An eyewitness report of the racism of the greek police and system
I feel obliged to speak about the things I witnessed with my own eyes at the Police Station of Drapetsona, a close-to- the city- port neighborhood in Piraeus. I really have no idea of how I could possibly help my fellow men and so I expect each one of you to contribute to this by making what I saw widely known:
The immigrants who are being imprisoned in the basement of the Drapetsona Police Station have been beaten up by the policemen to try to discontinue their hunger strike. This behaviour made the 28-year -old Palestinian imprisoned refugee Ibrahim Farat to attempt suicide .
These events have made us, the active citizens of Piraeus, organize a protest march to their support. Once we arrived outside the Police Station the Chief Officer of Police appeared right in front of the Specially Equiped Police Forces called MAT- to tell us that a team of 5 individuals could go in and talk to the imprisoned immigrants.
These migrants have been detained simply because they could not provide employment documents because they have lost their jobs because of the continuously deteriorating economic crisis or because they didn’t have entrance documents in the first place. They haven’t committed any other offence…
What I saw was really shocking. In the inferno of the police station, 100 people were piled up in 70 square meters and have been detained there for more than 9 months, right after the beginning of “Xenios” Dias, when a specially created force organized by the Ministry of Public Order was set up. It acts under the commands of the Minister Mr. Dendias, who has a bad reputation for his methods sweeping poor homeless Greek people and foreign immigrants from the squares.
It’s ironic because Xenios Dias – Zeus was the god of hospitality, the god that protected foreigners. Every ancient Greek was obliged to take care and offer hospitality to every foreigner. Xenios Dias wasn’t the god who imprisoned, beat and tortured the foreigners.
People have been held up there under unbearable and unspeakable conditions driving them to despair . The complete lack of hygiene has allowed the spread of contagious skin diseases among them and in combination with the complete absence of natural daylight have made these unlucky people sick , physically and mentally, forcing them to attempt suicide. Even mice may die in these conditions.
The picture is impossible to depict. The kind of picture that’s rare even in movies. I’m really outraged at the state of which I’m a citizen. I’m deeply ashamed and outraged against the policemen who beat up these people as the imprisoned revealed to me, something which the Police Station Chief totally denied.
I managed to cope with the sadness and the despair expressed in their eyes. I managed to have a dialogue with the chief who was trying, in vain, to find excuses, saying that he is trying to balance out between humanitarian principles and dehumanizing orders by Mr. Dendias, who is exclusively responsible in the chief’s opinion for the situation of the PS.
I collapsed when I saw right in front of me a man tearing his own flesh causing bleeding as the only solution to attract our attention to his problem as soon as he saw us hoping that this will get him out of this inferno in which he is being detained and tortured for 9 consecutive months…
While tears filled my eyes, I got out of their cells so as not to be seen as this would cause them more pain and grief. These people experience the conditions of hell while alive. I began to scream my head off at the policemen and their accompanying state pschychologists.
You are no human beings I cried. You are violating every sense of what we call human rights and you talk to us about the bureaucracy which prevents you from fixing the toilets – only 2 for 100 people- and for your effort to balance out between humanism and the orders you get. Had you been human beings with any sign of sensitivity you would have spoken out for what happens inside here, and you would have resigned in order to stop this crime. I was beginning to lose control and so I moved out of the station .
Those who happen to read what I am writing must reconsider their responsibilities. They must react. We are the people who have the power.We are the state. But if the state is heartless it is because we who make it we are inhuman.
The Police Chief announced to the imprisoned man who had wounded himself that he would be set free. The same was said to the Palestinian who had earlier attempted suicide. The message that has been passed: You will get out of here only if you commit suicide and if you are lucky you may be promptly saved at the hospital…
? wish each one of us had the chance to get into this inferno of Drapetsona and see, speak and look into the eyes of our fellow men who experience this torture, one breath away from our homes. Then, they would all be out in the streets protesting.
Events of this kind take place everywhere in our country, being the result of the operation ‘Xenios Dias”. We must do everything we can in our capacity to put an end to this dreadful operation which is insulting us, our tradition and our civilization. Mr. Dendias, the minister of the so called ministry for the protection of the citizen(!) really or deliberately ignores our history and he should be reminded of the meaning of hopitality these very ancient Greek words convey.
We demand that these imprisoned ill-fated victims of his cruel policy be immediately released and set free.
We demand the immediate termination of the inhuman operation “ Xenios” Dias that insults our Culture and Democracy and makes expiatories victims the most weak part of our society, the immigrants and the refugees.