Statisticians and magicians

Statisticians and magicians
By Dimosthenis Papadatos – Anagnostopoulos
originally published in Greek in: Red Notebook

One out of five. These are the “illegals” that the Police discovered in the first 12 days of the (ongoing) “Zeus Xenios” sweep operation. And what does this ratio reveal to us?

First of all, the obvious: 6.344 persons were arbitrarily arrested, even though they legally reside in Greece and they have never committed any offence.
They were simply arrested because of the color of their skin – and probably on conviction that criminality does not exclusively apply to the “illegal” ones. In the end, those legally residing in the country are still aliens.

Secondly, having arrested so many thousands of persons – holders of valid documents – three things may have occurred, probably all at the same time: the police officers who have arrested them are not aware of which documents prove someone is legally residing in the country and which not (nevertheless the police are the only one in charge of the country’s migration policy). Either they deliberately delay – out of zeal – the whole operation, by arresting the wrong persons or these arrests don’t really aim to the “illegal- gang members”, but are meant to threat future criminals “illegal and legal” ones and to reassure the “public opinion” that the Police do their duty. Security – show though, will only last until the next tax integrated into the electricity bill.

Thirdly, it clearly shows that the ration “illegals/legals” is nothing else but the ridiculousness of the professional xenophobics that day and night arbitrarily estimate the “illegal migrants” to one, two and some times even up to three millions, depending on the newspaper or the Tv show. With the same certainty they’d estimated the civil servants up to 1.000.000 until the census proved them wrong for once more. Reality though has never discouraged the propagandists.

Bearing in mind that irrationalism will prevail in the public dialogue in the future, let’s take things from the beginning. If there were one million “illegals” as they say in their most moderate estimation all these clandestinologists, according to the ratio “one out of five”, as it resulted during the “Zeus Xenios” operation, those legally residing in Greece should be….four millions. Something that we would have noticed though, during the 2011 population census. If something clearly revealed this census, is that there’s a divergence of 540.000 persons in comparison to the numbers provided by Eurostat. So, while the ELStat (National Statistical Service of Greece) talked about 10.787.690 inhabitants(registered) (both Greeks and migrants) Eurostat talked about 11.329.600

The most probable scenario, comparing these two figures, is that in Greece there are around 500.000 undocumented migrants [1], a figure close to the one provided by the Hellenic League for Human Rights [2]. Of course it does not result by any scenario that the 540.000 missing in ELStat’s estimation are all migrants and moreover all of them undocumented migrants (neither from any official source, nor from any “Zeus Xenios”) that these poachers’ discussions about the “millions of illegal invasors” have anything to do with reality.

The uncomposed mathematics of daily racism, along with the indiscriminate implication of all migrants for the crimes committed by foreigners, is nothing but the ground for a dangerous magic that costs human lives. This magic is the politicisation of the foreigners’ criminality and at the same time the a-politicisation of the racist violence. It is in that, that boils down the policing model of the crisis, while its management (of the crisis) has failed. So, in the first case, the magicians translate robberies, assassinations and rapes into “crimes against the Greeks”. While in the second, a well organized violence with a clear strategic intention (“against the enemies of the Greeks”) is called a “social phenomenon” and in the public speech is counter balanced with the criminality caused by poverty, gender violence or with other phenomena of social decay and depreciation, that are multiplied by the current depreciation of labour and in crisis conditions – and concern both Greeks and migrants [3].

This magic should be carefully taken into account by those who under the weigh of the events, generally talk about an increase in criminality and condemn even in a more vague way the crime “wherever it comes from”. And of course, not because one crime is better than the other, but for two basic reasons:

Firstly, because until today some crimes are prosecuted (of course) and some others despite the official complaints made by the migrants’ communities and by international organizations are not even considered. Since they are not being prosecuted, they do not really exist. Secondly, because a generalized “anti-criminal” speech, a speech that a-politicizes the racist crime indirectly helps to counter balance the (anti) social and racist crime. And above all, it resigns from any responsibility of politically addressing the racist crime – in the schools, in the media, in the repressive state mechanism. Contrary to what the propagandists believe, we just can’t believe that racist violence is generally speaking a “social” or spontaneous phenomenon, let’s say like school violence. And we can’t believe it, simply because this is what they want us to believe, those who keep on aiming at the national origin of the crime and not the crime itself.

[1] Manolis Drettakis “How much is the population of the country in 2011?” – Eleutherotypia 6.8.11
[2] Hellenic League for Human Rights “A(nother) strategic for migration”, April 2012
[3] Vasilis Lampropoulos “The greek criminals take the pondium in crime”, Vima 14.3.12

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