Across Europe, the economic crisis is driving communities to deep desperation, and the people who were always at the margins are getting pushed straight off the edge.
Under misguided austerity policies, unemployment has reached devastating levels in the euro zone–reaching 12 percent across the region and topping 50 percent for youth in Spain and Greece. But some communities are sinking faster than others. Struggling migrant communities–both economic immigrants and refugees–are more neglected by the state’s social infrastructure than ever, while their native-born neighbors turn against them in a rash of xenophobic scapegoating.
Greece, which has long been a hub of immigration from Asia, Middle East and Africa, has become a cesspool of bigotry. According to a December report by Amnesty International, “Asylum-seekers, migrants, community centres, shops and mosques have been the target of such attacks which have been reported on an almost daily basis since the summer.”
Last September, an attack on a Pakistani-run barber shop showed how racism intersects with inhumane immigration policies:
The two men verbally attacked the Greek customer who was present for having a haircut in a shop owned by Pakistanis and stabbed him when he reacted. Then they started destroying the shop and throwing Molotov cocktails. The police came to investigate the incident and arrested two Pakistani nationals because they had no documents. In October, they were both in detention, pending deportation. Read the rest of this entry →