellenic political/economic troubles and the weimar republic are a fair indicator of this possibility. the lyric of "betrayal by subversive elements in conspiracy with malignant foreign entanglements" seems to drift on the breeze. that song has led a few fascist parades in the past century, and the result is usually junta takeover.

  13. D B

    so why are all the refugees camped in Calis trying to get in 2 the UK to rape our system.?confused

  14. Bob Trees

    Sad situation. I hope word gets back to the refugee's countries that it's best to not come to Europe. Make your own country a better country.

    Thank you for the doc. Well put together.

  15. WhooptyDoo DaDay

    My opinion is that if a person wants to assimilate, contribute to a country, and enrich it to make it better, then that type of person deserves to live in that country and be its citizen, but if a person's mentality is the opposite of aforementioned, and such that they believe it should be the country to provide them with a better life, then that will lead to degradation of that country, corruption and plundering of its resources. At the very least an incoming person should be willing to adopt the values of their new country and their culture, learn the language, be productive and beneficial to a new society in some way in exchange for basic needs to get started in their newly adopted country.

    1. ejonezey

      well said,,

    2. WhooptyDoo DaDay

      JFK said it.

    3. ejonezey

      That sounds about right. Ask not what your country can do for you,,,,

    4. WhooptyDoo DaDay

      I don't know where its at. I just heard it somewhere, and then gave it more thought.

    5. ejonezey

      BTW CAn you give me a link to that speech?

  16. Anthony

    @ Michael. Where is/are the source(s) you based your opinion?

    1. Michael

      Anthony.Try watching "UK Border Control" on satellite TV where the third world citizens sneak into trucks travelling to Dover, UK. They openly admit having paid thousands so smugglers could get them into Britain from Asia and Africa. Let them apply for work permits otherwise tolerating them insults those who apply legally. Crossing more than ONE BORDER is sufficient proof they are NOT genuine refugees.European defence forces should deport them ASAP from every port and airport.

    2. Anthony


  17. FreeWorldOrder

    Unfortunately they are seeking refuge in a country who's economic system has virtually collapsed and who cannot even take care of their own citizens. Yet the keep asking the Greek government for monetary help. THERE IS NO HELP THERE!!!!

  18. Michael

    The so called "refugees / asylum-seekers" pay thousands to reach Europe and break it's immigration laws then accuse themselves of being poor and expect taxpayer sympathy. They only needed to cross their first local border, no need to travel further.

    1. Serge

      Count yourself lucky in that you were not born in one of these countries...I guarantee you would be changing your tune!

    2. Michael

      Why do third world citizens insist upon breeding more poverty? Europe needs to resemble Europe.