From A World to Win News Service:

Western Civilization: “Death to Migrants!”

April 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Migrants protesting the closed border at Idomeni, Greece, April 10Greek/Macedonian border at Idomeni, April 10. A Syrian man at the site of the attack told the New York Times, “This is the last day. This is our last hope. We will either go through and die or we will die in Greece.” AP photo

April 11, 2016. A World to Win News Service. On April 10, after the 28 European Union countries voted to shut their borders and ship refugees back to Turkey, Macedonian police attacked a crowd of about five hundred migrants who had massed on the Greek side of the double-row, barbed wire border demanding to be let through. They unleashed volley after volley of riot gas canisters, stun grenades, rubber bullets and streams of high pressure liquid from water cannons.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), its medical staff treated some 260 casualties. About 200 people were treated for breathing difficulties. Some were knocked unconscious when fumes blew into the tents where more than 11,000 people have been living in the mud and rain since the borders were closed March 20. More than 30 were wounded by rubber bullets, including three children under the age of ten, and another 30 had other kinds of open wounds. MSF reports that pregnant mothers and children were among the casualties, injured by rubber bullets. Although the attempt to break through the border and force Europe to grant them asylum was led by young men, the majority of people in the camp are women and children, and the children are getting sicker and sicker.

These courageous migrants who refuse to give up should be supported. A Syrian man at the site of the attack in the Greek/Macedonian border town of Idomeni told the New York Times, “This is the last day. This is our last hope. We will either go through and die or we will die in Greece.” The alternative to dying in Greece or Macedonia right now is to accept being shipped to Turkey, where there is little hope for a work permit or anything other than being warehoused in a giant people-trafficking scheme under which the EU pays Turkey per each soul sent there.

Although protecting Syrians is supposedly the reason for the U.S.-led bombing and creeping invasion of Syria, right now, Turkish border guards are shooting Syrians, including children, trying to walk into Turkey. According to Amnesty International, it is an “open secret in the region” that Turkey is also forcibly returning refugees to Syria, because the European powers have agreed to pay them to house only a certain number and no more. Amnesty declared, “In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have wilfully ignored the simplest of facts. Turkey is not a safe place for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe every day.”

Many others being sent as human cargo from Greece to Turkey are Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis, who have been told that the EU refuses to consider them refugees. Their misfortune is to come from countries under the dominion of the U.S.—they are fleeing from situations and governments created by the U.S. and its European allies, especially the UK, France and Germany. For the EU, this just shows they are ungrateful and can’t be allowed to escape the blessings that the West has bestowed on them: societies imprisoned in backwardness and ruled by reactionary Islamist governments fighting rival anti-Western reactionary Islamists.

The EU’s division of refugees into “economic migrants” and potential “political refugees” (which means people from countries the West doesn’t currently run) is not meant to help any group of people but to divide these fleeing masses and deceive public opinion.

A reported clash between Afghan and Syrian refugees on the Greek island of Chios has to be considered a moment of success for the policy of getting slaves to fight slaves that goes back at least to Roman times. But after this incident, about 800 people tore down the wire fences surrounding the detention centre and marched into the tourist-destination port to camp in full view of the world. There they are still in danger of attack by both the police and the Golden Dawn Greek neo-Nazi party. A similar situation now exists in Piraeus, where 4,500 refugees are refusing to leave the area in front of the ferry terminal.

The day after the Idomeni attack, long after it had been shown on international media and been widely denounced by NGOs and others in Greece as well as abroad, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called it “a great shame for European society and a country that wants to be a part of it” (namely Macedonia, whose entry into the EU has been blocked by Greece because of historical rivalry). This was a shameful dodge of responsibility on his part.

This attack came just after the Greek parliament passed a law making it legal to deport refugees despite the utter illegality under Greek, European Union and international law. Whether they admit it or not, the Macedonian police were shooting on behalf of the Greek government and the European Union—so ready to punish Greece for not paying banks and so ready to reward Greece to stop, humiliate, harm and deport migrants.

This attack was only one in a series that have been continuing for a month. It was not a blot on “Western civilization”, but part of the workings of a global system of exploitation that has split the world into imperialist countries and the countries they dominate economically, politically and militarily, even while the imperialists and other reactionaries also fight each other. Faced with the consequences produced by their system itself, they cannot be expected to react other than with force when the “stability” of that unjust system is threatened.

The worth, dignity and rights of individuals, the sanctity of human life and all the other fine words the Western powers pretend to uphold are being massively trampled before the eyes of everyone who allows themselves to see.

“Death to migrants!” This is not only the chant of fascist gangs seeking to assault refugees in Greece and many other European cities, it is also the deliberate, if unspoken, policy of the European Union and NATO.



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