A Greek-American’s Reaction on How Greece Treats Refugees


*By George Asimakis – Ronald Reagan once correctly said that the United States is the only country where an immigrant can feel accepted – truly accepted – by society within his lifetime.

Those who know me know I am no Ronald Reagan fan. He is incorrectly credited with winning the Cold War (among other good things) when Gorby who single-handedly ended it, gets no love for it up to this date, even from the West.

But Ronald Reagan was right on this one. The US was and still is a nation of immigrants. Protected by two oceans and endowed with vast resources compared to population, it is still one of the best places to seek refuge. The people are acceptive. Refugees, if they can arrive here, are treated with respect and dignity. They are given opportunities that no nation state would give them.

Unfortunately not the same can be said of Continental Europe, and more so the country of Greece, where I grew up and love. Last week’s events near Farmakonisi, Greece make me ashamed of the place.

Several refugees from war-torn Syria, poor people who escaped a brutal civil war to seek a new, better, life for their children were reportedly mistreated by the Coast Guard. It was reported that Greek Coast Guard agents intentionally pulled their raft at high enough speeds to throw women and children overboard and let them drown in the deep blue waters of the Aegean, a few clicks from shore. The survivors were left in open sea, returned to Turkish territorial waters in a classic “problem not-in-my-back-yard” fashion.

The official government denies the reports but there are several witnesses of the incident.

Granted that not all of Europe behaves this way – but most does. Ironically, according to records, in the EU only Germany, France and Spain have agreed to accept Syrian refugees – with only Germany accepting a significant number.

We live in an intertwined world marked by drastic changes in transportation and technology. Movement of people is a given and if Europe wants to remain both democratic, competitive as well as humane it needs to adapt to more American ways.

The game of prosperity is now less between Japanese vs. Chinese and more about capitalists vs. laborers, more about skilled vs. unskilled, more about hard-working vs. lazy. Pax Americana and the threat of nuclear holocaust in the next World War, for better (or for worse for some) is bringing a more meritocratic regime globally and the slow death of the nation state. Europe and Greece (If it wants to be worthy of being called Europe) need to adapt.

To be fair, Greece does not have the luxury of a protected border. It lacks resources and has a massive, porous coastline in close proximity to a turbulent Middle East and poor Africa. it is the gateway to the West for Millions of people fleeing famine, war, oppression, tyranny. But that does not give anyone, let alone government-sanctioned employees to kill or abuse anyone with impunity. Even if one were to look at things purely in a business fashion, Greece, deriving 20+% of its GDP from tourism should protect and preserve its image of a welcoming paradise, not damage it.

Instead of asking 225 million on protecting the border and only 18 million in refugee placement, training and assimilation (and getting it) from EU authorities, it should develop a plan to better accept the refugees and the immigrants, put them to productive use, protect their livelihoods and benefit from it – train them and turn them into agricultural or tourism workers. At the very best, it should respect their human rights.

Now (to preempt the critics) don’t get me wrong – I like Greece, Italy, Spain the way they are; their old medieval towns, their architectural character, their pristine beaches. I am not calling for jihadists who want the destruction of the West (while at the same time receiving the benefits of the European welfare state) roaming the streets of Athens, Paris or Amsterdam. The plan should be to accept, assimilate and instill European values to the newcomers. The plan should be to accept them as part of society and teach them the language and the customs irrespective of their religion or skin color. Accept their children and embrace them; give them a path to full rights and citizenship. Protect them and “exploit” them for the good of their new land. A social contract for a Europe that will transcend the relic of the nation state.

But firstly it should be to train the law-enforcement apparatus to at least respect their human rights. Anything short of that makes me ashamed to call Greece (or Europe) my place of birth. Days like these, I am proud to be an American.

*George Asimakis is an economist.


  1. First of all mr Asimakis makes an assumption that the illegal immigrants are telling the truth.The truth has not established yet as they are still investigating the event Secondly mr Asimakis you are a papatrehas.The immigrants are not Syrians but Afganis.Lastly i would like to ask mr Asimakis to ask his civilized country to receive some of the thousands of Iraquis Afganinis and Syrians that arrive every day in our country which at the moment is totally unable to care for such a large number of illegal immigrants and Syrian refugees.We in Europe are well aware of the noble welcome the Mexican illegals receive from the USA border guards.And if you lived in Greece mr Asimakis and you had to live day and night in no go areas where your darling illegals knife you for a handful of Euros, you would not be so ashamed of your birth country.

    • Mr.Asimakis lectures on alleged ‘Human rights” are ridiculous. The US currently spies on the people throughout the world on a level that was the fantasies of the Nazis and Communists. (spying is an undeclared form of warfare)

      While he lectures on illegals flooding greece, the reality is despite that the US hasless illegal migrants than Greece, the US continues to deports illegals from mexico and around the world. And one of the people’s that Americans most reject migrants from… you guessed it …..Muslim states.

      After either attacking and/or undermining several Muslim countries for non-existent WMDs and engaging in state sponsored torture (which goes unpunished to this day) the humanitarian crisis American warhawks created lead to a massive refugee problem… which they expect pther countries to clean up. Why don’t Americans like Me. Asimakis demand for the US government to accept illegal refuges rather than expect a tiny country like Greece to take them in?

      Americans like Mr.Asimakis seem to have confused Hollywood movies (always depicting the US as the good guy) with the brutal reality the US has attacked more countries in the last 50 years and killed more people than any other nation on earth.

  2. Incompetent leftist antihellenes like George Asimakis make me ashamed to be Greek. As NON-Greek George Asimakis working on behalf of a foreign power, lost his right to be taken seriously by Greeks other than treaonous leftists that prioritize their leftist ideology over hellenism.

    Perhaps antihellenes like Mr. Asimakis should first recognize the difference between an ethnos/culture/language like Greek and a citizenship like “American”. Let us not forget that America was built by stealing native indian lands at gunpoint. Modern Americans out of guilt later welcomed immigrants like Mr.Asimakis with strings attached. In a few generations mixing with other assimilated Americans will lead to Mr. Asimakis descendents having a non-Greek identity. Part of America’s massive growth has been because the American assimilation machine takes hyphenated Americans and turns them into unhyphenated Americans (much like the Ottoman empire did)

    If Mr. Asimakis cared an iota for Greece, he would be criticizing his adopted homeland of the USA for betraying Greece for recognizing the former Yugoslavians…. rather than writing patronizing rants in support of mass illegal immigration into Greece. Even the US deports illegals sir. Cowardice and treason are certainly not an Greek trait. Stick to America and leave Greeks for the Greeks.

  3. “Days like these, I am proud to be an American.”

    Mr. Asimakis is “proud”to be an uncritical assimilated pseudo-intellectual that betrayed the homeland of his ancestors for nationalists of another state. The irony is there is no such thing as an “American”. It is a political ideology not a people. Mr. Asimakis has nothing to do with George Washington and the US founding fathers than anyone in Greece doesn’t have. He’s “proud” of the accomplishments that do not belong to him.

    As a self-declared “proud American” that cares more about US foreign policy than Greece… Mr. Asimakis abdicated his right to speak for Greeks. What Mr. Asimakis frames as “human rights”… is essentially a synonym for current American foreign policy (including the “human rights’ NGO who receive most of their funding from US sources) Anyone can call their political beliefs human rights but uncritical Orwillians like Mr.Asimakis doesn’t realize this.

    One could call Mr. Asimakis a traitor but he would first have to be Greek. As a foreign agent hostile to Hellenism MR. Asimakis doesn’t qualify. The treason is to be found among Greeks in Greece… chiefly among leftists that support mass illegal immigration into our country and give antihellenic foreign agents like MR. Asimakis a podium. Need anyone mention that any “Greek” that treasonously calls the Skopians “Macedoinans” is to a man is also a leftist?

    Greeks only in name, our leftists have seem to confused hellenism with Americanism and political beliefs of those that run the Guardian. Unworthy of the name Greek.

  4. “:A social contract for a Europe that will transcend the relic of the nation state.”

    This is another way of saying “ERASE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD OF THEIR IDENTITY”.

    ….except of course pseudo “Americans” like Mr.Asimakis.

    Mr. Asmakis, a former Greek, is now “proud” of the nation state of America….while lecturing people of other nations of the relic of the nation state. The hypocrisy is staggering.

  5. Assimakis “opinion” doesn’t represent the views of conservative Americans . Those that support the Repubican Party and the “Tea Party” faction would find Assimaki’s “opinions” laughable. Its clearly a left wing article lacking any balance. “Opinions” are like noses and everyone has one . As for “Greekreporter” one word of advice on editorial policy : If you wish to survive then don’t alienate those that give you money . Otherwise “GreekReporter” has nothing do with serious journalism and is just a webpage run my First Amendment aficionados .Everyone deserves to have an opinion even if its stupid and one sided like Assimakis’ — that’s what makes America great .

    • It is not only in America that every one deserves the right to have an opinion.This is happening in Europe for thousands of years much much longer than in America. In fact just in case mr Petiry you don’t know it’s been happening in Greece for more than three thousand years.This is called democracy and every one can have an opinion.Critique has been invented in Greece and as long as it’s constructive and based on facts anyone can criticize.We do not need the tea party or any American party or institution to tell us so.

      • Democracy din’t exist in ancient Greece for very long . In the Roman period it was gone .The same is the case in the byzantine and Turkish periods. Democracy is a new thing for the greeks and they have long way to go .Assimakis is a typical greek leftist .He doesn’t know americans very well and I doubt he associates with anglo-saxon americans . More likely other ethnics . Not good because it means he is not integrated into america and it still holding on to the “bad old ways”.

        • you have a point about ancient democracy, and thanks for your comment… HOWEVER… you should point out that democracy in USA exists only 50 odd years more than democracy in modern day Greece. (1776 vs 1821)…. 50 years is but a drop in the bucket..democracy is about as “new” to Greece as it is to the US
          as for asmakis, im not going to insult you any further than what has already been said. if youre really “ashamed” of your ethnicity, then you have way too many issues than can be solved on GR. see a therapist!

        • By “integrating” you mean “assimilation”. The fact is there is no such thing as an American people. It is a political ideology not a people.

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