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Columnists

Greece Only Wants The ‘Real Refugees’ Now

March 13, 2022

It’s right out of a Tom Clancy novel but suspend your disbelief and imagine that Turkey – emboldened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and making moves on other countries as a cowardly NATO retreats – invades Greece and Greeks by the hundreds of thousands flee, the United States silent.

They get on little rubber dinghies and rafts and other vessels and head for North Africa seeking asylum, but are repelled and pushed back because they are white Christians, or taken into detention camps for years.

They wouldn’t be, the kind of “right refugees” – the kind that Greece wants, like the Ukrainians pouring out of their country as Russia advances and the Eunuch Union won’t block Russian banks dealing in energy from the SWIFT system of international transfers.

That makes up 40 percent of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that keeps supplying Russian dictator Vladimir ‘Snake Eyes’ Putin with cash to keep bombing civilians in Ukraine and killing ethnic Greeks.

Instead of choking off Russia’s supply of money, the EU – reliant on Russian gas and oil – has given Putin a cash lifeline while hoping that other penalties, some of which are hard indeed, will work.

The EU can find other oil and gas for a short run, longer than Putin could last without any cash if all his banks were cut off from the world SWIFT system, but that won’t happen.

The United Kingdom’s Shell put out a phony release that it was a “difficult” decision to keep buying Russian oil but in the boardrooms they were happily dancing the Barnya and playing the Soviet national anthem because they got it at a discount and can pass on the higher costs the invasion brought. Win-win!

Sanctions are as effective as sports boycotts, Americans screaming they will never go to a Major League Baseball game again because of fury over the season being delayed by collective bargaining squabbles between rich athletes and uber-rich owners.

If there’s an opening day, the fans will be elbowing each other in the face to get seats and all will be forgotten, just as Putin’s War will be even if Russia occupies or even seizes Ukraine.

Some months after that, or perhaps sooner, you will see EU and western leaders smiling at a summit with him and shaking his red right hand that will never be washed of the blood of babies, whose families were – like most Russians – Orthodox and most Russian-speaking.

Ukraine needed weapons, not tweets, to have any chance against Russia’s might despite resistance reminding of Greeks battling tooth-and-nail against the Nazis in World War II and never relenting. Heroes fight like Greeks and Ukrainians.

The invasion could produce millions of Ukrainian refugees lucky enough to escape the state terrorism that was unleashed for them with Russia still a member of the Useless Nations Security Council, a farce beyond mocking.

More than a million refugees and migrants passed through Greece beginning in 2015 with war in Afghanistan and Syria – who are, you know, ‘war refugees’ just like those escaping Ukraine.

Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachis apparently didn’t know that, although Greece has been holding up to 100,000 of them in detention camps for years while they wait for asylum applications to be processed.

He told the Greek Parliament that the Ukrainians getting out before Putin’s Bombs land on their heads and baby carriages, “are war refugees, these are real refugees,” talking to SKAI TV.

Greece, like racist EU countries such as Hungary and Poland, has said that there could be terrorists hiding among the refugees and migrants from predominantly Muslim countries and people who aren’t white.

Greek politicians have long forgotten Greek refugees to the United States and Australia were called ‘wogs’ in disparagement.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Kenneth Roth said Greece should not pretend only Ukrainians are the “real refugees,” and the group – as have other activists, major media reports, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) said Greece pushed back refugees and migrants across borders to their deaths.

“The Greek government routinely denies involvement in pushbacks, while cracking down on those who report them,” said HRW, which Greek officials said was a lie despite testimony from witnesses and survivors and even some videos.

In one of the rare moments he was right, major opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, whose government opened the country to refugees and migrants during its 4 1/2-year reign that ended with a loss to New Democracy in July, 2018 snap elections, was equally critical.

He said that it was “shameful (to hear that) refugees from Ukraine are real, but dark-skinned ones are not,” as activists joined in the chorus of complaint that Greece especially doesn’t want Muslims or non-Christians.

Greece is right to take in as many Ukrainians who want to come here, but can’t forget those in limbo in detention camps on islands and the mainland. There are doctors and professionals and skilled people among them who could benefit Greek society – just as Greek-Americans did when they were assimilated.

My grandfather, for whom I was named, went to Lowell, Massachusetts early in the 20th Century and ran a ‘kafenion’ named Αρμονία (Harmony) in a city full of fellow Greeks, some two dozen other Greek cafes in the 1930’s there. And there’s places like that in Athens run by refugees just as real as those from Ukraine.

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