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Greece’s Floating Refugee Wall Idea SOA: Sunk on Arrival

Αssociated Press

File- In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 photo refugees and migrants aboard an overcrowded dinghy as they cross the Aegean Sea, from Turkey, that is seen in the background, to the coast of Lesbos island, Greece. Greek authorities have invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer-long (1.7 miles) floating barrier system aimed at stopping migrants from reaching the country's islands from the nearby coast of Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Okay, who floated this idea? Who's the rocket scientist – make that marine scientist – who came up with this scheme?

A 2.7-kilometer (1.67-mile) 1.64-foot high wall to float on the Aegean Sea – where boats have sunk in rough waters – to keep refugees and migrants from reaching the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey?

Come on, don’t be shy, raise your hand, at least 1.64 feet high so we can see you so we can all have a good laugh. Except it’s not funny that scores of people, including children, have drowned trying to make the perilous journey from Turkey, where they had first gone fleeing war and strife in their homelands.

They keep being sent to Greek islands by smugglers that Turkey lets operate during an essentially-suspended swap deal with the European Union that has seen only about 2,000 returned in almost four years and are so desperate they pile into rickety craft and rubber dinghies with their families, including babies.

They want what you want, a decent life with no one shooting at them or dropping bombs on their houses, but the EU closed its borders and dumped the problem largely on Greece, Spain, Italy, and Malta.

That’s because they can only seek asylum in the first country in which they land, and no one yet has taken a boat from Turkey, Syria, or North Africa and landed on the Thames in London, the Seine in Paris, or the Spree in Berlin, countries where most want to go.

Greece is overrun with about 100,000 refugee and migrants, most from Syria’s civil war and Afghanistan, but also those from sub-Saharan Africa seeking work and not fleeing for their lives, making them ineligible for sanctuary. With another 50,000 coming after New Democracy won July 7, 2019 snap elections, Prime Minister Kyriakos “Ivy League” Mitsotakis admitted his government wasn’t ready for the new hordes and reacted with plans to move 20,000 off the islands – which hasn’t happened yet – and to replace inhumane camps with detention centers to sort out those who won’t be getting asylum – which hasn’t happened yet – and send 20,000 back to Turkey, which, that’s right, hasn’t happened yet.

Predictably, there’s been ceaseless violence in island camps between ethnic groups and with riot police called in to quell trouble with human beings frustrated over waiting two years or more for asylum reviews and living in open sewers.

If Mitsotakis really cares, let him spend a night at the Moria camp on Lesbos, which former premier Alexis “Flip Flop” Tsipras didn’t when his Looney Left SYRIZA was in power and had an open door policy inviting more to come.

New Democracy doesn’t want them any more than do other EU countries that are repressive, like Hungary and Bulgaria, or North Macedonia, which built a wall to keep them out, as Greece has in places along the Evros River land border with Turkey.

Now someone – it hasn’t been said who – came up with the cockamamie idea that a 19-inch high floating net barrier would deter people who’ve had to jump bomb craters, duck missiles and militia, eat insects, and are on boats more likely to sink than stay afloat.

First, did anyone check and see that a net 1.67 miles long isn’t quite big enough to cover Lesbos’ coast which is 199 miles? Can the net be moved around real fast in case someone on the boat thinks to, you know, maybe steer around it?

I’m trying to imagine who briefed Mitsotakis with this idea but it had to be a Greek version of a Trump advisor who would tell the Greek leader that it would cost only $554,000 – and TURKEY WOULD PAY FOR IT!

What, no one thought of maybe putting piranha in the Aegean or sharks in the sea? That might keep them away. Greece has already been accused by human rights groups and Turkey, where they are no human rights, of pushing back refugee boats so this idea is juuuusst a bit outside.

Why stop at a sea wall? Get Bob Uecker to do play-by-play on live streaming from Greek Coast Guard or EU Frontex patrol boats who haven’t been able to stop refugees and migrants and are just a little more mobile than a net bobbing on the sea.

Wanting to be humanitarian, of course, the Greek government said the fence has to have lights in case boats come at night, which might be a little tough to see in bad weather when the waves are more than 19 inches high.

Even the newspaper Kathimerini, New Democracy’s house organ in Greece, which defends Mitsotakis against all comers, said the floating wall was “wishful thinking,” about as tough as they’ll get on him, so he should heed that. This hare-brained idea belongs right up there with Ralph Kramden’s Chef of the Future trying to peddle Handy Housewife Helpers with Ed Norton as a sidekick on The Honeymooners. At least those could core-a-apple and the floating fence can’t do that.

Nor can it keep away people so desperate they are willing to take their chances that a boat can get over, around or through a floating 19-inch-high net, unless they get tangled it in and capsize which means the government would have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.