Racist attack on home of Afghan pupil in Athens

by Aggelos Skordas

A group of unknown assailants on Friday at dawn, attacked the home of 11-year-old Afghan pupil Amir, who was not allowed from his elementary school in the Dafni district of Athens the right to carry the Greek flag during the October 28 National Day Parade, even though he won a draw to do so (under new rules introduced by the Education Ministry) and eventually marched bearing the school’s signpost instead.

The assault occurred at around 3.00 am on Friday and the -yet unidentified- attackers threw stones and bottles through the home windows and doors, causing severe damages in the bedroom where Amir and his infant siblings were sleeping. Apart from the above, the perpetrators also left a message to Amir and his family on a cardboard that reads “Leave. Go back to your village. Leave”.

“I was shouting and calling for help. The children had woken up, crying; they were very afraid. The children’s room was full of glass. A beer bottle was on the bed. The stones kept coming, one after the other. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I notified the owner of the house, who came down and called the police. We are going to die. They will kill us and we don’t know the reason”, the fifth-year primary school pupil’s mother Arizu told reporters. On Friday morning the family, that arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos in early 2016, requested to be included in Athens Municipality and UNHCR temporary refugee housing program, as the cowardly attack -that did not cause any injuries- has shocked and terrified them. The case is being investigated by the Hellenic Police Racist Violence Department.

Τhe Greek Education Ministry issued an official statement condemning the assault: “On the occasion of the stoning of the 11-year-old Amir’s home in Dafni, the Ministry of Education, Research and Religion expresses its abhorrence and asks the police and judicial authorities to take all necessary action so that those held responsible, whatever they may be, wherever they come from, be identified and suffer the consequences of their act. Amir and any other student should feel secure and an equal member of his school, his city and the country in which he or she lives.”

In a similar tone, Athens’ Mayor Giorgos Kaminis expressed his dismay at the attack, asked the authorities to investigate the case immediately and clarified that the municipal authority is determined to ensure the city remains “open” for its citizens, while in cooperation with them and other municipalities across the country “are relegating extreme, intolerant, xenophobic and racist practices on the margin”. “Fascist tactics, attempting to terrorise, not only do not only daunt us but rather fortify our determination to unhindered continue with the refugee hospitality and social inclusion program”, the Mayor added.