We post here a translation of a communique issued by the Haunt of Albanian Migrants last summer. This is the same group who authored the text titled “These days are ours, too” and which comprised, in our opinion, one of the most powerful texts to come out of December’s revolt. Their latest text comes as a breath of fresh air in a society where the financial “crisis” seems to be giving rise to the far-right; the usual scape-goats have been found…
“How many racists can Greece hold?”
A small dictionary of everyday terms.
Insecurity – a feeling of distrust toward your fellow humans because alienation and separation between us has reached such levels that we now hear from our neighbours not at the square where they hang out but through TV news and reality shows. Journalists, playing the role of priests, spread fear, hatred and distrust.
Crime – breaking laws that aim at your moral, financial and physical extermination; laws based on racist (racial, national, religious) criteria, applied by servants of law and order – the same ones who launched their careers in the dictatorship. Torturing, humiliations, assassinations at the border and in detention cells for foreigners by these manic psychopaths-in-uniform are not only left unpunished, but often rewarded both professionally and socially.
Justice – receiving on average double years of sentencing for the same crime compared to a local, especially if you happen to be albanian. Waiting between six months and three years to be sentenced (70% of foreigners in prison are either awaiting sentencing or are convicted for violation of the law regarding illegal entry to the country) and if you are eventually acquitted, not to receive any compensation but to be thankful to be released. Being deported (according to a new amendment submitted to parliament) if you are charged for a crime, whether you have papers or not, without standing trial in order to be able to defend yourself. The standard practice has become law: Shut up, dig up, take a bone.
Sweeping operations – police operations “cleansing” specific areas from unwanted elements (soon your turn will come), very popular in nazi and apartheid-style regimes. Those in support of the “sweeping clean” of human beings are probably judging from the dirt of their own homes.
Citizen committees – local organisations of [far-right parliamentary party] LAOS, strengthened by the bloody fascists of Golden Dawn who, following closely their family tradition, are informants, bullies (only when accompanied by police) and minions of whatever authority-happens-to-be.
Agios Panteleimonas – area of Athens occupied by para-statal fascists and police forces where the presence of all foreigners is banned, along with anyone who is not orthodox, dark-skinned and with a turkish-sounding surname [reference to the schizophrenic “racial impurity” of Greek fascists, trans.]. Obviously Athens, a city of 3,5 million, cannot hold some more thousands unless they come to give us money – in which case we bow all the way down to the floor.
Migrant reception centres – detention centres where foreigners are imprisoned and exterminated (as in the case of the Petrou Ralli detention centre, and the one of Elliniko – both in Athens), after they survive arson (Patras) and lynching (Manolada) in order for peace-seeking citizens to rest assured that the state and capitalism are to blame for all evils.
Illegal migrants – a) people from the poorest parts of the planet who pay the price for the wealth of the western world (EU, USA). What do you think is the impact of the protectionism and subsidies you receive upon the workers and professionals outside the EU? b) refugees from war-hit parts of the planet to whom you are obliged, according to the institution and all international rules, to offer food and shelter. In any case, the governments that you yourself have voted in have contributed to these known and unknown wars taking place in distant parts of the planet and now, the misery they have caused knocks on your own door.
This is, in general terms, is a description of what has been happening in our city and respectively across Greece as of late. In a society where us migrants have been used to the mass hysteria against us, this latest episode comes as little surprise. Neither the rise of violence, nor the support of racist action across the political spectrum, nor even the widespread tolerance and acceptance of these from society. The tough experiences of the previous decade (1994, 1998, 2004) safeguarded the smoothness of these developments. What we must clarify is the stance we take against this reality. And this concerns migrants too, but first and foremost it concerns the locals.
First, all of us migrants must understand that personal solutions are not long-term and that sooner or later, popular will will run over us too. We consider no nationality to be privileged and this is something perfectly understood by everyone living this as an everyday reality – and yet, we still find ourselves in a rat-race to safeguard the grace of our bosses. It is no good to say that the albanians steal while we are peaceful, or that the albanians are plodders and the rest don’t work. Racism and xenophobia begin from a sense of power and authority given to you by the element of separation between locals and foreigners and “legalisation” (the race-based right of stay in a place). Therefore, this power will be used against you, too, whenever it is considered useful by anybody – even if we all turn into angels.
Concerning the locals, we believe that their racism must be fought back by equal force – some times even harder, as an example toward all who might down-rate our lives. We must allow no-one, uniformed or not, to take away our dignity and even more so our life. We have nothing to lose but our skin – and we must protect that at all costs.
In regard to the people supporting us, we believe that solidarity to migrants is to offer a job, a shelter, papers (with weddings-for-papers) or at least a friendly smile, without demanding that your ideological belief is adopted. Solidarity is to know the effect that trying to secure papers has upon our lives – and not the theoretical understanding of the conditions creating our problems. Solidarity is to understand that being albanian, bulgarian or pakistani is not a matter of personal choice like being nationalist or internationalist, leftist or right-wing – and yet it defines, on a practical level, most aspects of our lives.
No-one came here to become your ideal revolutionary subject. In any case, the struggle against racism and exploitation is first a duty of anyone who does not tolerate this reality in their society. It is first and foremost a struggle to safeguard a reality you can tolerate for yourself. Being a migrant is no honour – it is shameful for people to need accompanying papers, as if they were product boxes. Our slogan should be, “we are all locals!”
At the end of the day this piece of land can hold us all. Those who are dangerous for society are the racists and fascists; if they increase, they will become a threat to social cohesion and the whatever-level-of democracy we currently have where we live. Then, migrant sweeping operations and concentration camps will bear your own name and the reward for your labour will not be 700 euros per month but rather, that it will set you free. For all this, the answer to our question must be crystal-clear:
Racism and fascism, out
of our squares, our neighbourhoods, our lives
HAUNT OF ALBANIAN MIGRANTS