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Racist incidents during OXI parades, as foreign pupils were entitled to bear the flag

An elementary school student from Afghanistan and one pupil from Albania were prohibited from holding the Greek flag during the parades to celebrate the National OXI Day marking the historical day Greece said NO to fascism in 1940.

Both children were appointed to hold the Greek flag after the lottery procedure introduced by the Ministry of Education this year. According to decades long tradition, the best pupils in class were entitled to have the honor to bear the flag around the streets of their city, town and village and in front of their proud parents and local dignitaries. The ministry broke this habit in order to give all pupils and students equal rights.

The name of 11-year-old Amir from Afghanistan as flag bearer was picked up a week before the parade. Amir’s parents were informed, the boy was happy and proud. However, the joy did not last long. The director of the elementary school in Dafni district of Athens decided otherwise. He claimed that Muslim boy Amir had declared he would not attend the ceremony at the local church with the Greek flag.

His mother told media that she was informed about the religious ceremony by the UNHCR as the family is in Athens according to refugees’ temporary accommodation. “the Agency (UNHCR) told me that my child had to go to church and I told them I had no problem with that. We respect Jesus and Virgin Mary,” the woman said adding “however, on the same day they called us and said the lottery was cancelled and my child would hod hold the flag.” They did not give the reason, the woman said.

On the day of the parade, a Greek pupil was holding the flag, while Amir was granted the honor to hold just a big sign stating the name of the school.

The Ministry of Education said it investigates the conditions according to which Amir did not hold the flag.

O Αφρικάνος μαθητής με την σημαία, οι μαθήτριες με τις μαντήλες και οι τουρίστριες (pics)

Not all school directors have problems with pupils of different nationality and religion. Students wearing Islamic headscarf was seen in the parade in Athens.

O Αφρικάνος μαθητής με την σημαία, οι μαθήτριες με τις μαντήλες και οι τουρίστριες (pics)

A student from Africa was bearing the flag with pride.

O Αφρικάνος μαθητής με την σημαία, οι μαθήτριες με τις μαντήλες και οι τουρίστριες (pics)

In another incident, Golden Dawn members hinder an Albanian pupil to lead the school parade as flag bearer. The incident took place in Emporeio on the island of Santorini.

Teachers, students, parents, locals and dignitaries had gathered to celebrate the OXI day on Saturday, when a group of  20 well-built men -some of them wearing black t-shirts with the logo “Hellas Ultras” intervened in order to stop the parade. They chanted slogans claiming that “insult of the symbol” because a pupil from Albania would bear the flag.

Some parents disapproved the protest, some others who were horrified took their children and left.

In the end, the parade was cancelled.

It should be noted that the Albanian girl had the best grades in her class.

On Sunday, two members of the Parents’ Association resigned saying when they joined the Association “they had in mind the interest of ALL children in the school, without any discromination based on nationality or other.”

The Teachers’ Association of Santorini condemned the incident triggered by “some fascistoids.”

The Ministry of Education issued a sharp statement, condemning the Golden Dawn intervention and  stating that the Golden Dawn members disturbed the parade that was aiming to remember the victims of fascism and nazism.”

According to left.gr, local police is investigating to raise charges for disturbing the public order.

On the island of Lesvos students from Pakistan and Afghanistan paraded together with their Greek classmates.

PS “Equality” is a Greek joke… *sigh*

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9 comments

  1. Whereas until recently they at least would recognize the better students with the prominent role in carrying the flag etc, the current government has taken even one more step in eradicating any concept of human worth, by replacing it with the lottery. What does this teach the children? that success or status are bestowed from above and are a matter of luck- instead of being the result of a person’s own worth, character, and hard work.
    The current government has accelerated the work of destroying greece and greek society even beyond many of our worst nightmares.

  2. Golden dawn members ? So you mean the golden dawn politicians created the alleged issue or the “members” produces GD membership cards were viewed ?

    I note they were wearing Hellas ultras which is associated with football not politics.

    News flash every crime if committed by GD supporters until proven otherwise

  3. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @anon. You forget the incident with the Albanian student who consistently scored top marks in his school, yet the racist parents blocked him from carrying the flag. Even the intervention of a government minister — Pangalos in 2003 — who was outraged by the incident did nothing to help. The fact is that some people are petty-minded racists and nationalists, and we have to deal with them. The law is the only way.

  4. “It should be noted that the Albanian girl had the best grades in her class” = This girl clearly deserves the Honor to hold the Flag.
    With the “old” system, if some of our countrymen don’t want foreign students to hold the flag, No problem: They just need to work hard and be the best 🙂

    The thing the governement needed to fix was : To make sure that the old system was implemented correctly and that students who were the best would hold the Flag, regardless of their origins.

    But maybe the Syriza officials were just happy to fuel the existing racism problem and divide the society even more with another “stupid” measure, just so they could present themselves as Champions of “Human Rights and tolerance” …

    Anyways, it is a shame that theses 2 students, who didn’t ask anything, had to live this.

  5. We fought the Albanians in ww2 and oxi day is the reason for this parade. Now you want a Albanian girl to hold the national flag? Oh the irony!

    Just when I thought I heard it all, a lottery system is introduced. So not the best student who worked hard and is rewarded for their efforts gets the privilege to hold flag, but whoever gets picked from a hat. Life will teach them that participation trophies won’t get you very far

  6. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Fake “facts” again. Oxi-Day is a celebration of refusing Mussolini to occupy Greece. Greece did not fight the Albanians: it fought Germany (the Nazis) and the Axis powers, in which Albania sided with Italy. On several occasions in the last 20 years, Albanian children have come top of their school and were prevented by racists from carrying the flag. There is no meritocracy in Greece.

  7. Untill lawsuits and large payouts by the offending parties awarded by courts become the norm like the UK and USA, this will continue I suppose. Once organizations, schools, and other institutions have to pay out large settlements, watch how quick foreigners start carrying the flags.

  8. I’m a little late to this party but if the child was born in Greece are they not Greek? Regardless of ancestry? THIS is what needs to be changed. Apparently you can be born in Greece but if your parents are not Greek citizens then neither are you even if you were born in Greece. I know this sounds repetitious but really it’s not. In Canada with few exceptions if you are born in Canada you are a Canadian citizen. Calling Greek born children Albanian or Afghanis or whatever will not allow change.

    I also understand that the lottery is from children who are top of the class. Is this not so?

  9. Hecataeus Miletus

    @MaryM,, unlike the US where US citizenship by birth is immediate, in Greece they operate under “Jus sanguinis”. Jus sanguinis (Latin: right of blood) is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is not determined by place of birth but by having one or both parents who are citizens of the state. A study in 2010 found that only 30 of the world’s 194 countries grant citizenship at birth to the children of undocumented foreign residents. The Greeks themselves must decide if that is what they are to do or if under EU law it is so, then they must comply.