From Al Jazeera: Greek MP joins Syrian refugee hunger strike

7 Dec

Al Jazeera’s the best outlet for often scathingly honest news and critique about Greece coming from other than the usual direction: i.e. our Nearer East, which probably has our number more clearly than any Western observer.  In fact, Mr. Pathetic from Magnificent Turks” and the origins of this blog asked to be removed from this blog’s mailing list, because his delicate patriotic sensibilities were ruffled by a recent Al Jazeera repost: Συγχαρητήρια! Congratulations! for trumpetting Al Jazeera headline: “Greece, a front line for state-sponsored racism in Europe” , an article which continues with the subtitle: Once the cradle of European civilization, Athens is now the center of a continental decivilizing process.”  So maybe we can excuse the boy his legitimate fatherland-loving outrage.

And today comes this:

132820-102472-mixelogiannakis_2Yiannis Michelogiannakis — «Πήραμε λάθος δρόμο» (δείτε video) some backstory– (click)

Greek MP joins Syrian refugee hunger strike“:

A Greek MP has joined Syrian refugees in a hunger strike outside the Athens parliament to protest against the government’s refusal to help them move to other European countries to reunite with relatives.

Yiannis Michelogiannakis, a deputy from the leftist opposition Syriza party, said he decided to strike after an activist group said two protesters had died, one of a heart attack and one while trying to cross the border into Albania.

Their deaths could not be independently verified. The government said on Tuesday it could not help the refugees because they had not applied for asylum or shelter.

About 300 Syrian refugees have camped outside parliament since November 19 demanding the right of passage to other European countries and some have started a hunger strike.

The migrants refuse to register because that, according to European Union law, would mean they would have to stay in Greece as the first EU country they entered as refugees.

“A lawmaker’s duty is to be here on the streets, on the side of the weak, not inside the luxurious parliament,” the deputy, a 51-year-old doctor, told Reuters.

Michelogiannakis added that he was also striking over the 2015 budget due to be voted on Sunday and new EU/IMF austerity measures to ensure an early bailout exit for Greece.

He was expelled from the Socialist PASOK party after voting against the bailout last year and joined Syriza.

“I’m determined to stay here opposite parliament with the Syrians. I will pop in tomorrow to vote against the bailout budget and I’ll come back,” he said. “I’m determined to stay until the ordeal of the Syrians ends.”

About 46,500 Syrians have arrived in Greece since 2011, more than half of them this year, and most want to move on to other EU countries where they have relatives, according to the interior ministry. It is not known how many have slipped across Greek borders to make their way further north illegally.

Can’t say for sure how “real” or “sincere” this is, or if it’s just more of Syriza’s populist demagoguery, but the Talmud says that a good act creates good consequences, even if the actor’s intentions are not entirely pure…so, go for it, I say.  It’s certainly speaks well for Greeks generally (or at least Syriza supporters) and is a positive sign that an MP from a party that technically has the numbers to topple the ruling coalition can do something like this without fear of alienating his base for being an “illegal refugee” supporter.  Some Greeks still have a soul or — more encouragingly perhaps — a mind.  At least enough of one to take their thoughts off of their narcissistic, navel-gazing self-pity.



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