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Europe: a place of peculiar judicial systems and leadership!
by Christos Mouzeviris
2014-08-23 10:35:14
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This week, three incidents that took place in our lovely continent had me absolutely outraged! The first one comes from my native country, Greece. A country that for the past six years of recession, looks more like a theater of peculiarities and a freak show.

I can never understand under which circumstances, someone who shoots at his employees for rightfully asking their hard earned salaries, walks free! I am talking about the incident in Manolada in Southern Greece, where an strawberry farm owner and his cronies, opened fire to 28 migrant Bangladeshi workers seeking simply to be paid.

The incident happened last April, but the verdict was announced today. The owner, who had been accused of human trafficking and one other had the charges against them dropped. Two others were handed prison sentences of 14 years the most, but were also freed pending appeal. (The Daily Star)

It is known that there is a huge problem of corruption, especially in the police, judicial and state institutions in Greece, but that incident is absolutely unacceptable for an EU member state. These practices were more common in the "Wild, Wild West", and they belong to that time and place.

The immigrant workers in Greece and in every other European country, form the backbone of its economy. They do the work that nobody else wants to do, cheaper and often better. They pay higher taxes and have to also keep applying and paying for a visa, just to stay in the country.

To treat such people like dogs, brings disgrace on the whole local community of Manolada, but also on Greece itself. I myself am outraged and appalled by the very incident, let alone today's verdict. How can the country attract workers that it needs now, when we are showing to the world that we actually want slaves to work without pay. And that we are going to shoot at them if they ask for money and get away with it.

Such practices belong to another era, where slavery was legal, not in Europe of 2014. The judicial system of Greece and the people responsible for such decision must come immediately under scrutiny, if necessary by a European or international judicial body.

No one can treat immigrants, human beings above all like this and get away with it. The Greek government must act on it immediately and see to the punishment of such businessmen, or itself must be accused of racism and fascism. The EU must investigate and act accordingly.

Speaking about far right elements in governments throughout Europe, the second peculiarity in the European continent came from another EU state, Hungary.

We are used lately of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Mr. Viktor Orban's controversial policies and speeches. But things are getting really serious, after his latest speech on July 26th, at a retreat of ethnic Hungarian leaders in Baile Tusnad in Romania.

Mr. Orban stated that he wants to abandon liberal democracy in favor of an “illiberal state,” citing Russia and Turkey as examples. Together with China, he listen the above nations as "successful," while stressing that the global financial crisis in 2008 showed that “liberal democratic states can’t remain globally competitive”. (Bloomberg)

While I am not fond of the way that economic "liberalism" has developed over the recent years and what it represents nowadays, Mr. Orban's aspirations will result in more troubles for his country. For a European leader to be inspired by Russia and Mr. Putin, a country that sees a surge of homophobia and xenophobia, while it demonstrates expansionist agenda, it is a worrying development.

Especially when Mr. Orban is very keen in his country's relationship with Hungarian minorities in other European, even EU states. Not to mention that in the case of Turkey, which we witness a barrage of freedom of speech violations recently, for any politician to  be "inspired" by them is simply laughable.

The Hungarian people must realize where Mr. Orban's "vision" will lead their country and decide more wisely during the next elections. If in any doubt, just check the human rights, freedom of speech and personal development records of Mr. Orban's three role model countries.

Yes economic neo-liberalism may be troublesome the way it developed and it may have also caused lots of problems for the average European household and middle class. But going towards the other extreme is not the solution either. You can not have a country that is nationalist and conservative, in an international organization that promotes integration of European economies, societies and states. 

The solution to Hungary's and in fact most of the European nations' woes, would be actually less state intervention and more European governance, directly elected by the European people collectively. Our national governments are in most cases the ones responsible for Europe's economic collapse, though the EU as an institution is not blame free.

Yet if we accuse the EU Commission as the root of all bad policies adopted by the EU, well think who appoints these men and women in these positions in the first place; our national governments! 

Finally, speaking about Turkey as an "inspiration." On the 28th of July there was the third case of peculiarity in Europe, with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stating that women should not laugh out loud in public, complaining about “moral corruption” in Turkey. (Hurriyet Daily News) Seriously as if some politicians are trying hard to damage their political career.

Thank God that the Turkish ladies gave him a proper answer, flooding the country's social media with pictures of themselves laughing! I am not sure what got into Mr. Arınç's mind but whatever it was, it was silly and utterly misogynist or sexist! Not appropriate for a Deputy Prime Minister, in a country that wants to join the EU one day. Time for the Turkish people to rethink about their leadership too perhaps.


Christos Mouzeviris is the writer of the blog: The Eblana European Democratic Movement


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