New Democracy Capitalist ersatz mouthpiece/pit bull Adonis Georgiadis, who honed his salesmanship skills peddling revisionist history books on TV infomercials before being elevated to the position of Health Minister – then was replaced – had a glib answer why 28 immigrants were wounded last year by two workers at a strawberry farm in the Peloponnesian area of Manolada when they were protesting being unpaid.
He said the hired gunmen, much like the shotgun bulls on chain gangs in the American South, fired in the air and the bullets somehow came down and hit only the immigrants. Must have been Cretan marksmen.
Unfortunately, the shooters said they had fired at the ground and the bullets ricocheted, hitting the immigrants, making them the first to use smart bullets.
This fiction was believed unanimously by a seven-judge panel in the western Greek city of Patra, who acquitted the farm’s owner and foreman, convicting the fall guy shooters, one to a sentence of 14 years and seven months and the other to eight years and seven months.
Those were fake convictions to find scapegoats to appease critics who aren’t buying it, and neither is the country’s high court, which is going to review the decision. They should check what the judges were smoking while they’re at it.
The two convicted were given the option – common in Greece which goes easy on convicts unless they’re immigrants – of buying out their jail time at the rate of 5 euros a day. Now we know the value Greek authorities put on the lives of illegal immigrants.
The two convicted have to come up with 22,950 euros and 15,650 euros respectively and can avoid jail, carry guns and keep firing away at immigrants if they want because the lives of immigrants in Greece are worthless.
It doesn’t matter that they do the menial work that Greeks won’t, even in a crushing economic crisis with record unemployment and deep poverty. If Greece still had triremes, the immigrants would be shackled to the oars.
Greece is being overrun with illegal immigrants, with little help from the European Union to stop it, but that’s a different story. This one is about what happens to those who are here.
They shouldn’t be allowed to stay, although if Barack Obama was the Greek Prime Minister he’d give them free passes, but what’s at stake here is how Greece treats human beings who don’t have any advantages in life and shouldn’t be shot at, assaulted or chased down the street.
Predictably, the verdict set off outrage among immigrants and decent Greeks as well as their lawyer, Moisis Karabeidis, who said the decision was “shameful” and would give a license to Greek bosses to mistreat migrant laborers.
“This is an inhuman, shameful decision… I am ashamed to be Greek,” Karabeidis told reporters, as dozens of migrants and their supporters staged a protest outside the courtroom. “You can imagine what kind of (working) conditions will prevail in the area from now on,” he said.
The immigrants were working in temperatures up to 104 degrees, toiling for many hours a day for 22 euros, or about $30, but said the owner still wouldn’t pay them for long period of time. There was another crime here: hiring illegal immigrants, but the owner wasn’t prosecuted for that either.
Earlier this summer, another court, apparently with judges who have some humanity, convicted two men of the murder of another immigrant who was killed while riding his bicycle to work, so hopefully not all is lost yet.
That’s what you’d think except that a Greek prosecutor, days after the Manolada decision, showed again the prevailing attitude of the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose campaign two years ago included a promise to rid Greece of illegal immigrants.
The prosecutor decided to stop an investigation into a Coast Guard operation in which 11 immigrants drowned off the Aegean islet of Farmakonisi in January.
That showed Greece is willing to look the other way in such cases, European Union Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks said.
“Impunity risks covering these serious human rights violations. This would be a grave mistake,” said Muiznieks.
“Greek authorities have to take more resolute efforts to ensure accountability for this tragedy,” he said. Instead, it’s making none and the smell of cover-up is strong indeed.
The small fishing boat overloaded with 28 passengers entered Greek waters illegally from Turkey on January 20. The Coast Guard said it was towing the boat to Farmakonisi when it capsized and sank, causing 11 passengers – eight women and three children, all from Afghanistan – to drown.
“We want the investigation to be reopened. The people who are responsible for the death of our loved ones must be brought to justice,” the families of the victims said, to deaf ears.
Survivors claimed the boat was being towed at high speed back into Turkish waters, an unlawful “push back.”
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and Coast Guard officials said the survivors weren’t believable, mabye because they were water-logged. Lost is the brave effort of the Coast Guard in other cases to save immigrant lives when boats capsized.
The survivors said Coast Guard crew members ignored their pleas to take the women and children on their boat before the accident, and then allegedly stood by as passengers struggled in rough seas. That’s Greek justice for immigrants.