Dimitris Christopoulos https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/22922/all cached version 17/01/2019 23:39:41 en The Macedonian question and Greece’s national solitude https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/macedonian-question-and-greece-s-national-solitude <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ever since the creation of Yugoslav Macedonia in 1944, Greece has been burying its head in the sand. It wouldn’t see, because it could not stand to face it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37054538-2_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37054538-2_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and PM of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Zoran Zaev attend signing ceremony in the Prespes lake region of Greece, June 17, 2018.Dimitris Tosidis/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>In 1992 a beautiful Greek song, drawing on the Macedonian Question, was written. It was entitled “Our national solitude” : </p> <blockquote><p><em>“</em><em>In this land where our years learned to be of blame </em></p><p><em>And all our neighbours want a share </em></p><p><em>Gamble away and curse them, you poor man</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em><em>With a very Greek vocabulary</em></p><p><em>Because here, here is the love we all know</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em><em>Here as well the grief that wants us and we want </em></p><p><em>Here as well are we, so that we may always provide company </em></p><p><em>For our national solitude</em>”<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p></blockquote> <p>The song became a hit and Greeks would be merrily singing it over the 90s.<em> </em>Yet,<em> our national solitude</em> has not been cloudless. It has forged a creeping authoritarianism in dominant political culture, that has led to silence through violence. So that when the infamous “name issue” arose, it did not just poison Greece’s relationship with its neighbour, but poisoned Greek democracy itself and freedom of expression within it.&nbsp; </p> <p>In April 2018, I wrote a book with Kostis Karpozilos titled ‘<em>10+1 Questions &amp; Answers on the Macedonian Question</em>’ (Athens, Polis pub.): our small contribution aiming to deconstruct the dominant myths that have haunted Greek public opinion on the matter of our neighbouring country’s name.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a></p> <p>When the book was published I called up a colleague at the university with whom I have a relationship of mutual respect, while disagreeing on the matter, and I asked him to write a few words about it without holding back his reservations. My colleague politely told me that he would not write something: “he did not want to praise, nor could he libel the book.” He could not honestly review the book, because he did not want to speak publicly regarding its virtues, which he acknowledged to me in private. He blamed our ‘national solitude’ for it. “<em>Since no one understands us, it is no good to scratch our myths. Let them be!</em>” he said. </p> <p>What went wrong and why have Greeks behaved in such a way? Is there, in fact, a dominant political culture favouring an underdog nationalism in Greece, as dictated by a contemporary and still dominant version of Balkan orientalism? This thesis is supported by the theory of <em>cultural dualism</em>, according to which Greece has always been a stage for competition between two tendencies: national introversion and a modernising rationalisation project.<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a> </p> <p>Despite the dualist assumptions, the government’s “modernisation” plan for a “strong Greece” during the frantic growth of the ‘90s had no serious problem with compromising over the denial of a people’s name, although the overall “name issue” was not part of the political culture of Greek modernisers, such as then Prime Minister K. Simitis (1996-2004). This was incorporated, however, with no difficulty, because it did not hinder the strategies of economic expansion and political dominance in the Balkan hinterland. Greek capitalism could perfectly well assume a hegemonic role in the Balkans after the end of the cold war <em>despite</em> the name issue. To put it bluntly, it is exactly Greece’s micro-imperialist arrogance vis-a-vis the “poor Balkan fellows”, that fed Greek nationalism in the 90s and created the teratogenesis of the so-called “name issue”. </p> <p>So cultural dualism cannot explain why Greece responded in the way it did in 1991, when its neighbour simply decided to stop calling itself the “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”, drop the “Socialist” part and keep the rest: “Republic of Macedonia”. After all, these people were already referred to as Macedonians before that: long before 1991, even before 1944, the year when their State was created.&nbsp; </p> <p><strong>What seems unreasonable is not inconceivable: history’s hinterland</strong></p> <p>Abroad, Greece’s position seemed inconceivable even to those well disposed towards the country. People who love Greece and who have stood by its side during difficult times, such as the years of the current crisis, have given up over the “name issue”...<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a>&nbsp; “I recall” <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/macedonia-and-post-ideology">writes Douzinas</a>, “that the incomprehensible Greek denial of the name used by everyone in academic conferences raised eyebrows and ironic comments”. I guess few Greeks have discussed the Macedonian question in public fora over the last 25 years without being faced with those “raised eyebrows”….&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet, what seems unreasonable is never inconceivable. Even the most unreasonable things in the behavioural sphere of nations, make some sort of sense. In our case, seeing the Greek model of state formation as part of the historical legacy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the path to understanding.<strong> </strong>In the early twentieth century we can identify the first stirrings of an indigenous national consciousness, of Macedonianism in the Balkan hinterland, which, with the gradual demise of the Ottoman Empire fell prey to the young, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/augustine-zenakos/greece-macedonia-negotiating-history-doesn-t-make-it-true">robust nationalism of the states</a>: “about nine thousand people arriving at Ellis Island between 1897 and 1924 declared their ethnicity to be Macedonian”. </p> <p>Until the established defeat of the Bulgarian national movement in the region, the idea that some Slavic-speaking peoples of Macedonia – that were not subjected to the Bulgarian Exarchate (the Bulgarian national church) – would turn the place-name “Macedonian” into an ethnic marker was probably convenient to Greek intentions.&nbsp; In one word, unlike what is commonly believed in Greece even today, the Macedonian nation was not Tito’s product.&nbsp; </p> <p>When, later, the borders were established after the Second Balkan War (1913) and Greece had to compose its own national narrative as a single dominant state, the existence of a Macedonian minority became a structural problem for the Greek unitary national idea. In Greece, as in France for example, state vocabulary has no room for national minorities. This is not because it is racist and violent, but because it is deeply unitarian. In principle, national minorities are unimaginable, inconceivable. Like French or Turkish citizens, Greek citizens cannot but be nationally Greek. There is no space for something else. <span class="mag-quote-center">This is not because it is racist and violent, but because it is deeply unitarian. In principle, national minorities are unimaginable, inconceivable.</span></p> <p>The French revolutionary model of “one state, one nation, one language” is complemented by one more demand that does not exist in France: <em>One</em> religion. Those who are Greek Orthodox Christians cannot be anything but Greek. Even the name of the religion, in twentieth century terms, indicates national belonging. The result is that if someone is Greek Orthodox,<a href="#_ftn5">[5]</a> then (s)he must be Greek. </p> <p>Slavic-speaking Macedonians were therefore, from the very beginning, the ideal exception that breathed life into the unitary rule. They believed in the Patriarchate, whereas they did not belong to the Greek nation. Some years later, the enlisting of most of the Slav-Macedonian minority in the Communist Party during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) was the decisive act of their national “unworthiness”. </p> <p>With the end of the civil war and their expulsion from the territory, Greece denied their existence by refusing that such an identity even existed. <a href="http://theconversation.com/greeces-macedonian-slavic-heritage-was-wiped-out-by-linguistic-oppression-heres-how-94675">The language was simply banned.</a> Persecution of the remaining Slav-Macedonians in the post-war period until the end of the Cold War (with a gradual relaxation during the 80s due to the Socialist Party in power) was part of a daily agenda. It is only in 2000 that the first history book was issued in Greece documenting this situation!<a href="#_ftn6">[6]</a></p> <p>So, just when Greece had almost completed its project of forceful assimilation of the Macedonian minority within its borders, in 1991 a real bombshell went off: a “Republic of Macedonia” next door! Now, a sovereign state has the name that Greece had done everything it could to erase for the biggest part of the twentieth century. Greece had succeeded within its own territory, but the battle couldn’t be fought beyond it. </p> <p>Ever since the creation of Yugoslav Macedonia in 1944, Greece has been burying its head in the sand. It wouldn’t see, because it could not stand to face it. This strategy was also convenient because the Cold War “Athens-Belgrade” axis had to be preserved at all costs, particularly for NATO plans. The Macedonian Question remained a thorn in Greece’s side, however, that caused a pain Greece was prepared to tolerate due to other more important needs, both regarding itself and the entire West. </p> <p>In conclusion, Greece’s reaction to the use of the name “Macedonia” by the former Yugoslav Republic seems unreasonable: but it is not, after all. On a first level, it obeys the norm of a classic authoritarian assimilatory state model, but along the way it was derailed by its own ostrich-like denialism, and then entered into the sphere of the “inconceivable”.</p> <p><strong>Questions on Macedonian irredentism and the ‘name’ issue. </strong><strong>Could it all possibly be in the Greek imaginary? </strong></p> <ul><li><em>Are Greek fears regarding Macedonian irredentism well-founded? </em></li></ul> <p>One might assume that the smaller or poorer entity (whether a State or an economy) could not possibly threaten the bigger or richer one motivated by irredentist claims. We won’t agree with this. The small(er) Greece had historically irredentist claims vis-a-vis big(er) Turkey, for example. The fact that the Republic of Macedonia is smaller and poorer in relation to Greece does not suffice to quell possible Greek concerns. If there is irredentism north of the Greek borders, and a minority in Greece that is negatively disposed towards belonging to the country territorially, then it is of little importance if Greece has 500 aeroplanes and its neighbour one. The goal is not to go to war so as to measure our power against each other.&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet, irredentism is a marginal political ideology and concerns a small portion of Macedonian nationalists. It is not absent, but it is marginal. That portion has no capacity for political leadership in future plans in the region. On the contrary, as is usually the case, the further they find themselves, the more nostalgia may be poisoned by the toxic gases of irredentism. Large portions of both the Greek and Macedonian diaspora have taken an aggressive lead in the conflict regarding the name in the safety of their new nationality. Macedonian irredentism, therefore, is much easier to find in Melbourne or Toronto than in Skopje itself.</p> <ul><li><em>If we assume that part of these fears is indeed well-founded, did the Greek policy of refusing to use the name “Macedonia” to this day allay or intensify those fears? </em></li></ul> <p>If the answer to the first question had relatively complicated historical and political shades to it, we can be certain that the answer here is much simpler. Greece’s political stubbornness regarding the name “Macedonia” did everything it could to intensify the insecure reflexes of a nationalism whose identity was questioned so intensely by the majority of its neighbours. The territory of the country is questioned by Albanian separatists, the nation is considered “Bulgarian” by the Bulgarians, and the state was anything other than “Macedonia” for Greeks. </p> <p>The wound is not easy to heal. The worst part is that this policy intensified the self-victimisation of Macedonian nationalism, resulting in every ill fate that has befallen the country being attributed with ease to foreigners. Resorting to conspiracy theories that drastically poison discussion, unfortunately, is an established political behaviour in Macedonia. To this day, as people are unable to explain Greek denial, they attribute it to a plan to dismember their homeland. They cannot conceive of anything else. And yet, in strictly geopolitical terms, the existence of this state is a godsend for Greece, as it stands in the way of the nationalism of all neighbours (Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria). As a Greek International Law expert said, “even if it did not exist, we would have to invent it”.&nbsp; </p> <ul><li><em>To the degree to which irredentism fears are valid, would the use of the name “Macedonia” be a condition for the possible success of their threats?</em></li></ul> <p>The only case of a state that changed its name because other states wished it to do so, was that of Austria in the twentieth century.<a href="#_ftn7">[7]</a> However, the renaming was the result of a war and the enforcement of an international alliance. The answer to the question of whether the choice to change Austria’s name was just, was found in the result: the change of the constitutional name did not stop the country from jumping onto the Nazi bandwagon a few years later.</p> <p>Since 1991, no matter where Greek diplomats have found themselves, they have been crying: <em>“Irredentism exists through the name itself. If the name is removed, the weapon aiming at the populations that identify through that name will also be removed.</em>” If the term “Macedonia” is removed, the problem disappears. Through the use of this name,&nbsp; geopolitical instability and claims on the historical right to “Macedonianism” start to be nurtured. If the name, magically, disappears, then the quiver of irredentism is empty. However, as the Austrian experience of the Inter-war shows, this view is subterfuge. If there is a problem, it is not in the name, but in the geopolitical matters at stake, which may remain in hibernation, regardless of whether the name “Macedonia” is used. If, for example, they wanted to change the borders to include the “irredentist<strong> </strong>Macedonians”, they would continue to do so, even if they had been forced to called themselves something else. </p> <p>This makes the Greek policy regarding the ‘name issue’ futile, among other things. Even in the most heartlessly cynical terms of political expediency, nothing guarantees the fact that forbidding the use of a name disarms the irredentist intentions of a nation, should they be present<strong>. </strong>In conclusion, the Greek position on the infamous ‘name issue’ is not that incomprehensible after all. However it has been proven both unfair and politically pointless. That is why the Prespes Agreement is a great step forward. One less problem for such a region is of major importance for all! </p> <hr size="1" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]&nbsp;&nbsp; </a>Music by Marios Tokas, lyrics by Philippos Grapsas and sung by a really great singer, Dimitris Mitropanos, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b57vAQHDWe4">on the record by the same name</a>. Neither of the two was ever considered a Greek nationalist. Mitropanos himself was in fact a communist. The song’s lyrics are still considered absolutely mainstream. </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; The book is now <a href="https://www.academia.edu/36282429/10_1_%CE%B5%CF%81%CF%89%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9_%CE%B1%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82_%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1_%CF%84%CE%BF_%CE%9C%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%B5%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CF%8C_online_PDF_version_">available online</a>, <a href="https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/images/EnglishWS/publications/macedonia/MAKEDONIKO.pdf">free of charge</a> in English, Greek and <a href="http://mhc.org.mk/publications/821?locale=mk&amp;fbclid=IwAR2VyYHpq8yfjyfb5Sh_Jhjxc__5rpwwleUJud5q193RxvxmGKgG_Q5qs-Q#.W7yhzmgzbIU">Macedonian</a>. </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3">[3]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Cf. <em>Cultural Dualism and Political Change in Postauthoritarian Greece, </em>Nikiforos Diamandouros, Athens, Alexandria Pub. 2000.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4">[4]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; Only the European extreme right justify Greece’s position, firstly, because it applauds when the strong impose a name to the weak, and secondly, because they see a racial conflict here between “Greeks” and “Slavs”, in which they can easily take the side of the descendants of ancient Greek glory.&nbsp; With the exception of the Far Right, the Prespa Agreement was welcomed almost unanimously, with the well known exception of Russia, exclusively related to geopolitical reasons.&nbsp; </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref5">[5]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Meaning, subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref6">[6]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; T. Kostopoulos, <em>The forbidden language,</em> Athens, Mavri Lista, 2000.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref7">[7]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 1918, after the defeat of Austro-hungary in WWI, the Austrian parliament declared a new state with the name “German Austria” (Deutschösterreich). The Allies reacted, saying that the new state would bear the name “Republic of Austria” (République d’Autriche). The name Deutschösterreich implied territorial claims on areas in Central Europe (mainly Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia), which were inhabited by German-speaking former subjects of Austrohungary and it supported intentions of a future Austro-German union, which was reasonably seen as a threat. In the end, with the international Treaty of St. Germain, the name imposed was “Republic of Austria”. Thus, the Austrian Constitution changed, by assigning the new name for all use within the country (erga omnes) and by removing from the constitution any references to a future union with Germany.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/augustine-zenakos/greece-macedonia-negotiating-history-doesn-t-make-it-true">Greece &amp; Macedonia: negotiating history doesn’t make it true</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/vassilis-k-fouskas/what-s-in-name-macedonian-question-and-social-question">What’s in a name: the Macedonian question and the social question</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/macedonia-and-post-ideology"> Macedonia and ideology</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Greece Civil society Conflict International politics Dimitris Christopoulos Thu, 10 Jan 2019 18:16:11 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 121255 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Τhe Golden Dawn trial: a major event for democracy in Greece and beyond https://www.opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/he-golden-dawn-trial-major-event-for-democracy-in-greece-and-beyond <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It's time to show that democracy does indeed protect itself from the enemies within.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-31504674.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Golden Dawn members and supporters at a rally in Athens, Greece on 29 May 2017. Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <h2>What is at stake with the Golden Dawn trial?</h2> <p>The Golden Dawn trial, held in Athens, started in April 2015: the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/will-horner/what-biggest-trial-of-fascist-criminality-since-nuremberg-means-for-f">“biggest trial of fascist criminality since Nuremberg”</a>, a unique penal trial of 69 defendants, among them 18 members of the Greek Parliament, all elected on the Golden Dawn ticket. The major accusation is based on Article 187 par. 1 of the Greek Criminal Code that defines the nature of a criminal organisation. Besides this, three more serious criminal offenses are also bought before the court: the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, an anti-fascist rapper; an assassination attempt on Abuzid Embarac, an Egyptian worker; and assassination attempts on members of the Greek Communist Party.</p> <p>The Golden Dawn’s line of defence is not to deny the criminal offenses. Indeed, that would have been irrational since these are undeniable facts. Instead, the objective of the defence is to plead that the perpetrators themselves bear sole responsibility for these crimes and therefore the Golden Dawn leadership is not involved. Yet, paradoxically, two years after Fyssas was assassinated, Nikos Michaloliakos, the leader of Golden Dawn, <a href="http://www.tovima.gr/en/article/?aid=738313">accepted</a> “the political responsibility of this murder”.</p> <p>By the end of 2107, 210 days of trial had already elapsed. On 8 January, the first day of the trial for 2018, I was invited by the civil party to testify. The objective was two-fold.</p> <p>First, I was to demonstrate the vertical hierarchical structure of the organisation that does not allow any ‘liberty’ to its members. Members of the party engaged in criminal activities with specific target groups in accordance with a political strategy designed by the leadership and executed according to an operational plan. This, we hoped to argue, is why the Golden Dawn is not a political party but a criminal organisation operating within the core of a political party. Only if Golden Dawn is recognised as a criminal organisation may it be legally closed.</p> <p>The second objective was to show the racist motivation of the crimes. Although this might sound easy, in Greece there is no judiciary culture of investigating the motivation of such crimes. Acts are punished and that is it. Yet, a racist crime does not target someone for something she has done but for something that she <em>is</em>. Such crimes are a far more serious threat to public order than ordinary ones. It is only in 2014, that the Greek Criminal Code was amended to introduce racist motivation as an aggravating circumstance of a criminal offense.&nbsp; </p> <p>What follows is the substance of my witness statement.</p> <h2>The Nazis’ strategy of tension</h2> <p>The year 2012 was a crucial turning point in the history of this once marginal party. The 7% it gained in the double parliamentary elections held that year fed its most toxic aspirations, as one Golden Dawn MP <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19983571">revealed to the BBC</a> in October 2012:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The Greek society is ready for a new kind of civil war. On the one side there will be nationalists like us, and Greeks who want our country to be as it was, and on the other side, illegal immigrants, anarchists and all those who have repeatedly destroyed Athens”.</p> </blockquote> <p>The careful reader will ascertain that the war will not be against the degenerated political class or even against the Left who covets the power (although the term “anarcho-leftists” is common language for Golden Dawn). These are not the enemy. The enemy are the anarchists and immigrants, a blend that has already been targeted as intolerable for the Greek society as a whole and, par excellence, for the Greek police. For Golden Dawn all immigrants should be treated as illegals, so the reference to their status should be understood to potentially include the entire immigrant population in Greece.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">For Golden Dawn all immigrants should be treated as illegals, so the reference to their status should be understood to potentially include the entire immigrant population of Greece.</p> <p>This policy pertains to the historically proven formula of right-wing extremism, the <em>strategy of tension</em>. It is a strategy that feeds the fear of people against a particular group, dividing and manipulating public opinion by means of intimidation, propaganda and provocation. As such, the reference to “civil war” should be understood as more similar to the Italian experience in the 1960s-1980s than with the previous Greek experience. The systematic attacks against immigrants by the Greek neo-Nazi assault battalions have sought to coerce the victims to a violent response, and to impel anarchists and parts of the radical Left to mobilise.</p> <p>Then, when the enemy of Golden Dawn slithers into this confrontation, the conditions will ripe for everyday people and, crucially, the Greek police to ask and answer the existential question: who is the enemy? “Nationalists”, or out of control &quot;anarchists who confederate with the invaders of the nation, illegal immigrants”?&nbsp; Undoubtedly, in this case, the answer to this dilemma is more than simple.</p> <p>In September 2013, Golden Dawn lost control of this strategy by murdering P. Fyssas. In their arrogance, they simply went too far. </p> <h2>The racist crime: a murder as a catalyst</h2> <p>The murder of Pavlos Fyssas acted as a catalyst for the characterisation of Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation that combines national-socialist ideology with mafia-like practices. Up to that point this organisation had spread fear and its ideology of hatred without facing serious obstacles, while parts of Greek society had proved to be ready to adopt, or accept, its methods and ideology.</p> <p>Following the death of Pavlos Fyssas, the Hellenic League for Human Rights issued <a href="http://www.hlhr.gr/?MDL=pages&amp;SiteID=948">a press release</a> entitled “The perpetrator does not simply belong to Golden Dawn. Golden Dawn is the perpetrator”. This statement aimed to demonstrate that apart from the individual responsibility for homicide under penal law, there was also the issue of confronting a criminal group, as stipulated in the provisions of the Greek Penal Code. The Hellenic League for Human Rights had <a href="http://www.hlhr.gr/?MDL=pages&amp;SiteID=233">first made this argument</a> when a Pakistani worker, Sahtzat Loqman, was assassinated by Golden Dawn members, long before the murder of Pavlos Fyssas.</p> <p>The Greek legal framework includes general provisions covering individual participation in criminal acts (as perpetrator, mastermind, direct or simple accomplice) but also provisions for participation in a criminal organisation. Golden Dawn is proud of its strictly hierarchical and disciplinary organisational structure, and within it spontaneous, unplanned, or individually inspired operations and actions are forbidden or out of the question.</p> <p>Looking at the cases that have been taken to court or which have been reported to the Racist Violence Recording Network (created in 2011), it is also evident that the structure, operation and modus operandi of Golden Dawn is fully reflected on a number of illegal actions and practices. For example, in order to murder Pavlos Fyssas, a large number of people – around 30 – were mobilised within a very short period of time and they all appeared to be well-prepared for criminal action; even the murderer was especially called for that action while at home watching a football game!&nbsp;</p> <p>All these elements – a coordinated network, readiness to action, the relation between those giving and those receiving orders – fully constitute the offense of establishing a criminal organisation, as also put forward by the original report of the State Attorney in 2013. </p> <blockquote> <p>“…The military structure, the absolute hierarchy, breaching of which [Golden Dawn] induces cruel to the physical integrity up to inhuman and degrading to the personality of the offender implications. (…) The recruitment of so-called Assault Battalions is made by persons who have specific physical qualifications, have been trained properly and under extremely harsh conditions that bear a resemblance to the education of men serving in elite units of the Armed Forces of the country. It should be noted that the selection of persons with knowledge of martial arts is of high priority”. (…) The charter of the organization “explicitly defines the segmentation of the superior operational from the political wing, the leading group of the two wings was common but the authority of the leader was absolute, according to the Hitler&#39;s doctrine ‘Fuererprinzip’ his command for action or approval to a minor action was sacred and non-negotiable. In the opinion of persons of ‘GOLDEN DAWN’ those who do not belong to the ‘the popular community of the race’ are sub-humans. In this category belong foreign immigrants, Roma, those who disagree with their ideas and even people with mental or physical disabilities.” (…) “By implementing the charter’s ‘principles’ and goals of this criminal organisation dozens of offenses were committed (…) “the most serious of which are listed with references to the relevant indictments of justice: attempted murder, intentional homicide, attempted murder, robbery, explosions, offenses relating to explosives, heavy intended physical damage. (…) In particular, it should be noted that in certain cases, the number of which may be higher, men of the Greek police assisted or in the best of cases tolerated organization’s members to commit various criminal blameful acts, a fact that should be examined thoroughly”.</p> </blockquote> <h2>The criminal organisation as the political party’s core</h2> <p>European political history is familiar with the phenomenon of political parties that operate lawfully, yet are either favourably disposed toward or collaborate with illegal organisations, described as &quot;criminal&quot; or &quot;terrorist&quot; by the current legal order.&nbsp; These parties are, in principle, political expressions of ethnic radicalism and act as the political wing/branch of an outlawed cell. Notwithstanding the obvious inconsistencies with these parties, Golden Dawn is a case that challenges the traditional division of relations between the “cell” and the “political wing”. The reason is simple: in this case, the cell and the wing coincide. The criminal organisation <em>is (in)</em> the political party. Indeed, the criminal organisation is the hard core of the party. Conversely, certain political party structures coincide with those of the criminal organisation, since certain of its members engage, under strict hierarchy and coordination, in illegal acts due to the fact that they are its members. This explains why some members of the Golden Dawn could be equally regarded as members of the criminal organisation, whereas others not.&nbsp; </p> <p>This peculiar situation of a political party-criminal organisation can be attributed to a number of reasons. In Greece, given the recent historical past of coups d&#39;état, there is a broad political culture of intolerance to any form of state intervention in internal party affairs or the prohibition of political parties for ideological reasons. As a result, a party that would have been declared illegal in most European countries enjoys the privilege of legitimate operation in Greece. As Catholic priests are allergic to legalising abortion, the Greek legal world is allergic to ceasing the operation of political parties! This&nbsp; ‘allergy’ has been well handled by Golden Dawn.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Democracy is generous, not foolish. It can and will protect itself against its enemies.</p> <p>For years, major departments of state institutions, charged with ensuring public order, have not been prosecuting members of Golden Dawn, even when they were provokingly committing crimes. I particularly refer to the police and the judiciary, but also the Orthodox Church and the Army. The infiltration of the Greek state apparatus by the far-right is not new for us here and has been <a href="http://rosalux-europa.info/userfiles/file/RightWing_A4_WEB.pdf">recently documented</a>. It should rather be regarded within the legacy, and continuities, of the authoritarian and anti-communist past of the country.</p> <p>Last but not least, for a considerable period of time, certain circles of the conservative establishment were expecting a ‘serious’, less violent, Golden Dawn as a kind of ‘sustainable solution’ within the fragile Greek political system. This approach has been shared by a good part of the mainstream media and the conservative party, itself. The same surroundings were very eager in promoting the so-called ‘theory of the extremes’, the one extreme being SYRIZA, the other being the Nazis. Golden Dawn had been equally useful in order to fulfil the necessary conditions of the plausibility of this dangerously ridiculous theory. </p> <p>What’s for sure is that unlike similar formations in Western Europe, Golden Dawn has never been a party of outsiders, a pariah organisation. It has always had its supporters within the police, the army, even the judiciary and the church. This <a href="http://rosalux-europa.info/userfiles/file/PsarrasEN.pdf">did not change</a> when the organisation made it into the Greek parliament. Its action was simply split in two parts, a legal-public and a clandestine-criminal one – that is, a ‘political’ and a ‘military’ branch, both under the same leadership.</p> <h2>The outcome of the case?&nbsp;</h2> <p>The members of Golden Dawn are not in the dock for their ideas but for their actions. These actions were not due to drunkenness or to the heat of the moment, but to their –unfortunate for them and all of us – membership in an organisation centred around an ideology targeting humans as ‘sub-humans’. These morbid ideas led to criminal acts that no state should or could ever leave unpunished. </p> <p>The completion of the Golden Dawn trial – the only proper state response to its criminal essence – should have only one outcome: the recognition of Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation. This will close the cycle of irresponsible laxity of Greek authorities vis-a-vis a statutory enemy of democracy. Thus, when this trial comes to an end, hopefully in 2018, with an irrevocable verdict that Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation disguised to a political party, then the Greek Cessation Court will have to prohibit its participation in the next national elections. This, of course, will not solve the problem of the penetration of national socialist ideology into enclaves of Greek society, but it will be a big blow and will offer a strict paradigm for the future: democracy is generous, not foolish. It can and will protect itself against its enemies. </p> <p>The Golden Dawn trial concerns every democratic citizen and its outcome will be a stepping stone for the defeat of extreme right-wing radicalism across Europe. It is a major event for Greek democracy and beyond.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/if-there-is-hope-in-colombia-then-there-can-be-hope-everywhere">If there is hope in Colombia, then there can be hope everywhere</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/exiles-in-aegean-year-after-eu-turkey-deal">&#039;Exiles in the Aegean&#039;: a year after the EU–Turkey deal</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/human-rights-in-state-of-perpetual-emergency">Human rights in a state of perpetual emergency</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/greece-has-still-political-life-beyond-austerity-but-what-">Greece still has political life beyond austerity. But what kind of life is it?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">Refugees are the bogeyman: the real threat is the far right</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Dimitris Christopoulos Fri, 26 Jan 2018 09:02:23 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 115833 at https://www.opendemocracy.net If there is hope in Colombia, then there can be hope everywhere https://www.opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/if-there-is-hope-in-colombia-then-there-can-be-hope-everywhere <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>There's an opening for progress in Bogotá, but it could close soon.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-31856304.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">A woman reacts during the broadcast of the handing over of weapons of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) at the municipality of Mesetas, in Bogota, capital of Colombia, on 27 June 2017. Jhon Paz/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <p>&quot;If there is hope in Colombia, then there can be hope everywhere&quot;. It is with these words that a taxi driver in Bogotá greeted me a few days ago. Indeed, in a rather challenging year for human rights across the globe, the peace process in Colombia appeared as an unexpected development bringing hope. Its implementation, however, is far from an easy task.</p> <p>Following my visit to Colombia I can see three possible scenarios for the immediate future. The optimistic one is close to what the FARC leadership is fighting for and what many would expect: transition to a democratic order, which would entail the transformation of FARC into a political party. Yet, this scenario is stumbling over time. How easy is it to heal a half-century of wounds within one summer? On the other hand, time is pressing: the forthcoming presidential elections are likely to bring about an ally of former president Uribe to the country’s leadership, and then the peace agreement will, most probably, vanish in the haze.</p> <p>The second scenario is not very romantic, but is certainly better than the third. Nothing is more definitive than the temporary. In this context, the transitional camps –&nbsp;where 7,000 rebels are currently settled and disarming – could gradually develop into permanent facilities under the protection of the state and the new United Nations Mission in Colombia. Let’s not forget that the 1 June 2017 scheduled abandonment has been pushed back. Since they are not obliged to abandon their camps, the former &#39;<em>guerrilleros</em>&#39; will set up their own agricultural communities across Colombia. And one should not be surprised if in the near future the &#39;<em>zones veredales</em>&#39; evolve into popular sites for academics, journalists, and adventurous travellers to visit. </p> <h2>The paramilitary threat</h2> <p>The third scenario is unpleasant. Unfortunately though, it has a powerful ally on its side: historical precedents not only in Colombia, but also across the world, where the aim of the state is the political and possibly even the natural elimination of the (now unarmed) internal enemy. The Achilles heel of the current peace process is the dynamic reconsolidation, right after the armistice, of paramilitary organisations. As we speak, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia has recorded 60 assassinations and more than 400 attacks on human rights defenders/activists and community leaders.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">The Achilles heel of the current peace process is the reconsolidation of paramilitary organisations.</p> <p>Colombia&#39;s government and president, Juan Manuel Santos, who so far have had the initiative to promote the peace process, seem to be trapped. On the one hand, the outcome of last October’s referendum limited the popular legitimacy of the peace process. On the other, in FARC’s absence, paramilitary organisations, which never ceased to operate in Colombia, seem to reemerge. Ultimately, parts of the &#39;deep&#39; Colombian state never ceased to work with armed groups that are currently posing the major threat to the peace process. As Luis Ernesto Gomez, the deputy interior minister, told me: &quot;There is no longer a centralised brain to run the paramilitaries as it used to be, and therefore the use of the term &#39;<em>paramilitarismo</em>&#39; is no longer accurate. These are groups of common criminal organised crime”. </p> <p>The government in Bogotá does not want to admit the existence of paramilitaries: this would testify to the state&#39;s blatant failure to hold and exert a monopoly on organised violence. Nevertheless – regardless of how one calls them – these groups do not merely pursue garden-variety criminal activities. They have a clearly defined socio-political aim: to neutralise and eliminate dissidents in order to control the territory. </p> <p>Today, the best service Colombian elites can offer to their people is to turn against the monster they&#39;ve been feeding for so many years. Otherwise, at some point, not too far from now, it will inevitably turn against them. Fighting against neo-paramilitarism in Colombia is not a simple human rights issue. It is a global security challenge.</p> <h2>A fragile line to follow</h2> <p>The peace agreement provides a system of transitional justice still in its infancy. Striking a balance between amnesty and accountability, memory and forgiveness is not an easy one. </p> <p>Yet, even if the peace process is not derailed completely, we still have a long way to go in Colombia: the armed conflict between the state and FARC has been just <em>one</em> of the sources of violence in the country. Paramilitarism, drug trafficking, uncontrolled plantations and other illegal corporate activities from multinationals – combined with the survival of semi-feudal structures of agricultural economy – have always been there, regardless of the armed conflict. They may have intertwined with and exacerbated the conflict, but have existed, developed, and persisted independently.</p> <p>Finally, the negotiations with other active guerrilla groups, such as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) in Quito, although completely forgotten, are going to be key in moving towards peace.&nbsp; The ceasefire with FARC has brought to the surface all other internal sources of violence. Ending the armed conflict is not enough, as such, to bring sustainable peace in Colombia.&nbsp; </p> <p>Nonetheless, the taxi driver had his point: if, in such extreme circumstances, there is hope in a country which has become the universal stereotypical synonym of civil violence, corruption, systematic human rights violations, and crimes against humanity, hope can exist everywhere in the world. </p> <p>A group of human rights activist in Medellin, once the most violent city in the world, have united under the following slogan: &quot;<em>Que la paz no nos cueste la vida</em>&quot; (peace shouldn&#39;t cost us our lives). Indeed, in Colombia where a war culture is consolidated, it is worth reminding ourselves that peace should not cost human lives.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/nelson-camilo-s-nchez/post-conflict-in-colombia-18-amnesty-and-pardon-in-peace-pro">Post-conflict in Colombia (18) Amnesty and pardon in the peace process </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/leonardo-goi/colombia-s-peace-requires-disarmament-of-gender-fear">Colombia’s peace requires the disarmament of gender-fear </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ivan-briscoe/colombia-real-peace-in-era-of-phony-war">Colombia: real peace in an era of phony war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/h-ctor-riveros/colombia-now-we-need-to-talk-about-people">Colombia, now we need to talk about the people</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Colombia Dimitris Christopoulos Fri, 30 Jun 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 111999 at https://www.opendemocracy.net 'Exiles in the Aegean': a year after the EU–Turkey deal https://www.opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/exiles-in-aegean-year-after-eu-turkey-deal <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The EU-Turkey deal turns one year old on 18 March. Has it achieved its intended purpose?&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-29989018.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px;">Piles of used life jackets on the Greek island of Lesvos in February 2017. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images</p> <p>Bert Birtles, an Australian journalist and poet, arrived in Athens in the fall of 1935 to meet Dora “at sunset under the Parthenon”. Very soon, the interest of the young devoted admirers of classical Greece shifted from the archaeological ruins to contemporary politics. In 1936, following a fascist coup, Bert and Dora started visiting islands of the Aegean that were used as destinations for exiles.</p> <p>In 1938, Birtles published <em>Exiles in the Aegean</em>, his “personal narrative of Greek politics and travel”. The book offers an exciting first-hand chronicle of the experiences and lives of the exiled leftists on the islands of Anafi and Gavdos, but also Leros, Karpathos and Lesvos. These islands continued to operate as spaces of&nbsp; “administrative displacement” throughout the twentieth century, and it was only in 1974, after the end of the colonels’ dictatorship, that this practice came to an end. </p> <p class="mag-quote-left">Islands are regarded as the ideal quarantine zone.</p> <p>Even for my generation, born in the late 1960s, the phrase “to the dry islands” was the synonym of isolation, just as the phrase “to the mountains” was the synonym of resistance against the Axis forces in the 1940s. And then, in the 1980s, the “dry islands” became the ideal tourist resort, one of the must-see destinations of the world: a synonym of pleasure and relaxation. </p> <p>At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the islands of the eastern Aegean, close to the Turkish coast, became the first entry point to the EU for the thousands fleeing their countries, either for fear of being persecuted, or just in search of a decent life in Europe. Islands became the stepping stone to Athens, and, in turn, Athens a stepping stone to northern Europe. </p> <p>Islands offer a prototype for an exercise in control and biopolitics, as Foucault would put it. The pre-1974 Greek state, which was not exactly famous for its democratic culture, knew this well. The European Union, on the other hand, only really realised this a year ago, with the infamous EU-Turkey statement addressing what the Europeans labelled a “migration crisis”, i.e. the arrival of a million refugees in a continent of half a billion inhabitants…</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Three people died in their tents a month ago on the island of Lesvos.</p> <p>Islands, both now and then, are regarded as the ideal quarantine zone: first it was for communists so they wouldn’t intoxicate their environment with their ideas, now for migrants and refugees, with a twofold objective. First, to send the message that this is what lies ahead for those who intend to make their way across the Aegean. Second, to send a message to European citizens and to address their primary fear: the buffer zone at the periphery of the EU ensures that no more refugees and immigrants can enter the ‘promised land’.</p> <p>This winter was hard, and as a result three people died in their tents a month ago on the island of Lesvos. The European humanitarian consciousness seemed to be shocked. It was only then, i.e.<em> </em>very recently, that conditions in the hot spots started to improve. Yet, even these deaths seemed to send the appropriate message across the Aegean sea: <em>“Do not come!”</em> Following a cynical line of thought, the less decent the conditions of reception are, the fewer will be those who dare to come.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>This is why, at the end of the day, despite <a href="https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/03/06/the-refugee-archipelago-the-inside-story-of-what-went-wrong-in-greece">the enormous sums spent in Greece</a> on the ‘refugee question’, the result is poor. On the one hand, the Greek administrative chaos has become a nightmare for all those working in the field. On the other, this chaos is in convenient complicity with the political objective of the EU, to prevent the flows. </p> <p>So let’s stop debating about the financial aspect and let’s focus on the message. A year after the signature of the EU-Turkey Statement, the General Court of the European Union declared that it lacked jurisdiction on it. And so as the statement functions in a legal limbo, everything becomes much easier. </p> <p>But yet, even on the operational level, the success of the deal is highly debatable. The flows had already <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">drastically diminished</a>, from a daily rate of 2000 to 800, right after the western Balkan corridor was sealed a month before the deal was implemented. So, let’s stop fetishising this statement and dare to face its intoxicating effects: Europe buys time preventing flows which will soon re-appear more impetuously; Turkey buys European silence over its totalitarian shift; and, somewhere in the middle, Greece deters arrivals in a dangerous game while facing its own huge social and financial problems.</p> <p>After all, the major challenge for Greece should not be the rejection but the integration of the newcomers. Many of them will, at the end of the day, stay on its territory. This is why the first country that has an obvious reason to express its discontent with this statement is Greece. No prudent state would risk its fragile social cohesion for such improvisations and experiments... </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The “deal”, and any similar “deals” of the future, feed the far right radicalisation in the EU, consolidating an image of an EU in harmony with xenophobia.</p> <p>I already hear the other side echoing a well-known argument: ‘you are right but there is no alternative to the statement’. Yet, if there is political will, then alternatives become visible and are explored. This is how it goes: we have to make choices, and always think of the balance between costs and benefits in the long term. </p> <p>If we were perceptive enough, we’d be able to detect the long-term disastrous cost of this statement. The “deal”, and any similar “deals” of the future, feed the far right radicalisation in the EU, consolidating an image of an EU in harmony with xenophobia. That is why the EU-Turkey statement is a threat to a democratic and law-abiding Europe.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/human-rights-in-state-of-perpetual-emergency">Human rights in a state of perpetual emergency</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/greece-has-still-political-life-beyond-austerity-but-what-">Greece still has political life beyond austerity. But what kind of life is it?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">Refugees are the bogeyman: the real threat is the far right</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/martina-tazzioli/concentric-cages-hotspots-of-lesvos-after-eu-turkey-">Concentric cages: the hotspots of Lesvos after the EU-Turkey agreement</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/donatella-della-ratta/the-EU-Turkey-deal-unjust-and-short-sighted">The EU-Turkey deal: unjust and short-sighted</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/defne-gonenc/turkey-eu-deal-for-refugee-crisis-and-how-to-really-solve-problem">The Turkey–EU refugee deal and how to really solve &#039;the problem&#039;</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Greece Dimitris Christopoulos Sat, 18 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 109505 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Human rights in a state of perpetual emergency https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/human-rights-in-state-of-perpetual-emergency <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How long will it take for the European 'crisis' to be re-framed as the new norm, and what are the potential consequences of that shift?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-24845905.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /></p> <p class="image-caption">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Transition, not crisis</h2> <p>When things go wrong, we generally tend to speak of crisis. Yet, the term ‘crisis’ refers to the ‘exceptional’, to a harmful turmoil that will sooner or later diminish to a parenthesis before returning to normality. Well, this is not the case anymore. The reality we live in is <em>not</em> a human rights crisis. It is a new era. It is a transition: nowhere as visible as in the collective condition of vulnerability that saturates global politics from Sub-Saharan Africa and South America to the Far and Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. Seeing the juncture as a transition, as a chain of causes and consequences, implies that we should conceptualise the 'crisis' as a meaningful movement <em>away from</em> and not <em>toward</em> democracy. </p> <p class="mag-quote-left">If the state of emergency becomes the norm in Europe, then rule of law faces a global threat.</p> <p>It is indeed a transition towards the unknown, yet with one known consolidated global consequence: the exacerbation of inequality, within each and every country and throughout the world. This volatile situation is reflected in the ongoing developments of global human rights threats, where next to states, non-state, private and corporate actors have an increasingly significant role in human rights violations. The political developments initiated in the 1990s in Africa and in the new millennium in the Middle East and Maghreb spread hope against atrocious military regimes. Yet, as we are witnessing today, these changes in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and even Central Africa have led to geopolitical instability, restoration of authoritarianism, dehumanisation of Islam, and ongoing bloodshed.</p> <p>At the start of a new year, we need to remind ourselves of the old motto: <em>no peace without justice</em>. Our commitment to holding individual perpetrators of crimes against humanity to account through the international criminal justice system must remain unshakeable, so that justice and accountability becomes an inherent element of this transition we are going through. Otherwise, the new era will be governed by impunity and war.</p> <p>It is a world of change, yet traditional human rights dilemmas persist and new challenges are emerging. More than ever, we need to <em>keep our eyes open</em>, as my organisation's motto, the International Federation for Human Rights, aptly puts it. Human rights work is becoming increasingly complicated, as against us are not just autocratic governments but also new (state or non state – international or national) actors that require a more robust and multifaceted strategy to effectively combat.</p> <p>And this where 'Europe' becomes an issue... </p> <h2>Europe as a human rights problem</h2> <p>The EU is one of the strongest actors currently able to hold other states to account in terms of human rights violations. Therefore, the undermining of human rights <em>within</em> Europe has an extraterritorial impact, as the loss of credibility for European human rights discourse and the blatant existence of double standards makes it more difficult to pressure third countries to safeguard and implement human rights policies.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">If France can’t emancipate from its 'Etat d’urgence' (i.e. state of emergency), why should Turkey?</p> <p>It is not just that Europe faces human rights problems of its own. The European setting offers a case where the human rights problems in a specific region lead to global repercussions. On the one hand, austerity politics, shaped by the EU and its locomotive Germany, undermine the core of a democratic polity and target social cohesion. On the other hand, infringements to the principle of separation of powers within the EU are intertwined with the rise of racist state policies. We can see the former in Greece, which has become the acute symptom of a European disease, and the latter in Hungary’s exclusionary policies eroding rule of law. These are, alarmingly, becoming 'prerogatives' of developed democracies, of countries that regard themselves as bastions of rule of law. </p> <p>This historical shift to a more routine ‘state of emergency’ questions fundamental human rights <em>acquis</em>. Should that become the norm in Europe, then rule of law faces a global threat. If France can’t emancipate from its '<em>Etat d’urgence</em>' (i.e. state of emergency), why should Turkey? And then who comes next? If the EU can’t stand refugees, why should Turkey?</p> <p>Let’s be more explicit here: the EU today shamefully speaks of a ‘refugee crisis’ after the arrival of one million refugees – out of 65 million refugees in the world and in a continent of half a billion. <em>This is not a refugee crisis, but a reception crisis</em>, in other words a solidarity crisis motivated by a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">two-fold moral hazard against both the refugees and the extreme right</a>. Should we continue this way, then today we expel the refugees, tomorrow we will be rejecting one another. Look at what happened to the UK: migrants’ rejection&nbsp; led to BREXIT. Alarming memories of a European history student...</p> <p>It is this same student who would assure you that no transition has a prefixed destination, should that be good or otherwise. The outcome depends on the task we give ourselves in the struggle. And the song remains the same in every struggle: “which side are you on”?</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/greece-has-still-political-life-beyond-austerity-but-what-">Greece still has political life beyond austerity. But what kind of life is it?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">Refugees are the bogeyman: the real threat is the far right</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/digitaliberties/david-beer/algorithms-villains-and-heroes-of-post-truth-era">Algorithms: the villains and heroes of the ‘post-truth’ era</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/anthony-barnett/john-berger-witness-to-human-condition-1926-2017">John Berger, witness to the human condition (1926-2017)</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Dimitris Christopoulos Thu, 05 Jan 2017 08:00:00 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 107935 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Greece still has political life beyond austerity. But what kind of life is it? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/greece-has-still-political-life-beyond-austerity-but-what- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As the Greek government cosies up to the church and right-wing forces become more extreme, human rights and national stability are coming under increasing threat.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-29185175.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">US President Barack Obama toasts with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, right, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, during Obama's visit to Greece on 15 November 2016. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Press Association. All rights reserved.</p> <p>On 7 November 2016, something unprecedented happened in Greek political affairs, but it went unreported by the international media. Among the few things written about the recent Greek cabinet reshuffle was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/06/greek-prime-minister-tsipras-reshuffles-cabinet-to-boost-bailout-reforms">an article</a> in <em>The Guardian</em>, which put the proper emphasis on the fact that this reshuffle constituted a positive message to the country’s lenders. But there was no mention of the ideological stakes: the growing influence of religion and nationalism on a supposedly progressive government along with the undermining of the human rights agenda.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">The hapless state budget in austerity-ridden Greece still pays without fail the salaries of more than 11,000 Orthodox priests.</p> <p>Nikos Filis, the (now former) Greek minister of education and religion, a longtime member of the reformist Left and, until recently, the head of SYRIZA’s official party newspaper, was not included in the new cabinet that emerged after the government reshuffle. Three days earlier, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Greek Church, had said in a TV interview that “Nikos Filis is a problematic person”, expressing his dissatisfaction with the former minister’s efforts to reform religious education in Greek schools, turning what had essentially been a catechism class into the study of comparative religion. </p> <p>This idea is anathema to the Greek Church, as evidenced by the fact that its once moderate leader suddenly behaved like a fundamentalist Orthodox Christian, allying himself with extremist, right-wing members of the clergy who had until recently been blessing the offices of Golden Dawn. His TV interview constitutes an act of direct political intervention, during which the archbishop predicted that the government would fall in five or six months, and said openly that he himself could topple it with a word to the head of the Independent Greeks, the far-right, populist party that is Tsipras’ governing partner. </p> <p>Church intervention is not particularly novel in Greek politics. What is new in this affair is that during the handing over ceremony, the deposed minister of education effectively charged prime minister Alexis Tsipras with executing a “contract of political death” drawn up against him by the TV journalist and the archbishop. Along with the minister of education, the minister of justice (a professor with a background of human rights activism) and the deputy minister of education (also disliked by the church) were left out of the new cabinet. Three days later, the secretary general for human rights, a well-known Greek human rights activist, also resigned from his position along with the secretary general for migration, protesting against the EU-Turkey deal on refugees. All this has shaken the already turbulent Greek political scene.</p> <h2>Austerity isn’t the only game in town</h2> <p>In Greece, there is still political life beyond austerity. There are crucial ideological battles that have historically divided the nation, battles that at times transcend the traditional left-right division and at times confirm it. The relationship between church and state is one of them. It is one of the most crucial on a symbolic level, but it is also financially significant, since the hapless state budget in austerity-ridden Greece still pays without fail the salaries of more than 11,000 Orthodox priests. </p> <p class="mag-quote-left">It is clear that the Greek government is no longer friendly toward reforms that have to do with promoting human rights and the rule of law.</p> <p>It is clear that the Greek government is no longer friendly toward reforms that have to do with promoting human rights and the rule of law. SYRIZA’s conviction is that such things are unpopular, and that they attack rooted views against which we must not openly battle. Among the Independent Greeks, views that are hostile to human rights flourish anyway. It is a fact that this government, with the bright exception of literally only three measures – the decongestion of prisons, nationality for second-generation immigrants, and civil unions for same-sex couples – was not willing to wage battles for the traditional goals of the Greek Left – and of the Left in general. For its incapacity to utter a single word worthy of the emancipatory tradition and the ideological hegemony of the left that it supposedly expresses, it cannot only blame austerity. It must also blame itself.</p> <p>For its part, the Greek Right has been incapable of adopting a normal, liberal political discourse, for reasons related to its history from the early twentieth century to the fall of the Greek junta in 1974. It relies, as a matter of course, on a conservative retreat vis-à-vis the Left. This is what it has always done. This is what it knows best. This is what it does now, capitalising on any political footing it finds – with the exception of Golden Dawn – to its right. A conviction of Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation will in fact make this path even swifter, as it will leave ample space for the Greek conservative party to make inroads into the right end of the Greek political spectrum.</p> <p>As long as the discourse on rights and the rule of law in Greece remains politically homeless, the balance of power in the domestic ideological battle will become even more unfavourable to human rights. In this case, in a world led by Donald Trump, the possibility of a new Hungary or a Poland cropping up on Europe’s south-eastern corner, next to a peripheral power that is truly out of geopolitical control (Turkey), keeps coming closer. </p> <p>Obama’s visit to Athens, as his diplomatic swan song, should be also read in the light of the above. Despite what had been solemnly said, what bothers the outgoing US administration is not austerity in Greece, as such. Let’s be clear on that. The major concern is the impact of austerity to Greece’s political stability and, further on, eventual geopolitical repercussions in an already fragile region. And that is why rights matter… </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right">Refugees are the bogeyman: the real threat is the far right</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/antonis-vradis/why-protesting-obama-after-trumps-victory-makes-so-much-sense">Why protesting Obama after Trump&#039;s victory makes so much sense</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/rodrigo-vaz/what-does-future-hold-for-southern-europe">What does the future hold for Southern Europe?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kirsteen-shields/greece-is-forced-to-commit-widespread-human-rights-abuses-under-">A rule of law crisis overshadows the refugee one</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sergio-carrera-aikaterini-drakopolou/unsafe-turkey-unsafe-europe">Unsafe Turkey, unsafe Europe</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Greece Dimitris Christopoulos Thu, 17 Nov 2016 17:06:39 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 106906 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Refugees are the bogeyman: the real threat is the far right https://www.opendemocracy.net/dimitris-christopoulos/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The EU-Turkey deal was more an attack on the rising far right than on refugee flows across the Aegean Sea. Yet, it hasn’t worked.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-25622691_920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">People hold up banners in Erfurt, central Germany, on 24 February 2016, during a demonstration initiated by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party against the migrant situation in Germany. Jens Meyer/Press Association. All rights reserved.</p> <p>Nobody was happy when the EU signed its infamous refugee deal with Turkey in March 2016. All parties involved were, to varying degrees, extremely cautious. The deal was (and still is) very demanding: Turkey is to accept returning refugees and migrants, limit their departure, and implement a considerable number of reforms in order to revive its pre-accession negotiations with the EU. Greece must detain all new arrivals and return them to Turkey in ways which formally meet minimal human rights standards, while at the same time process the asylum requests of those already on Greek territory when the deal went into force. Finally, the EU’s other member states must not only accept the relocation and resettlement of Syrian refugees from Greece and Turkey, but also accept the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens.</p> <p>Already bordering on mission impossible, political events in Europe and Turkey have made this even more difficult. In June voters in the United Kingdom, driven by anti-immigration rhetoric, chose Brexit, a painful vote of no confidence from one of the EU’s biggest member states. Right-wing nationalist parties made gains in several member states, including Germany, and a failed coup in Turkey precipitated a brutal crackdown on ‘dissidents’, Kurds, members of the Gülen movement, and anybody else who questions its methods or goals.</p> <p>The Turkish state’s increasing disregard for human rights makes the already questionable EU-Turkey deal incredibly problematic, and in other circumstances it would (hopefully) give European governments pause for thought. However, due to the visibly growing strength of the far right across Europe it says nothing. European governments feel they need the former to combat the latter, and thus as long as Turkey prevents further migrants from crossing the Aegean, no need for further pressure.</p> <h2>Why did the flows across the Aegean cease?</h2> <p>A widely-shared belief in Europe, in both policy and popular circles, is that the 18 March EU-Turkey deal has severely curtailed the refugee and migrant flows from Turkey to the EU via Greece. This belief suggests that Turkey somehow holds a magic wand that it can use, like a policeman directing traffic, to stop the flows of migrants. It’s a belief that also gives Turkey leverage, as it suggests Turkey could just as easily ‘open the floodgates’ as it has closed them.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">New arrivals to Greece dropped from 2000 to 800 per day the moment the crossing at Idomeni was sealed.</p> <p>Yet, this is a misconception. The flows from Turkey to Greece did not stop because of the deal. Migratory movements instead slowed from the very moment the Macedonian authorities sealed the Balkan corridor by closing the crossing at Idomeni, the end result of a domino effect that started in Austria and crossed all of former Yugoslavia before ending at Greece.</p> <p><a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information/docs/20160928/presentation_en.pdf">The&nbsp;<em>de facto</em>&nbsp;passage via Idomeni had already started to close</a> in November 2015, when Greece’s northern neighbour decided to ban entrance to its territory for everybody except Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi citizens. As the months progressed the rules became progressively more strict. Afghans were prohibited entry in late February 2016, and on 6 March the border closed to Syrians and Iraqis as well.</p> <p>This impacted the number of people attempting to cross the Aegean Sea. In February 2016 Greece was still seeing on average 2000 new arrivals a day, but from the moment the Idomeni access route was sealed this number fell to 800 a day, according to <a href="http://data.unhcr.org/mediterranean/country.php?id=83">UNHCR data</a>. After the deal was signed, the 800 fell again to mere <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/proposal-implementation-package/docs/20160928/3rd_report_on_the_progress_made_in_the_implementation_of_the_eu-turkey_statement_en.pdf">tens of new arrivals</a> daily.</p> <p>It is obvious from these numbers that arrivals were drastically reduced much before the EU-Turkey Deal. This was perhaps due in part to the impending winter, or to Turkey increasing control before the deal as a show of good faith, but it was also certainly due to the border closure effected between November 2015 and March 2016. People simply stopped coming to Greece because they did not want to be trapped like the approximately 50,000 people who entered Greece when the Balkan corridor was closed and before the EU-Turkey Deal was signed.</p> <p>Some, of course, still came. They have ended up in horrific, newly created detention centres with no hope of relocation, resettlement or even return. Greece is also caught within this painful picture. Already punished by austerity, the country has now become a buffer state and refugee warehouse. This is the nub of the Greeks’ impasse and painful dilemma: Greek society has the potential for integrating new arrivals, but any attempt to improve migrants’ conditions or comply with integration policies signals to other member states that the decision to turn their backs on Greece is acceptable. This is a recipe for administrative paralysis in any country and the core reason why the Greek state does not want to deliver. As a result of this and the EU-Turkey deal, Greek islands today are on the verge of imploding, since thousands of people are stored and detained there.</p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-28466446.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">People walk through a refugee camp which houses about 3,200 refugees and migrants in the western Athens' suburb of Skaramagas, on 25 August 2016. Thanassis Stavrakis/Press Association. All rights reserved.</p> <h2>Athens – Dublin – Berlin</h2> <p>The European Commission <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/submission/refugees-are-bogeyman-real-threat-is-far-right#sdfootnote6sym">continually requests</a> updates from Greece regarding the improvement of detention conditions. Is this out of humanitarian interest? Is it because of concern for the deplorable performance of a member state’s detention system? No, of course not. The EC is instead concerned with lifting the court-ordered ban in many countries on returning migrants to Greece under the Dublin regulations, which allow for sending migrants back to their country of first arrival to seek asylum there.</p> <p>This ban resulted from the European Court of Human Right’s landmark ruling in <em>MSS v. Greece and Belgium, </em>which found that the Greek asylum process was so woeful that it amounted to a breach of Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that Belgium violated Articles 3 and 13 of the convention by returning the claimant to Greece. Many national administrative courts in northern Europe have since frozen governments’ ability to invoke this aspect of the Dublin Regulations with regard to Greece, given that the detention conditions there were <a href="http://www.asylumlawdatabase.eu/en/content/ecthr-mss-v-belgium-and-greece-gc-application-no-3069609">equated to torture</a>.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">Already punished by austerity, Greece has now become a buffer state and refugee warehouse.</p> <p>Should the suspension be lifted, some thousands of refugees who went through Greece in 2015-2016 could be returned to Greece, the country where they first entered EU soil. This puts Greece in a quandary. Should Greece improve detention conditions to the point where the moribund Dublin Regulations regulations are reapplied, and thus potentially receive 50,000 or 100,000 more refugees? No matter how much pressure is put on Greece, this will not happen. It will not take this risk.</p> <p>The Dublin system, therefore, is at the heart of the EU’s failure to cope with the current situation. Bold measures are now needed to change it. As long as it is there, the hope that <em>either</em> northern or southern countries of Europe will assume or share responsibility remains improbable. Inaugurating a common European reception system means reforming the Dublin Regulations and abolishing the EU-Turkey Deal. Otherwise, the situation is hopeless.</p> <p>If a frank and constructive approach is genuinely sought regarding Europe’s cynical stance described above, then we first need to admit that the EU-Turkey deal has worked far better as a political message than as an effective block on Aegean crossings. The deal signalled to European populations that they could rest easy again; refugees would not come knocking at their door because someone elsewhere – be it in Greece or Turkey – was doing the dirty job of gatekeeper.</p> <p>It signalled to Turkey and Greece that their new roles are now squarely as buffer states, and for their trouble they would receive favours: for Turkey, visas for its citizens; for Greece, some understanding regarding other sources of public finance. Finally, refugees were also sent a message with the EU-Turkey deal. The story was no longer “<em>wir schaffen das</em>” – German chancellor Angela Merkel’s slogan of ‘we’ve got this’ – but ‘we’re taking back control’. Such messages are meaningful and deliver political consequences. Thus the EU-Turkey deal becomes the bogeyman of refugees and the guard dog of the Europeans.</p> <h2>The bogeyman and the real threat</h2> <p>This is how the deal is supposed to be working: as a deterrent for refugees and as an obstacle for the extreme right. With no more refugees in Europe, there is no need to turn to radical solutions. Yet, the recipe does not seem to deliver much. Far right parties and movements are enjoying electoral exposure, particularly on the issue of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, while most center-left or center-right wing governments sink further into the moral morass.</p> <p>The EU-Turkey deal gives false comfort to Europe’s politicians, who believe they might be able to stave off the rise of the far right with a show of strength. On first reading, the argument appears well founded: the presence of migrants and refugees along with the logistical difficulties of managing the influx provides fertile ground for consolidating far right discourse. The UK has already voted to jump ship in large part because of the fears whipped up by far-right, anti-immigrant rhetoric in that country. The anti-immigrant, nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AFD) is also making gains, as are similar parties elsewhere. But, if the refugee flows are curtailed, the wind might be taken out of the far right’s sails. That said, even the most sincere supporters of the deal are unlikely to believe that all the parties involved will deliver on what’s been promised. </p> <p>The mainstream European parties cannot publicly confess this: that refugees bring the extreme right with them, and that they are trying to keep one out to keep out the other. Yet, if we keep out refugees and migrants in order to avoid the rise of the far right, we ourselves become the beast we are fighting against.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">If we keep out refugees and migrants in order to avoid the rise of the far right, we ourselves become the beast we are fighting against.</p> <p>But, even dressed in the clothes of their enemies, the mainstream politicians aren’t all that convincing – and by donning these ill-fitting suits they empower the people they are trying to undermine. Given the choice between middle-class career politicians speaking the loveless, dry and depoliticised language of functional expediency and the furious demagogues speaking the emotional language of sovereignty, people would choose the latter. And this is what they have started to do, despite (or maybe because of) the EU-Turkey deal and other similar measures.</p> <p>Imagine the youthful, slim and well-dressed Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurtz, who for months has been feeding the most despicable feelings of his people towards foreigners with his rhetoric. Put next to him an impassioned, raging Austrian fascist. If you are really afraid of migrants, who would you ask to protect you? It would naturally be the latter. This is what the Austrians are close to doing. And this is why we run the risk of seeing the first extreme, right-wing head of state elected in one of the countries that impelled us into the second world war.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>The EU must examine critically its ‘achievements’. Few words might be needed to confess that we are going wrong, but that confession must be matched by deeds and actions. We must admit that the ‘bogeyman deal’ not only cannot work, but that it is also sending out a message that is poisoning future European cohesion. Germany has the opportunity to lead Europeans to the moral high ground here and, one might say, a historical duty to do so. </p> <p>Germany revealed its strength as the EU powerhouse, imposing austerity politics on Greece and elsewhere in Europe. Yet she demonstrates a far more flexible position when it comes to the Visegrad Group’s management of refugees – the collective term for Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – a miserable reminder of the darkest inter-war days for Mitteleuropa. It needs to apply its strength here too. The worst possible tactic is to show fear and fill the beast with self-confidence, making it all the more dangerous. Let’s not fear the bogeyman of refugees, a threat which doesn’t exist. The far right, on the other hand, is really there. Let us be cautious then. It is not only an issue of principles and rights. It is an issue of peace: a signal of European prudence after all.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">Toward a more reasonable European asylum system</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/eleni-karageorgiou/solidarity-in-european-asylum-policies-response-to">Solidarity in European asylum policies: response to a problem or part of it?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/Mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/moving-europe/long-year-of-migration-and-balkan-corridor">The long year of migration and the Balkan corridor</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/pia-oberoi/protecting-human-rights-of-migrants-in-time-of-fear">Protecting the human rights of migrants in a time of fear</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Dimitris Christopoulos Wed, 09 Nov 2016 07:12:01 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 106529 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Dimitris Christopoulos https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/dimitris-christopoulos <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dimitris Christopoulos </div> </div> </div> <p>Dimitris Christopoulos is president of the <a href="https://www.fidh.org/en/">International Federation for Human Rights</a>. University professor and activist, he works particularly on issues related to migration, citizenship and other human rights issues. Find him on <a href="https://www.twitter.com/dichristopoulos">@dichristopoulos</a>.</p> Dimitris Christopoulos Sun, 06 Nov 2016 22:03:33 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 106530 at https://www.opendemocracy.net