The Minister for Immigration Affairs himself, repeatedly stated that 50% to 70% of migratory flows to Greece were illegal migrants and the rest were refugees. The illegal migrants come from 77 different countries.
If it is a "racist crime" for a citizen to express accurately the percentages of refugees and illegal migrants entering the country, what will come next, the Thought Police?
The real reason for prosecuting Bishop Markos, it seems, is that the government expects that Turkey's migration deal with the EU will collapse, and that if it does, the migrant flows in the coming months will increase dramatically. The government, according to some members in the opposition, has no friendly way to manage illegal migration and therefore prefers to impose restrictions on freedom of speech and prosecute anyone who objects.
The government might scare the Bishop of Chios Island by pressing charges against him and trying to stigmatize him as a racist. But the government will still not scare the angry majority of Greeks.
In coalmines, from 1911 to 1986, canaries operated as an early warning system for the leakage of hazardous gases. Whenever the birds showed signs of distress, the miners knew trouble was coming.
Greece has deep problems. Greece is presently in the "coalmine" of an endless economic and immigration crisis.
This month, for the first time, there was a request to activate an anti-racist law, passed in September 2014, against a Greek citizen who also has institutional status.
The coalition government of Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA) and Panos Kammenos (Independent Greeks)asked the district attorney to prosecute the Bishop of Chios Island, Markos Vasilakis, because hedared to say, during a sermon, that the thousands of people who recently arrived from Turkey on the island of Chios are illegal migrants, and not Syrian refugees.
Chios, the fifth-largest island of Greece, is only 3.5 nautical miles from Turkey, and therefore offers an opportunity to migrants and refugees to cross from Turkey into the European Union.
Chios is also one of a few Greek islands that has received the largest waves of migrants. Its population of 51,320 inhabitants now accommodates, according to the latest official data, 3,078 migrants, with more on the way.
It seems the government coalition, through the Secretary of Human Rights, has decided that the solution of Greece's migrant/refugee problem will come if the Bishop of Chios Island is prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred, and if the constitutional right of Greek citizens to freedom of speech is overturned. Secretary of Human Rights Kostas Papaioannou asked the district attorney to prosecute Bishop Markos for these specific charges.
Is Bishop Markos Vasilakis a Greek Orthodox fanatic or a neo-Nazi? Did the church close its doors to refugees and migrants? Did the bishop try to turn the population of Chios against anyone?
Not at all. Bishop Markos is highly educated, with a PhD in Byzantine Philology from the Philosophical and Theological School of Athens University. Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, according to the residents of Chios, Bishop Markos opened all the island's churches to accommodate the refugees and illegal migrants. Under his command, all the available spaces on the island were given to caring for whoever left his homeland and home. He has fought hard to collect clothing, shoes and food for refugees and illegal migrants. His work speaks for itself.
If Bishop Markos were such a horrible person, why did Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met him in his office in November 2015 to discuss the migrant crisis and never express any dissatisfaction him?
What, then, did Bishop Markos do to infuriate the Greek government to such an extent that they turned on him?
Bishop Markos spoke the truth. He said that the people arriving in Greece were not refugees but illegal migrants.
Was it a lie? According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, for the period of July and August 2016, of the 1,950 people who illegally entered Greece from Turkey, only 500 -- or 25% -- were refugees from Syria; all the others were illegal migrants. The Minister for Immigration Affairs himself, repeatedly stated that 50% to 70% of migratory flows to Greece were illegal migrants and the rest were refugees. The illegal migrants come from 77 different countries.