Non-caucasians should avoid visiting Greece

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Slow_Mustang, Jan 10, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    At least for now, non-caucasians should avoid visiting Greece. Checking ID's to control illegal immigration is one thing, but to handcuff and beat up and incarcerate the Asian/African looking tourists is an extreme case of police brutality. This is not the Athens that I visited just a couple of years ago.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20958353
     
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Oh damn... and I thought Arizona was bad.
     
  3. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    oh boy... here we go
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I think until the Greek government takes these incidents seriously I will stay away from Greece, independent of my ethnicity.
     
  5. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    If I stayed out of every country I've been to that had travel warnings or that people/groups wanted me to boycott, I would have missed out on some great travel experiences.
     
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  6. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I've been avoiding Greece because of the smoking. I didn't know they abused non-Caucasian tourists.
     
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  7. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I don't doubt it, but I do avoid the places with the worst reputations. For example, I won't go to Jamaica because of the extreme level of anti-gay hatred and violence, which they export as well as practice locally. Even if we'd be fine in a resort.
     
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  8. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    Travel advisory from the State Dept. about the remote possibility of trouble in a foreign country is different from a widespread, state sponsored, targeted police action even when you carry and show a US passport to identify yourself. You have been warned about Athens Willie!
    If you go there now before the Govt. forces the cops to shape up, you will certainly have some "great travel experiences". ;)
     
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  9. Singapore Flyer

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    Wife was trying to convince me to go here for our anniversary. I think we'll just stick with hanging out in our neighborhood - Astoria, NY. Largest Greek enclave in the NYC area.
     
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  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    That's true. And I don't think that Greece, overall, is particularly dangerous or hostile territory. Which makes it even more disappointing that the Greek government is apparently not taking these incidents seriously. Bad apples exist in virtual every country's police force, but if the US or South Korean embassies can't get a reasonable assurance that this will be addressed and the answer is ""isolated incidents of racist violence which have occurred are foreign to Greeks, our civilization and the long tradition of Greek hospitality", I am going to vote with my money and explore someone else's tradition of hospitality for the time being. Fortunately the world is full of countries that I am interested in visiting. I hear Istanbul is a beautiful place to visit.
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Me too. Reading the US State Department travel warnings for my home city, Rio de Janeiro, I'd emigrate today. Panic-striken reporting leaves my irritated. I admit I've lived in four countries that had revolutions and/or civil wars while I was there. In my life the only violence I have faced personally was in suburban Los Angeles (Palos Verdes) which had a very low crime rate. I suspect that was partly because the police refused to accept my report of stolen mirrors on my brand new Porsche and stolen freshly planted trees (!:eek: ) from my front yard.

    As for immigration in Greece specifically; I've traveled there for years , often with Gulf Arabs and/or Black Africans (my boss was in Athens and I travelled with clients) with precisely zero incidents.

    Not that I do not believe the BBC, but I strongly suspect we have not the entire story. So, I don't much believe the BBC.
     
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  12. TRAVELSIG
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    Excellent point. Imagine if the US State Department wrote travel warnings for... the United States! USA travel warnings at the moment would make Rio, Rome, Athens, and Bangkok seem like absolute paradise in comparison.
     
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  13. Wandering Aramean
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    And I'd probably have to leave the USA, too. :rolleyes:
     
  14. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Man I love that area... I head over to the Broadway Meat Market (between 30th & 31st) whenever I have a BBQ for all my kabob needs :)
     
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  15. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Fair enough and sure we havent got "the whole story" but this appears to be a fairly recent phenomenon. I must say I am a little surprised that some here (and their reaction with some skepticism I might add) seem to be unaware that this has a on going problem has not only reported by the BBC.

    I do find it quite interesting that the topic has somewhat morphed (quickly) into "US State Dept security warnings":)
     
  16. Slow_Mustang
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    We all tend to rationalize our thoughts/positions/fears; and if the US State Dept security warnings come in handy to support them, then so be it. ;)
     
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  17. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    A few years back, my parents were renting a house in Deer Valley and had a visit from the friendly police department the next day after move in, because neighbors overheard someone speaking a foreign language. They do not look Hispanic and do not speak Spanish, but the cops still insisted on checking the inside of the house. So no worries, Arizona is still bad.

    No doubt, but it does not make the warnings any less real. I warn non-Caucasian travelers about going to Russia anywhere outside of the large cities. I've seen police harass Asian tourists and obviously rich Korean businessmen for the hell of it and having a dark skin of any sort opens one up to a ridiculous amount of verbal and potential physical abuse. And yes, it is possible to not encounter any issues at all, but again, doesn't change the reality of likelihood of them happening.

    There is also a significant difference between general crime problems and state-supported/protected witch hunt for "immigrants". I'll take crime over abusive police any time.

    The article calls this out as a pretty new phenomena, so I don't think it's quite a fair way to analyze the validity of the news from perspective of experience prior to this.
     
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  18. Gargoyle
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    I've also heard recent news stories of extreme police violence in Greece against political protesters.
     
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  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    There are lots of factors contributing to my choice of residence. I want to earn a living, my wife's job isn't readily mobile, I want to live in an area that offers me certain amenities, I want to be near my family, etc. etc. So I make compromises and accept certain risks that come with that choice. And the US is a big country. I would not move to Arizona, for example, even though my Spanish is horrible.

    In the case of Greece, I personally probably wouldn't be at risk based on my skin color and ethnicity. But it just ticks me off to see the reaction of the Greek officials (as reported in this BBC story). 18.2% of the Greek GDP in 2008 was from tourism (source). I don't think it's in their best (economic and otherwise) interest to let their police force harass/beat/arrest/assault visitors (*), and if it does happen, I would expect them to investigate and resolve these cases expeditiously. When I look at statistics such as this one from the article,

    "But while more than 60,000 people have been detained on the streets of Athens since it was launched in August 2012, there have been fewer than 4,200 arrests."

    this just doesn't seem to be their priority. Can you imagine 60,000 people getting detained over the course of five months in a major US city because they look foreign?

    There are lots of places in the world on my bucket list. Greece is certainly on that list, and reports like this simply push it down more towards the bottom. As long as I don't kick the bucket any time soon, I suspect I'll eventually get there. For now my money goes elsewhere.


    (*) and certainly they should not harass/beat/assault ANYONE, even illegal immigrants.
     
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  20. anabolism
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    Excellent points.

    BTW, I was recently chatting with BA crew who mentioned that on a recent layover in Johannesburg, the captain was picked up by police for being on the street with an open container of beer; they drive him a little ways away, took his money and passport, and told him if he reported it they'd kill him (they did return his passport after copying the details so they could find him again).


    Indeed.
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    A quick clarification of my personal views:
    1. Greece does have a large serious problem with illegal immigration, especially through Turkey and Bulgaria. Recently in Thessaloniki the extent of taht problem was visible as peddlers on the streets, panhandlers and indigents were obvious; they were not so even two years ago.
    2. It is a bigger issue because of the incredible unemployment levels in Greece, enough so that soup kitchens are now prevalent.
    3. Paranoia is rife, enough so that innocuous comments are not always viewed as innocuous anymore.
    4. Demonstrations and disruptions are now common.
    So, Greece is not exactly carefree business as usual. That said, I have been at the Bulgarian and Turkey border areas quite recently. I do not doubt that someone who looks destitute may have trouble. I do not doubt that people who look destitute might be in for trouble.

    However, it still seems a stretch to imagine a clean orderly South Korean, Western European or person from the Americas regardless of ethnicity having a big problem. Sloppy, dirty people will maybe get hassled.

    As for political protests, police are often participants too. Attitudes are growing brittle, without doubt.

    Still, overreaction is a bigger problem IMHO. I know we're hearing reports. I just don't know if the reports we're hearing are understated or overstated. Oh, they're press reports aren't they? Have any of us seen an understated press report?
     
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  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    60,000 detained, less than 4,000 arrested. Why were the 56,000 non-arrested people detained? Over the course of 5 months, that's nearly 375 people each day, and in Athens alone.
     
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  23. FlyingBear
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    Russia has the same issue, but the approach, similar to what Greece appears to be doing, has not helped any and has just about everyone mistrusting the police.

    I will be polite and say that is plain wrong. In my own example for Moscow, the type of clothing and appearance simply does not matter. I've seen it here too. Yeah, the "sloppy" dressed people get harassed more, but once racism comes into play, everyone is fair game. It is just as true in US and anywhere else, economic disruptions just make it that much more obvious.
     
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  24. newbluesea
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    Fact: Dowa Lines, one the Phillippines largest shipowners has sent out a warning to their crews when in Greek ports to be careful regarding " ethic identity problems" (a message I have personally seen posted on one of their vessels)
     
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  25. JimboJ

    JimboJ Silver Member

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    Wow. People here seem really unfamiliar with what's been happening in Greece. Yes, chances are that you will be fine but you are certainly at a much higher risk of being attacked than in other European cities. It's one of the few places where the police are just as likely to be the ones doing the attacking. You can be attacked anywhere. It's not a question of avoiding certain neighborhoods. Incidents happen in the main tourists areas during the middle of the day. Fascist gangs have rolled through Omonia sq stabbing immigrant looking people in broad daylight. Fascist gangs beat people leaving buses by the Polytechnic without warning. There's too many articles to post, but at the least be aware if something does happen and you need the police there's a 50% chance the cop you'll be talking to voted for neo-nazis in the last election. 50% of police are estimated to have voted for "Golden Dawn" along with 7% of the general population and they poll around 10% currently. I don't mean neo-nazi as hyperbole, we're talking straight up black shirted fascists.
     
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