An excellent documentary about the problem:
1) This is not a Greek problem, it’s a European problem. The refugees are not trying to reach the inner city ghettos of Athens, that’s not the dream they had when they left their homes. It’s the promise of the rich West that drives them, of the EU, of the “democracy” and of “Europe-as-an-ideal”, and Greece stands exactly at the frontier of that.
2)First the West bombs them, exploits them, supports evil regimes in their countries, drives them out of their homes. So they leave (wouldn’t you?) and they reach the West’s frontier, Greece. If they don’t die at the border, they reach Athens. Or they move on to the West. But if they’re caught they’re returned back to Greece. And the bankrupt Greek state is tasked with dealing with something it simply cannot. So it does the only thing it can: it dumps them (literally dumps them) in the middle of Athens. With no way to sustain themselves, they try to scavenge a living. Crime erupts, inner city ghettos are created, racism erupts. The far-right now has an audience, the refugees are turned into gangsters or religious fanatics, fascist vigilantes appear in the streets. How could the situation be any different?
3) The Greek state is bankrupt. I have no sympathy whatsoever for the local crooks and the elites who drove the economy to this stage by collaborating with the glamorous financial institutions. They are still in power, blackmailing the Greek working class for concessions. The lower classes are seeing severe economic regression, while the Greek banks still record enormous profits and the Greek shipping capital (the Greek shipping fleet is one of the largest in the world) enjoys virtually tax-free status. At the same time, “the West” is making Greece follow a harsh neoliberal economic restructuring program, lending money to the state with onerous terms.
4) With terms such as these, how could anyone expect the detention centers, the asylum granting authorities, the police, the frontier guards, to have the economic means to provide any decent treatment to the refugees? At a time where massive cuts are being made on welfare state and public infrastructure, how can the Greek state sustain these things?
5) If ever there was a systemic problem, here it is.