ECOCLUB.com Team Blog
blogging about ecological & socially just tourism & living
The New Hypatia Tragedy
Hypatia, March 415 AD, famous Greek mathematician in Alexandria, Egypt, torn to pieces by an intolerant Christian mob. Hypatia 2011 AD, a refurbished 19th c neoclassical-style mansion temporary home to 267 north African hunger strikers in Athens, Greece, facing death and an indifferent and intolerant administration.
Ancient Greece worshipped Xenios Zeus, the all-powerful god who was also the protector of all travelling strangers. Modern Greece worships the all-powerful god of Tourism, protector of travelling strangers, as long as they have a visa, cash and the ‘right’ passport.
Instead of planning border walls to block the weakest link of the inevitable Globalization, the Greek government should do the decent and smart thing and fully legalise all migrant workers, some of which already have been working for 15 years building roads, olympic venues, picking up strawberries from greenhouses full of chemicals, taking care of the elderly and the very young, and last but not least doing menial jobs in Tourism, NOW. There can be no compromise on human rights. The hunger strikers, in their 33rd day without food now, are certainly not about to compromise either. Any delay can be fatal, and this means big fires in a flammable city already very angry by severe austerity measures.
It is not enough for the Global North to look down on southern tyrants, who after all are their Frankenstein creations -- propped up by the cold war and preserved by their oil imports and arms exports! There is an urgent need for active solidarity to southern peoples fleeing tyrannies and wars and seeking a better life in the ‘global north’.
Update 9 March 2011: The hunger strike has been terminated on Day 44 following a partial retreat by the government, that has promised a slightly easier and shorter work permit process (down to 8 years...from 12!) and has agreed to provide travel documents and re-entry visa to the hunger strikers. All hunger strikers are relatively well.