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Dimko-piperkata 06-28-2009 12:17 PM

Racism from Greece and Greeks
[quote][B]The Mail Nazi: 'No Mail For You!'; Greece's handling of Ethnic Macedonian political mail[/B]

[I]June 28, 2009
Alexandra Aleksovska[/I]


There is an adage that you can tell a lot about a country by the way it treats women. I would add to that that you can also tell a lot about a country by the way its postal service works. The postage system might sound drab and boring, but think about it, entire economies depend on invoices and contracts being sent. Given that the postal service often has relatively low wages, employs a lot of people from all over each particular country and has more contact with a person's physical residence than any other organization, it tends to reflect national culture a lot better than say, a country's international airline. For that reason I believe the postal service always seems to be a good reflection of the character of a nation.

In the US the postal system is seen as being efficient, trusted, upholding values, doing whatever it takes to get the mail through and every now and then one of its employees 'goes postal' and guns down a few people; one may see a resemblance to the way the United States behaves internationally. In Japan, the postal system is reliable, works hard and due to the cheap capital provided by its banking business was one of the reasons why Japan was able to expand explosively from the 1950s until the 1980s. Bangladesh for example, has a postal system that reflects it's government – corrupt. I sent a friend in Bangladesh a new, sealed, Kenny G CD via airmail. It arrived at her door three months later. According to her it had been at the post office in Dhaka for two and a half months. The CD had slight scratching and the booklet showed signs of heavy usage. Based on that experience, I'd conclude that the post office in Bangladesh is corrupt; or at the least have a communal view of property, and are also Kenny G fans.

Here in Australia, our postal system also reflects our culture. If it is delivered by Australia Post, the service is good and as efficient as any in the world. However, when it comes to the outsourced contract workers, you get a feel for the way we Australians can sometimes act when we are unsupervised. I used to live in a rural area where the postman was a contractor. Raining? No mail. Good surf? No mail. High petrol prices? Mail every second day. I did have face to face contact with the contract postman a few times; one time was particularly memorable. I had a university friend send me a DVD from her ANU dorm in Canberra. As the postman handed the small standard DVD-sized parcel to me, he gave me a knowing look and a sly smile. It turns out that Canberra is the adult DVD capital of Australia – the only place where X-rated videos can be legally obtained. I'd imagine 90%+ of DVDs coming from Canberra have titles like Magnificent Melons 4, Mickey does Mykonos or Cathy the Raging Coprophile Part 5. I assure you, if you are reading this, you lazy postal contractor, it was a home-made DVD of my cousin's wedding, OK?

But what about dear old Greece? Well their postal system got some publicity last year when a 1996 book on it entitled 'Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers' was awarded the 'Diagram of Diagrams' award for having the strangest book title of all time (my own personal favorite however remains 1978's 'Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice'). Greek rural postmen may seem like a innocent bunch of people. You could imagine them riding bicycles through old villages, delivering the morning mail, before sitting down with their colleagues and having a nice 5 Euro coffee for the entire afternoon while they complain about Western imperialism and other conspiracies. Innocent? Not in the least.

It turns out that these quaint rural postmen have been involved in a type of scam that is rarely seen in the western world. During the recent election campaign in Greece, the party that campaigns mostly on the theme of Macedonian minority rights, Vinozito, decided to use a direct-mail mail-out to reach potential voters. No media station would allow anything as 'treasonous' as an ad campaign aimed at a minority that doesn't officially exist, so this was one of the only alternatives available.

The EU parliamentary elections were held on the first weekend of June. The mail was sent from the Vinozito offices early in May. On June 23rd, almost 3 weeks after the elections, the Vinozito party was informed that a package was waiting for them at the local post office. The package consisted of those pre-election letters that the post office refused to deliver. Why would the post office refuse to deliver mail?

Well if it were a one-off event, we might wonder, maybe Greek postmen are just unreliable? The problem is that there has been a decades long established pattern of persecution by the Greek government, through its various organizations, against the Macedonian minority and anybody who represents them. For example, in 2005 the TV station NET banned a travel program on Greek Macedonia because the Ethnic Macedonians in it were speaking Macedonian. Greece has been convicted at the ECJ (European Court of Justice) for not allowing a Macedonian organization to incorporate. Reporters have been arrested, news articles have been omitted, film has been stolen - and that is just the last decade. Given that history, I doubt it is an isolated accident. It appears that the Greek rural postman, as immortalized Derek Willen's 1996 book, is less like some quaint idyllic pillar of the rural community and is actually more like a 'Mail Nazi' – the postal version of Seinfeld's famous 'Soup Nazi'. One can imagine him sorting letters shouting 'Minority party? No mail for you!' - as there is no other rational explanation as to why every letter sent by the Vinozito party was not forwarded on to the addressee. It really appears that the postal service has been used as a political tool by the Greek government against a minority party. This is in Greece – a supposedly European country.

A few months ago, a leaked Greek Secret Service document from the early 1980s became public. It suggested using all government organizations against the Macedonian minority. The behavior of the Greek government indicates that they may have been following that script. All the while, the Greek government has been announcing that there are no Macedonians in Greece, despite the fact that the United Nations, the US State Department, the Council of Europe, the European Council on Racism, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have all stated that a Macedonian minority exists and is being persecuted in Greece. Really Greece, if there are no minorities in Greece, why are you scared that they will get political material. If Macedonians are like unicorns and don't exist, why steal their mail?

What is awful about this behavior is that it is occurring in an EU member, a NATO member, a country that people often associate with the Enlightened West. What do you think would happen if an incumbent US political party decided to block the advertising of the opposing party? What do you think would happen if the incumbent party abused the USPS by stopping the mail of its opponents prior to an election? What if the previous administration had banned Obama from using mail to connect with voters or threatened media outlets so they wouldn't carry Obama's advertisements? There would be an outcry and whoever ordered it would be sacked from their position and charged. Sadly, in Greece this will probably not happen – the state controlled media will not report on it and it will be ignored by the Greek government, as in all likelihood it was the government that ordered the abuse of the mail system. Using the postal system against opponents is not something that happens in the western world. This is like Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Putin's Russia or Saddam's Iraq.

That type of behavior reminds me of Takis Michas post 9/11 article on Greece entitled 'Is Greece a Western Nation'? A poll was taken after 9/11 that showed that Greeks felt the attacks on the US were justified and were pleased that it happened. As Michas reported:

Takis Kafetzis, the political analyst who supervised the poll, claims that in reality over 40% of the respondents felt pleasure with what happened. "The fact that they did not say so was simply due to the fact that they felt that they had to somehow control their responses." Greece, he says, simply does not share Western values and perceptions.

That is what it boils down to. In Greece there is no problem if the government denies an ethnicity and interferes with the postal system against minority parties. The reason why this is acceptable in Greece is exactly the same reason that Greece tries to justify interfering with Macedonia joining NATO and the EU - even after signing an international agreement that they wouldn't. Simply, Greece does not share our western values of human rights. We should stop treating Greece as if it is one of us; it isn't.[/quote]

Risto the Great 06-28-2009 06:03 PM

Oooooo, that was good.
Very good.

TrueMacedonian 09-23-2009 08:51 AM

Panayote Dimitras 'Racism is Deep-rooted in Greece'

Greek Albanians' woes fester
The Athens bus hostage drama involving two armed Albanians has thrown the spotlight on Greece's Albanians, who form the country's largest minority, estimated at nearly one million.

The 18-hour drama ended when the hostage-takers surrendered
Fearing an anti-immigrant backlash, the Greek authorities appealed for calm after the gunmen's surrender on Wednesday night.

"The fact that two immigrants were the perpetrators of this incident should in no way influence our attitudes or behaviour," said Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis.

"We are an open and democratic society that makes no distinctions and shuts no one out."

Ethnic tensions

Human rights groups say Greece has one of the worst records in the European Union for racism against ethnic minorities.

But the Greek government is planning to introduce new laws to stop hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in the country facing discrimination at work and from the social security system.

The hostage-takers had threatened to blow up the bus
If passed by parliament the legislation would help bring Greece closer to European Union standards by aiming to eradicate discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, sex or disability, the BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Athens.

Earlier this year, Albanian immigrants across the country came under attack for daring to come out onto the streets to celebrate the Albanian football team's victory over Greece in a World Cup qualifying match.

One man was stabbed to death and many others were injured in what human rights organisations called the first incident of mass racism in Greece's modern history.

Lure of Olympics

Gazmend Kapllani, an Albanian journalist with the Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea, says there is general relief among the country's Albanians that the latest incident ended without bloodshed.

There were also expressions of incredulity and ridicule at the Albanian gunmen's amateurish methods, he says. They had tried to pass themselves off as Russians and bluffed about having a bag of explosives. It turned out to contain croissants and cigarettes.

Greek national pride reached fever pitch during Euro 2004
Many Albanians found work in Greece in the run-up to the Athens Olympics in August.

Now that the Games are over they are keen to stay, Kapllani told the BBC News website.

But they complain of discrimination in the Greek job market, justice system and education, he said.

"Many fear that a long-overdue debate about integration, set in motion by the Olympics, will now be distorted," he added.

Albanian hostage-takers also carried out two previous bus hijackings in Greece - in May and July 1999. In each case the hostage-taker demanded money and safe passage to Albania, and both times they were killed by police.

But according to Kapllani, the latest bus hijacking was different, because some of the passengers were Albanians themselves and reportedly helped to negotiate an end to the stand-off.

School furore

The tiny village of Lapa in the Peloponnese has become a focus of ethnic tensions in recent years, fuelled by a controversy over an annual children's parade to mark the day Greece entered World War II.

By law, the brightest pupil in the local school should have the honour of carrying the national flag, but in Lapa that happened to be an Albanian girl. She was forced to step down after angry protests by parents and other pupils, the BBC's Richard Galpin reports.

"This is a Greek celebration so it should be a Greek carrying the flag," was the comment by one Greek schoolgirl.

The 16-year-old Albanian pupil at the centre of the storm complained bitterly: "The law gives me the right to carry the flag - there was no reason for me not to".

"I love Greece and I love it as my country. I was upset by their reaction and by the fact that they chose a sit-in at the school as a way of protesting."

[B]According to Panayote Dimitras, spokesman of the anti-racism campaign group the Greek Helsinki Monitor, racism in Greece is deep-rooted.

"Greek national culture is one that believes there is a superiority of the Greek nation which is a continuous descendent of the ancient Greeks, and when you think like this about yourself it is very easy to think that the others are inferior," he says.[/B]

Until the early 1990s, Greece had been an extremely homogenous society, but with the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe it suddenly experienced big influxes of immigrants, particularly from Albania.

Now, immigrants from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa make up 10% of the country's population. The government needs to move fast to convince the Greeks that becoming a multi-cultural society is a positive, not a negative development, Richard Galpin reports.

TrueMacedonian 09-23-2009 08:54 AM

Thank you lord for sober minds like Panayote Dimitras whom I will say is one Greek I would have a coffee with.

Soldier of Macedon 09-23-2009 09:05 AM

[QUOTE]Gazmend Kapllani, an Albanian journalist with the Greek daily newspaper Ta Nea, says there is general relief among the country's Albanians that the latest incident ended without bloodshed.

There were also expressions of incredulity and ridicule at the Albanian gunmen's amateurish methods, he says. They had tried to pass themselves off as Russians and bluffed about having a bag of explosives. It turned out to contain croissants and cigarettes.[/QUOTE]
If it was in Macedonia the Albanian journalists would be calling the gunmen 'heroes' and the reaction of Macedonian police too 'excessive' against people loaded up with croissants and cigarettes. What an unbelievable parallel, I look forward to the intergration question in Greece being brought up again soon.

VMRO 01-12-2010 08:35 AM

Racist Nazi Greeks at it again

The Jewish community of Greece protested Friday after an arson attack against the only synagogue on the Island of Crete, urging the authorities to take measures in order to get rid of “similar phenomenons of anti-Semitism.”

According to local police, unknown individuals broke into the Etz-Hayyim synagogue’s yard an hour after midnight and set fire to an outdoor wooden ladder which leads to the library.

The synagogue is located in the city of Hania’s historic old quarter.

Thanks to the swift intervention of the fire brigade, the fire was extinguished immediately before it threatened the temple and the adjoining library, which features roughly 1,600 rare books and manuscripts.

Hania Fire Brigade chief said that at the scene, firefighters found a bottle with a flammable liquid still burning.

Authorities in the port city said the synagogue’s main doors were locked and that the alarm system sounded when firefighters broke down the main gate to enter the building.

The medieval Etz-Hayyim synagogue serves as a place for prayer, a museum and memorial and a library recording the long and troubled history of Crete’s Jews.

Until 1999 it was a desecrated house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of the Jewish community in 1944.

From 1996 until the year of its re-dedication in 1999 the structure has been painstakingly restored. It is mentioned on the it was still mentioned on the World Monument Fund’s list of most endangered sites.

The nearly 300 members of the Hania Jewish community were shipped out by the Nazi invaders in 1944, and died when their ship was sunk in transit by an Allied torpedo.

The synagogue’s director, Nikos Hanaan Stavroulakis, warned in a daily newspaper of Crete against racist act aiming in particular the immigrants in Hania.

Acts of vandalism sporadically aim Jewish cemeteries and buildings in Greece, whose community counts only a few thousands of people, after its extermination to more than 80% by the Nazis during WWII.

Last June, unknown people desecrated the Jewish cemetery in Ioannina, in the North-West of the country.

Bill77 01-12-2010 08:40 AM

They have a mental issue. Thats what hapens when you mix Breads. They are like dogs they are.

fatso 01-12-2010 08:45 AM

[QUOTE=Bill77;32183]They have a mental issue. Thats what hapens when you mix Breads. They are like dogs they are.[/QUOTE]

This is a bullshit comment.

I know many Jews from Larissa . One is a very successful, who resides here in Toronto. I should have him answer the above.

These attacks are common in Europe and the U.S..

Bill77 01-12-2010 08:49 AM

[QUOTE=fatso;32185]This is a bullshit comment.

I know many Jews from Larissa . One is a very successful, who resides here in Toronto. I should have him answer the above.

These attacks are common in Europe and the U.S..[/QUOTE]Bullshit comment??? Macedonians cop it, turks cop it, so do gypsies, Albanians and now jews. Who is full of bull shit?

Bill77 01-12-2010 09:29 AM

Fatso, You have trigger happy cops, anarchists damaging private property, terrorists, bombings, crooked politicians that try to bye history, Racists, Poor minority rights record, no Freedom of speach, financial crisis, what is wrong with your country man?

But all this is Bullshit again. Don't pull the blanket over your head man, it will not make it go away.

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