Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Greece is not that dead yet

Ok. Alright. Yes. I’ve been silent for quite a while and I promise I’ll eventually start posting here again, but first, I have to do this. This is a SERIOUS post about serious things.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of things about Greece. People didn’t used to pay attention to us Greeks, until the Crisis, that is. Then they decided that they were all Greeks, so they’re paying more attention to the struggles of the Greek people and care more. 

BUT, paying attention and being well-informed are 2 different things, I’m afraid. Caring doesn’t ensure you’ll understand situations fully and it’s easy to get side-tracked and for things to get lost on the way, giving way to other things, inaccurate things.

So, I’m here in Lancaster, reading things about my home country, things that are not true. And you could say “hey, wait a minute, how do YOU know what’s going on better than us?!”.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to be rude. I just do know. I know more Greek people than you do, I know more people that know about specific matters that interest/affect me than you do. And I know Greek. Key element.

So, I’m here reading about Greece, things more or less like this (source act.watchdog.net/petitions/3322?l=7toLhPe2YqI)

First migrants and recent immigrants were rounded up from Greece's streets and forced into internment camps. Then they threw the drug users in. Next came the sex workers, forcibly HIV tested, publicly humiliated, and imprisoned.
Now they're coming for transgender men and women — and the list of "undesirables" just keeps longer.

My fellow people. I DO appreciate the concern. I am Greek. I am a trans man. I was forced to leave Greece recently because I was terrified. But, please, let’s just get some things straight.

This thing is a mash-up of different news items.

  1. Migrant camps.
    The Greek state started opening migrant camps to detain undocumented immigrants, for indefinite periods of time, intending to sort their papers out somehow, or deport them.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/29/oukwd-uk-greece-camp-idAFBRE83S0GD20120429 April 2012
    http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/europe/un-official-deplores-greek-migrant-detention December 2012

  2. The arrest, compulsory HIV testing and criminal charges of sex workers in Athens, the May of 2012. Followed by their public humiliation, as the Greek Police published the full name, date of birth, nationality, photographs and medical record information of a dozen of those women with a positive HIV-status on a police website and in newspapers as a means of “punishment”.

    http://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%AF%CE%BD%CF%89%CF%83%CE%B7-%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82-transgender-europe-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%B1%CF%80%CF%8C%CE%BC%CF%80%CE%B5%CF%85%CF%83/ May 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHfWNM_vGRM June 2013

  3. The detention of transgender individuals during ‘Xenios Zeus’ Operations, in Athens, 9th of August 2012.
    Specifically, on the night of Thursday, August 9th, during a massive police crackdown, 25 trans people were taken and detained at the division of Central Police Station of Athens. They were not given sufficient explanation why they were being taken. They were forced to undergo an HIV test, administered by a Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) doctor, were subsequently found to be HIV-negative and released afterwards.

    http://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/press-release-17-8-2012-police-detention-of-transgender-individuals-during-xenios-zeus-operations/ August 2012

  4.   The detention of trans women by the police, in Thessaloniki, mere weeks before the 2nd Thessaloniki Pride event.
    police has been targeting transgender people around end of May in a "sweep" operation in Thessaloniki. On the pretext of the verification of their ID and identification as sex workers, trans women were detained for 3 - 4 hours. In at least 3 cases traffic police stopped trans women drivers without cause for suspicion or violation of the law and took them in for identity verification. The behavior of police officers during the arrests was reportedly offensive, humiliating and intending to undermine the victims’ dignity. In one case, a trans woman was detained without justification three times within four days. On the night of June 4, the Greek Transgender Support Association’s attorney Electra Koutra was arbitrarily detained at the Demokratias Square police station in Thessaloniki, where she had gone in her capacity as the lawyer of a transgender client.
    June 2013
    June 2013
    June 2013

These are very different news items. Sure, there is a pattern. Yes, lately, Greece has been intolerant of pretty much everyone, the unemployed, the employed, immigrants, gays, lesbians, trans people, non-Christians, artists, professors, journalists, doctors, HIV patients, cancer patients, drug addicts, Greeks living abroad, people working in the public sector, people working in the private sector, et cetera.

But my country is not completely dead yet, it’s not. It’s not that dead. There are still people that are against the things happening in the country. So, on behalf of those people, thank you for caring. Thank you.
However, I’d ask you to stop spreading news you just read somewhere. Cross-reference. Ask a Greek. When it comes to news affecting someone, ask that someone, ask their friends, their mums. Don’t trust everything exactly as it’s served to you. Research a bit.

Sorry if I offended you somehow, it was REALLY not intended. Thank you for reading.


  1. I don't disagree with what you are saying, and it's good that you make things clear. However, I feel I must say that I don't find any confusion in the quote you are using above. When I read it, I didn't get the impression it mixes up everything. In my reading, it just highlights the pattern to arise concerns on how people that are vulnerable in the existing society, *because* of the existing society, are targeted, further marginalised, crminalised, and punished, in an effort on the behalf of the government to create scapegoats, so as to turn people's rage somewhere else, and avoid confrontation. Also, making a point on how in times of crises, human rights are not only neglected, but violated in the worst manner. I do understand however your position, especially bearing in mind what must have been written against Greece and Greek people. I just don't see that in the particular quote and felt like saying it :)

    1. Well, my bad, because I quoted that specific thing. Other links I found over the last few days were worse and definitely confused.