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08 May 2007

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Margaret

Fed up with all the Flower Fairy incarnations.

I enjoyed reading this post very much and agree with almost everything you say again.

It's not true, however, that Greece has signed up to liberal EU immigration rules. There are no liberal immigration rules. Just an inability to enforce the rules that are in place and a lot of washing of hands and squabbling between EU members over who bears the brunt of the influx and how best to tackle the problem. There are, though, several international documents that make it difficult to return people once they've arrived illegally. I've left a comment and a few links on Ted's site, if you're interested.

A very committed Christian friend (and ace merchant banker) reckons that trade barriers imposed by Western countries bear most of the responsibility for keeping developing countries in poverty and he's on a mission to change that. I don't know enough about it to know whether he is right or not, but found Ch 2:2 of the Commission for Africa's report a good introduction to the causes of poverty - I think it's probably very basic stuff and it all looks so dauntingly huge that the temptation is to do nothing.

http://www.commissionforafrica.org/english/report/introduction.html#report

Margaret

Stavros

Bravo Margaret.

Thanks for setting me straight. I always thought it was liberal immigration laws pertaining to political asylum and an EU policy designed to encourage a cheap, plentiful labor supply that were the major contributers to the present situation.

We have similar problems in the US, a porous border and lax enforcement of otherwise stringent immigration laws on the books. Uncontrolled Mexican immigration is a two edged sword. There are benefits and costs, both for Mexico and the USA.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was supposed to give the Mexican economy a jump start so Mexico could produce jobs for its people. As far as I can tell, and I profess no expertise on the subject,it has not had the desired effect due to the the endemic corruption and incompetent government Mexicans are saddled with.

I'm am a proponent of free trade but competition means lots of workers will be out of a job, replaced by someone who can do it more efficiently and cheaply. Those workers vote and they don't elect leaders willing to send their jobs overseas.

I don't think that any one issue will solve this complex problem as is clearly indicated by the report you link to. For example, AIDS has had a devastating impact on African economies. Even if free trade brings more jobs to Africa, will there be enough people to fill those jobs if we don't deal effectively with the epidemic.

We can't just keep ignoring the 4OO lb gorilla in the room. Even a backward, supposedly inconsequential (apologies to any Afghanis reading this)country like Afghanistan can export commodities like terrorism and heroin, both of which impact directly on people like us and on our kids.

GreekAmericanNYC

Re: "you have to be willing to defend your position, whatever, it may be. That's a good exercise for all of us, otherwise we risk living in an echo chamber."

I applaud you for thinking about and broaching this subject.

It's human nature to seek out those who share the same ideals and opinions, but taken to an extreme, it prevents us from engaging with people who disagree with us (certain bipolar individuals come to mind...).

The internet/blogosphere, for all its benefits, exacerbates this condition, and that's part of the reason the political dialog in this country is the way it is.

I've been guilty of that myself, and I'm sure I've tested both Ted's and your policy of not deleting/banning comments.

As you've shown, it *is* possible to keep an open mind without abandoning your ideals or beliefs, and I hope MGO keeps up that standard.

As for this: "I don't want to give readers the impression that I think MGO is read by the movers and shakers. It's not. "

Hey, speak for yourself! :-D

GreekAmericanNYC

Oh, and speaking of the internet/blogosphere, here's something which might be of interest to MGO readers:

"Greek Blogger Camp" http://www.greekbloggercamp.gr/

Stavros

GANYC,

Appreciate the comments. BTW, I forgot that being a resident of the Big Apple qualifies you as a "mover and shaker."

As for Greek Blogger Camp. WOW. They picked a great location. I would love to be a fly on the wall and just listen in for awhile. Sounds like the Greek Blogosphere is making some progress.

Ted Laskaris

Stavros,

I propose we engage Margaret as our regular illegal immigration correspondent / consultant. She has obviously done her homework quite meticulously! In the heat of the moment, and when dealing with such emotive issues as swarms of strangers taking over our cities, a reminder of the hard facts underlying the calamity always helps put things in the right perspective.

As I have said repeatedly, I am MAD with Greek governments for failing to act in any meaningful way in order to control the illegal immigration mess. Once the invasion is under way, of course, little can be done physically to stop the waves short of opening fire on the multitudes. Back in the early nineties, there were people here who advocated placing sniper teams overlooking mountain passes on the Greek-Albanian border to remind the illegal, with a few well-placed shots, the perils of arriving unannounced. Indeed, the complete absence of threat at the border simply broke the dam and we ended up where we ended up, with Albanian illegal worker colonies forming near Athens metro stations (the colonies are now gone since Albanians have rapidly moved up the ladder, opening bank accounts and buying real estate despite their lack of proper documentation.)

I am not against immigration. In fact, I am FOR immigration that is controlled and chooses those who can really lend a hand in keeping this country afloat. My politically IN-correct approach would limit Asian and African immigration severely and, yes, I would be very careful with admitting Muslims en masse -- we have plenty of operative examples as to how "easily" Muslims integrate into host Western societies to make the same mistakes. Controlled immigration means exactly that: controlled.

Stavros, I hear good words about MGO from a variety of sources. MGO is a good, balanced voice in an otherwise barren Greek and Greek-American blogging landscape.

The Greek Blogger Camp would be indeed a great spot to be on June 2-3. I'd be stuck at the office though.

Margaret

Merci, Ted.

"My politically IN-correct approach would limit Asian and African immigration severely and, yes, I would be very careful with admitting Muslims en masse -- we have plenty of operative examples as to how "easily" Muslims integrate into host Western societies to make the same mistakes. Controlled immigration means exactly that: controlled."

You sound apologetic. Why is your approach politically incorrect? I am not saying I agree with it necessarily, but inherent in any policy of controlled immigration is a decision about who you want to come in and who you want to keep out. I agree that this is difficult to talk about because it hurts some people's sensibilities (which doesn't, however, make it wrong), but those same people start to stammer in their uncertainty if you ask them "Do you want an Open Doors policy then?". No, of course they don't. Nobody does. So, how to limit immigration?

The EU has decided to make legal immigration almost impossible, save for those people to whom it has an international responsibility. Those who already belong to the club can move about its rooms as much as they want (as long as they are workers), but nobody else has a right to come in. It is, in effect, saying that it only wants "people like us", but that, with increasing reluctance, it will continue to honour its treaty commitments made in a time where there was no mass air travel and little trade in people. It might make an exception for highly qualified people who will add something to the economy.

The "people like us" are overwhelmingly Christian and white but include a minority of other faiths and ethnicities. Membership of the club is not entirely closed in that anyone - even those who entered illegally in the first instance - may be allowed to join once a period of time has elapsed, once they have mastered the relevant languge, and once they have shown that they can be a good citizen. Members of the club are required to be colourblind amongst themselves and to refuse all discrimination on grounds of gender, sexual orientation and faith vis a vis other members, as is proper (and something I would march for). The majority recognise the values of protecting minorities but has no desire to cede its power to the minority, so the minority must remain just that - a minority. Which is a pretty painful thing for the minority to hear so we gloss over it all the time.

I doubt there is any member of the majority that would want to upset that balance, though some fear that it may happen by stealth. It is about power, isn't it? Isn't it always?

Is the EU policy racist? It does not exclude people because they are Asians or Africans or Muslims or Jews but because they are not "people like us". In that respect is is like every other country in the world. It protects the interests of those who belong.

Writing this makes me feel uncomfortable, but I think I am only describing the reality and realise that if I am not to be a proponent of an Open Doors policy (which I am not), I have to make difficult decisions about admission policies. I haven't finally decided what those should be yet, but am working on it, for my own personal satisfaction.

Anyway, I've taken up enough space here, and have enjoyed the exchanges. Thank you.

Stavros

Ted,

I agree we must give the immigration portfolio to Margaret. I respect what she has to say and I always sit up and read her comments with particular care. She is always welcome to post at MGO, as long as she avoids the subject of flowers, even though she also knows more about this subject than I do.

I'll try to not let your encouraging words about MGO go to my head. Glad to see you blogging and commenting again.

I noticed from reading the bios of the speakers at the Blogger Conference that one of them is a Pasoki operative, perhaps a protege of Giorgaki?

Ted Laskaris

Stavros,
So, it has been decided: Margaret for the ILIM portfolio, if she wishes to carry it! Kudos for MGO are well deserved... and you know I'm completely honest on this one (the implication being I'm not honest on other occasions, eh, hehe...)

Margaret,
In fact, my intention was far from sounding apologetic. Illegal immigration is a subject that makes me both mad and rather belligerent, so I'll be specifically concentrating on being a lot more aggressive in the future!

Ted Laskaris

... and, Stavros, yes, one of the Greek Blogger conference protagonists is a Pasok consultant. As you know, I have no use for Pasokis whatsoever, but Georgie, despite the complete haze that surrounds his thinking, is the only Greek politician with an understanding of the Internet. This is the only thing I appreciate about him -- 97 percent of Pasok doesn't even remotely know what Georgie is talking about when he starts re. laptops, email, "connected" global reach, the "wired" future and all such ....

Stavros

Poor Giorgaki, he is the ultimate square peg in the round hole.

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