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EYE-BALL Opinion on – Greece – the downward spiral …

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Title:
Greece – the downward spiral …
13th July 2012.
News over the last few days out of Greece concerns gangs targeting immigrants. The story reported on a number of wire services and carries much the same story – please read below:

Seeds of hatred sprout in soil of Greek crisis

| Source: RT TV | Date: 12th July 2012 | Link to On-Line Story. |

Greek Extreme Right Goldern Party being sworn in ... June 17 2012

Gangs are attacking immigrants all over Greece – a fact ignored by authorities, says Human Rights Watch. Some are allegedly linked to the far-right Golden Dawn party. Migrants are blamed for crimes and for eating into shrinking government subsidies.

­Moreover, police often discourage victims from filing complaints and sometimes even threaten them with detention if they insist on an investigation.

“Migrants and asylum seekers spoke to Human Rights Watch of virtual no-go areas in Athens after dark because of fear of attacks by often black-clad groups of Greeks intent on violence,” says Tuesday’s report by the advocacy group, as cited by Reuters. “While tourists are welcome, migrants and asylum seekers face a hostile environment, where they may be subject to detention in inhuman and degrading conditions, and risk destitution and xenophobic violence.”

The report is based on interviews with 59 people who experienced racist attacks between August 2009 and May 2012. In two of these cases, the attacks were directed against pregnant women.

Human Rights Watch says certain facts suggest that perpetrators attacking migrants are associated with local vigilante groups and the far-right Golden Dawn party. It had no evidence, however, that the group directed such attacks.

The party itself, which campaigned on a pledge to clear Greece of all immigrants, denies any connection with violence directed against migrants, as well as denying its ideology is neo-Nazi.

Greece is a major gateway for illegal migrants from Asia and Africa flocking to the European Union for a better life. The issue has become particularly painful as the country goes through its fifth straight year of recession and record-high unemployment is fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment.

Scapegoating as new national ideology

Meanwhile, violent clashes between supporters of the Golden Dawn party and groups of anarchists shook the western city of Agrinio on Monday night. Police reports say that the fighting caused considerable damage to cars and shops, leaving the city’s streets in a mess.

Yanis Varoufakis, an economist and lecturer at Athens University, says that “the serpent’s egg” of hatred begins to hatch whenever people lose hope and those spreading the hatred end up as the only winners.

“It should act as a warning for all of us that whenever a social economy implodes, as opposed to just going to a recession, scapegoating becomes the order of the day,” he told RT.

Greece’s authorities themselves are infiltrated by this kind of mentality, says the economist.

“We have, unfortunately, an extremely cozy relationship between neo-Nazis and police, and we have neo-Nazis in Parliament. And we have the breakdown, effectively, of the consensus that prevails since World War II in Greece, where fascism and Nazism were simply not on,” he explained.

“The only people who win are the ones who spread the [seeds] and narratives of hatred,” Varoufakis concluded.

The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party, whose flag closely resembles the Nazi swastika, got around 7 per cent of the vote, which launched it from obscurity to win 21 seats in Greece’s Parliament in the May 6 election – the first time it had passed the threshold to enter the legislative body. More than half of the country’s police officers voted for Golden Dawn.

Torrence of this type of victimisation revisits the early days of Fascism in the 1930’s … because your different you don’t fit in.  In the 30’s it was Jews being sought after and now that same intolerance and anger is re-emerging.

This can be seen in Australia as well with the public outcry against he ‘boat people’.  There is hatred being expressed all over the airwaves and interactive media avenues. This rage has to be dealt with and I don’t mean through harsh penalties or band-aid legislation.  If education is the ‘silver bullet’ for everything – why has it failed so many people, failed to instill the tolerance on these sensitive issues.

On another linked story to this matter the following was reported by the ABC overnight.

Disabled man’s jailing angers consorting law critics

| Author: Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop | Date: 13th July 2012 | Link to On-Line Story. |

A key lawyer representing bikie groups says the use of controversial New South Wales police powers on a young disability pensioner vindicates claims the laws would be abused.

So-called consorting laws allow New South Wales police to charge people for communicating four or more times with convicted criminals, with an associated jail term of up to three years.

The law was aimed at curtailing bikie gang culture following a raft of shootings in Sydney and is part of a suite of tough new police powers.

Inverell man Charlie Foster, 21, who was born with an intellectual disability and cannot read or write, was sentenced to between nine and 12 months’ jail a fortnight ago for a series of shopping trips and walks with three friends who have prior convictions.

Bikie lawyer Wayne Baffsky, who will represent Foster without charge at appeal, says the charges show the laws have the capacity to be misused.

“This is the very thing police said they wouldn’t do, and now they’re doing it,” he told the ABC’s 7.30.

“I don’t understand why people aren’t jumping up and down and screaming about this.

“It isn’t right. It’s going against what the police said they were going to use the Act for and now we see the truth of it.

“Everybody is at risk and everybody’s at risk before they’ve even tried to deal with outlaw motorcycle club members.”

Jack Hayes is one of the three friends police caught Foster consorting with.

“As we’ve gone across the road, I’ve looked up and I’ve seen the paddy wagon at the top of that hill,” Mr Hayes said.

“I’ve said to Charlie, ‘here comes the filth’. Charlie says, ‘put your head down and take no notice’.

“They’ve pulled up beside us and told us to stop walking. They told us that they gave us a warning a few days before that.

“We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were going down the street to do our shopping and pay the rent. If we don’t do that we won’t have anywhere to live.

“We’ve all had similar charges like assault and affrays and what-not. Me and Charlie have had one affray together I think.

“That’s literally the only charge me and Charlie’s had together.”
Rocky road

Inverell in the state’s north is a long way from the gun violence that has rocked Sydney’s streets, but like any town it has its fair share of troublemakers.

Foster and his friends – Mr Hayes, Damien Case and Eli Morris – have had several run-ins with the law since their early teens and have all served time for violent offences.

The consorting charges have seen Foster imprisoned for a second time.

At 13, he had his first brush with the law and he picked up a drug habit. First it was marijuana, later speed and prescription drugs, including oxycontin – the opiod known as hillbilly heroin.

Foster has been charged with driving on drugs, convicted with assault and charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 18. He has previously served a 12-month jail term.

The legacy of small-town crime has taken its toll on his mother Tricia Harrison.

“He’ll use anything he can get his hands on. He’s got other issues and that makes me sad in itself,” she said.

Ms Harrison says more jail time is not the answer.

“Jail’s not the place for him because in jail you can get your hands on everything, you know what I mean?” she said.

At age 23, Mr Case has been in jail seven times. He was targeted too after offering Foster a place to stay.

“Having the police rock up at at me door and givin’ us warnings for consorting here – you know, that sort of stuff’s not on.

“That’s intimidating. That’s threatening behaviour.” … continues …

This is an example of Legislation to far – sending a disabled person to goal for association is criminal and serves as an example of injustice.  The full facts are not disclosed in the story – but for a Judge to hand the sentence down as reported – there has to be more to the reported story – or at least you would think.

Both these stories have linkage and points to where society is headed. The cracks are getting wider and Government’s have no answers.  People’s desperation will be responsive and the Law and Order we live with and treasure will have faded into the night.  Fear will become instilled where there was none – society should and has a right to be wary of what the future holds.

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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Link to Previous EYE-BALL Posts.

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The EYE-BALL Opinion …

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  1. david the pragmatist
    July 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Did you read this correctly. Charlie Foster maybe intellectually handicapped (after all who hasn’t got Bi Polar these days) but he has a criminal record and as such i do not understand the purpose of the article. The Greek situation is terrible but endemic in a dysfunctional society, the Police have the right to vote for whoever they like …maybe the question should be…. how did they get there.
    The question re Australia re Boat people is that the public does not like them getting benefits and advantages that Australians do not receive.
    What do expect politicians or anyone for that matter to do about it?

  2. July 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    David, the ‘handicapped’ sentence was for ‘association’ … no ifs, buts, or elsewhys … being a criminal with a record does not mean a lot when you consided the crime he was convicted for …

    It seems to be a case of a Law being passed to target Bikies, but being used outside its intended targets. The guy went to a shopping mall … and what were the criminal offences of the consorts …

    Civil libities are under threat by default if Lawmakers claim they need a Law to target a specific criminal target, but then use it to collar other areas over association where no criminal intent is proved.

    Surely you get this right …

    As for your comments re the ‘boat-people’ – ‘Australians don’t like them getting benefits’ … that is media spin … the problem is much bigger and you know it … people’s anger on this issue is misdirected anger at so many other things they can’t get to have a say on … Carbon Tax, Slipper, Thompson, and a bad government …

    The connection was made in that Greek’s far right have a foothold in power and migrants are now being targeted – how many steps will it take to go from hated ‘boat people’ to migrant bashings … do you not remember the Indian student bashings and death a few years ago – Australia has capability to go the same was as Greece – all populations do … but as in 1930’s Germany – burying your head and saying ‘not my problem’ will untimitaly invite the problem right up to your door.

  3. david the pragmatist
    July 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Humanity by nature is dysfunctional.
    If you read the transcript of the conversation re the intellectually handicapped you will note the reference to the police was “filth”. Sorry but that says to me that they are scum and no harm was being done given the nature of that and past crimes. Imperfect yes, practical probably, understandable yes, am i sympathetic no.

    Boat people, sorry your entitled to your opinion but you would acknowledge that your out of touch with real people. Trust me across a broad spectrum there is a strong consensus from all levels of life with the posible exception of academics who would be sympathisers for reasons again of not being in touch. I know boat people and the ones I know I quiet like ! good luck to the ones that get through. I feel for them like anybody else in this world who are disadvantaged.
    Nothing changes but to my overall sympathetic or empathetic view. I personally feel greater fear for the children in Africa than a few boat people who have undertaken a Russian Roulette trip to get here.

    Your whole attitude is your opinion and good luck to you. BUT you will get very little sympathy for your views by main stream lower and middle and upper classes in this country.
    Accept that and go forward, we are probably wrong and you are right but it is not the consensus. You are probably one of the very, maybe extreme few that holds that opinion from the lower class you belong to!
    Please note that genius does not take you out of your sociological position and in your case your particular genius has not ever been geared to social reform and you really have never mixed with ordinary people in the past 30 years or so and that trait is further endorsed by your current hermitage.

    Please do not take these comments personally as much as understanding where you sit on the food chain.ie. easily replaced by a boat person or a Greek tradegy !

  4. July 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    You’re like a child having to be told over and over how to wipe your ass …

    Of these two linked stories – you chose to focus on the ‘handicapped’ story but not because of the Law of Association, but because you think you know ‘boat people’.

    The larger issue here is the Greek ‘gangs bashing migrants’ and Australians responding with hate comments against ‘boat people’. Surely you see the connection with Fascism and the 1930’s … whether I be a minority of one and as you say divorced from mainstream opinion … black is black, and white is white … if the majority live in shades of grey then I am happy to have complete faith in my opinions … clearly black or white.

    Convincing people like you- living in a dull dimmed light, surviving a squashed existence between compliance and having to drink the coolee … I am happy to shine the light to lead you out of the grey and murky haze …

  5. epa
    August 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hey from across the sea! This is just what I was thinking of, and you did it well. Thanks

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