African migrants face ‘impossible’ life in Greece

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Stuck in a small Athens flat all day to avoid being caught by police, earning another stint in prison and possibly a beating, 29-year-old Cameroonian Eugene Manaa rues the day he came to Greece.

“Life is not just difficult here. It’s impossible,” says Manaa, who recently spent two months in prison on the island of Crete for illegal entry into Greece.

“There’s no work, no money, no housing,” he tells AFP. “There are fifteen of us sharing a flat, we face police checks at every corner, we are subjected to racism and we cannot go to another country.”

Like many of his compatriots, Manaa is among tens of thousands of undocumented migrants caught in a vicious trap.

Lured to the European Union from war-torn homes in search of safety and a better future, they find themselves in Greece at the worst possible moment in the country’s postwar history.

— Hostile environment —

Near-bankruptcy, recession and soaring unemployment have created a hostile environment for migrants and refugees who are seen to be taking jobs from suffering, law-abiding, tax-paying Greeks.

For the past few months, the government has been rounding up migrants who cannot prove residency and placing them in detention centres for repatriation. Over 61,000 people have been inspected since August and over 4,000 have been detained according to police figures.

Ironically, the operation is code-named Xenios Zeus, named after supreme ancient Greek god Zeus, protector of guests.

“You go out to buy bread and you vanish for three months, it happened to me,” says Eric, an Ivorian just released from a detention centre in Corinth.

Worse still, gangs of racist thugs now roam Athens and other main cities by night, looking for foreigners to beat up.

Violent attacks on migrants have escalated after the political success of a neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, which in June won over 400,000 votes in national elections and sent 18 lawmakers to parliament.

Though police have been unable to find hard evidence linking Golden Dawn to the attacks, migrant groups say victim testimonies incriminating supporters of the ultra-nationalist group are irrefutable.

A Congolese man who declines to give his name takes out his cellphone to show a picture of a friend, lying on a hospital bed after being stabbed on the street in one such attack.

“Four people attacked him,” says Guy, a fellow Congolese from Kinshasa.

“They chased him down the street like a goat.”

“When I first arrived in Greece in 2011 there was not so much racism. Now it’s very hard,” says Guy, lowering his head.

The response of police authorities to these attacks is at best half-hearted. Rights groups say migrants are often discouraged from lodging complaints, and some officers are themselves suspected of beatings that go unpunished.

Out of a population of 10.9 million, Greece has around 1.5 million immigrants of whom around 600,000 lack residency papers. The largest group is Albanian but most come from Asian and African countries.

“A month ago, the other residents of the building who are Greek held a meeting and told us to leave,” says Eric.

“A few days later at the bakery, a woman spat at me, saying ‘Black man, why are you here, go back to your country’,” adds Eugene.

Many of these men would like nothing more than to leave Greece for other EU countries, where some have relatives and friends.

But hundreds are intercepted at the country’s borders, or by authorities in neighbouring countries and sent back to Greece.

“Some of these men have lost four, five consecutive air tickets after being intercepted at the airport,” says Father Maurice Joyeux, a Jesuit priest who holds mass for them every Sunday.

Unable to make a living, the small group face additional humiliation in having to ask their families and friends in Africa for help.

“I have to ask friends in Africa to send money so I can pay my rent,” says Manaa, reflecting on the bitter irony of his condition.

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  • Darthkuriboh

    Good. They don’t belong there. Greece is for white Greeks.

  • Good, go back to Africa!

  • Some one who once lived there

    Greeks can dare say they do not want immigrants and yet they are all over Africa ….if Africans leave then all of those idiots Greeks in Africa should leave

    • Fair trade. Ok, let’s do it. All greeks/europeans that do crime in europe leave and africans do the same here. I can live with that deal.

  • Mwafrika!

    Proud to be African!!! Can never hate on a fellow human being, regardless of his skin colour.

  • Jesus Christ

    Europe invades and exploits other countries. Europeans bitch about people in thsoe countries having to emigrate to the EU just to survive.

    • kenai

      Do you mean like in Rhodesia? Oh, wait a minute, that’s Zimbabwe now. How’s that working out, JC? Kinda’ like Kenya or South Africa, ya’ think?

    • We at least gave them instead of just taking. Literacy, basic inventions like sanitary and cars, the breadbasket of Africa that is now Zimbabwe and medicines and vaccinations. Not to mentions who gives the most aid in form of food there? That’s right.

      Least you can do is not to ruin us.

  • Gyros

    Life is hard in the country we invaded illegally, yet you stay and don’t go back home only seeking to enter another nation. Why? Go back home and change your country.

  • csno1

    Go back to your home parasite. Europe’s sick of all of you. You’re only here because our elite, corporations, leftists, and Zionist Jews opened our borders, making it illegal for the native inhabitants to criticise this genocidal process, through the use of empty labels like racism and speech prohibition laws.

    Your days are numbered, foreigners. At least when the time comes you’ll be given the courtesy of us asking you nicely to go back to your resource rich continents. But the traitors – they wont escape what’s coming to them.

    Europe’s not for Africans, not for Asians; it’s for Europeans only.
    Europe for Europeans.

  • chuchi

    Go back to Africa or die.

  • Bernie1967

    Negroes do not belong in Europe. God put negroes in Africa for a reason, so they can roam free with the lion and the antelope.

    Negroes are incapable to build a beautiful society for themselves, and incapable of assimilating into human society. Negroes want to freeload and infect Europe with the negroe disease. I say no to negroes in Europe.

    • mfish618

      All over the world humans are tired of TNB. Go back from whence you came [and take your aids with you].

  • Africa for Africans

    Asia for Asians

    White European countries for EVERYONE!

    Anti-Racist is just codeword for Anti-White!

    Please wake up to this WHITE GENOCIDE!

  • This is the plan for White genocide that “anti-racists” are complicit in: 1) Flood all White countries with millions of non-Whites; 2) Force-integrate these non-Whites into White
    communities; 3) Push interracial relationships 24/7 in the media; 4) Anyone that objects to this is a “racist”. They say a brown future is inevitable, but we know that anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

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