In Greece Coordinator
are also issues of racism that are specific to Greece, the country we
choose to live in. They are important for us to examine and address.
has been at once a world-traveled society and an insular one. Greek
traders and economic emigrants account for one of the largest ethnic
diasporas on earth, and have brought knowledge of visited and adopted
cultures home on their return. At the same time, village life was often
less worldly, punctuated by the occasional young man who went off to ‘xeniteia’
to find work and riches. That economic emigrant, again.
within the village, life and relationships were marked by likeness and
social ordering. In fact, anthropologist Michael Hertzfeld noted that
within one village he studied in Western Rhodes, people from the
neighbouring village might be referred to as xenoi (foreigners,
strangers). The term indicated simply that they were not from the first
village, although those from the neighboring village might be considered
‘ours’ if the area of selection were broadened to the region or the
country. Foreignness or too much association with foreigners might also be
used to explain aberrant or ‘evil eye’ behavior, though usually not
with harsh outcomes.
there are ethnic and other groups within the country who not only have
been considered alien, but have sometimes suffered poor treatment as a
result. Muslims in the northeastern parts of the country, remnants who
remained after the 1923 post-Ottoman Exchange of Populations, have at
times been encouraged to sell their property and move on, preferably to
Turkey, though they may never have lived there. Current immigrants from
southern Asia and Africa may also experience wage and other exploitation.
They may be of different language, religion, skin color and habit, and
thus not thought due the respect of a fellow Greek or European. It’s a
convenient argument that nets a better profit for the employer.
though, no ethnic group is more universally despised than the Roma, the
nomadic gypsy population that has travelled across the region and up into
Europe for centuries. The word gypsy, gyftos in Greek, derives from
the same root as Egyptian but is used in Greek as a derogatory
term, whereas tsiganos is somewhat better and Roma preferred. Roma
may be distinguishable by slightly different physical features, but it is
their nomadic lifestyle that has placed them outside the Greek village
norm. They are always xenoi, different, suspect. And frequent
migration has also meant gaps in education for their children, inability
to establish ‘wealth’ based on property, ergo, no permanent address
and uneven voting rights. In recent years, the Roma community has to some
extent ‘settled out’ of
the nomadic life and through advocates and high-profile community members
struggled to claim the rights of full citizenship. This is a work in
progress, and, in the meantime, many Roma are still treated as outcasts in
their country of origin.
in Greece - links
Greek Council on Refugees (English)