Friday, 12 April 2019

How refugees die

This article was published by The Sewanee Review


I met Doa Shukrizan at the harbormaster’s office in the port of
Chania, in western Crete. She sat with her back to a balcony
 overlooking the street, and the strong morning light enveloped
 her delicate figure, so that there appeared to be even
less of her than there was after her ordeal with the sea. Doa’s face 
had peeled from extreme sunburn; she spoke softly. Between the
cavernous ceiling and polished concrete floor, the only furnishings
 were tables, chairs and ring binders, so that voices, however slender,
 resounded. There were no secrets in this room. During the hour
 that we spoke, three coastguard officers sat at their desks not doing
 any work, transfixed by what she said.



Doa and her fiancé had been among some five hundred people
 who boarded a fishing trawler at the port of Damietta in the Nile
Delta on September 6, 2014. Many, like Doa, were Syrian. Others
 were Palestinian or Sudanese. All were fleeing war and had paid
 smugglers to ferry them, illegally, to Italy.



Doa’s family had fled their native town of Daraa soon after the
Syrian uprising began there in March 2011, when Doa was just sixteen. They spent more than two years in an unofficial refugee camp
 in Egypt, and pooled enough money to pay Doa’s and her fiancé’s 
passage, so they could start their lives in Europe.

Why Greeks abhor and applaud Brexit



The secret appeal of Britain’s imperiousness to Europe’s disenfranchised South

This article was published in the Spectator US.

Pavlos Eleftheriadis is as Anglophilic a Greek as they come. His wife and children are British, and he is a professor of public law at Oxford. But Brexit has altered Eleftheriadis’ view of life in Britain.

‘Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept that half of the society you live in is against the presence of Europeans,’ he says. ‘This came out very strongly, including from the prime minister herself. She said we have to stop the free movement of workers from Europe. It’s her primary objective. This wounds you. You wonder why they say this and what led them to it.’

Eleftheriadis says that he’s never seen a hint of racism or prejudice in professional life. But he’s hedging against the attitudes of the next generation. This year, he’s taking a sabbatical, partly in order to acquaint his children with their Greek roots.

‘My children have Greek names. I’m not sure I want them to grow up here 100 percent British. I want them to be Greek, too… so they can have a choice in case things become very ugly in Britain.’

Political divisions widen in Albania as EU decision nears


Poverty, crime, corruption and political instability are testing the EU-aspiring country


 This article was published by Al Jazeera International.


The perception that Edi Rama’s socialist government has embraced special interests, and especially the illegal drug trade, is widespread in Albania. Two interior ministers have resigned under suspicion of taking bribes from organized crime. The opposition Democratic Party is refining that sentiment into political fuel.



Last month it walked out of parliament and took to the street, beginning a series of protests outside Rama’s office. On Thursday it is inaugurating a new practice of demonstrating outside parliament every time there is a debate.



“Amendments we proposed were voted down without discussion. Whenever ministers were called to report before parliamentary commissions, they declined,” Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha tells Al Jazeera. “Investigative committees never worked because contrary to the law they refused to submit evidence of investigations we initiated of collusion between organized crime and senior ministers, including the two former ministers of interior. And finally they even denied our right of parliamentary debate. So finally we just became a piece of a picture-perfect parliament with government and opposition, which was effectively a façade.”