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We want that Greeks and immigrants work together for the sake of the country!

13 November 2010 / 15:11:40  GRReporter
5677 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova


Abul Bashar is from Bangladesh. He is a member of the left party of Petros Constantinou "Socialist Worker’s party" and during the local elections on 7.10 he and his compatriot Aminul MD Islam, were chosen by the city hall in Athens for municipal councilors. Elections took place at an extremely low turnout. With his 5548 votes, however, the candidate for mayor, Petros Constantinou won 2.87 percent. As stated in the program of the "Socialist Worker’s party", the party aims at an "anti-capitalist coup". He firmly declares to be against the measures imposed by the European Union and calling on Greeks to oppose the IMF and the Memorandum of the Kalikratis Law. He pays particular attention to protecting the rights of immigrants in the country. Constantinou is also the leader of the movement "United against racism and the threat of fascism."

Abul Bashar I met in the internet room in downtown Athens, which he owns himself. At the appointed hour he comes holding by the hand his little daughter and greets me friendly from far away. From our conversation about his election as city councilor, I understand that Bashar has a strong desire to contribute for Athens to become a city where Greeks and immigrants shake their hands. The co existence is not always easy but necessary and possible. And putting a hand out is indispensable.
When and how did you come in Greece?

In Greece, I came 13 years ago. I went first to Russia, where I resided for 1 year. From there I came on a trip to Greece and... I never returned. I stayed here.

You have opened a mini-market, and you are also the owner of the internet center. Is it easy for a foreigner to open a business in Greece?

Once it was difficult. I started the business 10 years ago. But now things are not like this. For those who have unlimited residence permit is easy. But those who do not have one face a lot of difficulties. To open up a business of your own you must have 60,000 euros in your bank account as a guarantee ...

What difficulties did you encounter at the beginning of your residence here?

I can not say that I have faced any difficulties. As I told you things at that time were not so complicated. One could set up a business and to do things as long as he had documents.

Why did you decide to run during the local elections?

Petros Constantinou is a friend of mine. When he ran for mayor he said to me: "Bashar, let us participate in elections together". At this point I wish to thank the country that allow immigrants to cast their ballots.

How do you think you can help as a municipal councilor?

First we want to solve some basic problems. The immigrants are a lot, and many of them have no home, work, food. This is a huge problem. We want that Greeks and immigrants work for the good of the country together. If we all live in peace and harmony, Greece will go ahead. As it is for example, in England. If there is employment only for the Greeks, the country will not develop. Another problem that we want to solve is the one regarding the red card. The card using which the immigrants apply for recognition of asylum. We want them not only to be able to take the card, but also to be granted political asylum. The situation now is very difficult. Did you know that every day in the center for the submission of documents are gathering crowds of people. Applications are accepted for 10, 20 people at the most. A lot of noise is created, people are protesting. Things are really difficult.

Are there any problems within the immigrant communities themselves, which you would like to fight?

Immigrant communities are struggling with major problems. Such are the trade of drugs and hashish, for example. We do not want such things to be sold. We want Athens to be clean. This is a serious problem that we want to fight. Another thing I want to do is to help immigrants to be able to to perform their activities legally. Because this is what we are interested in, everything to be legal.

These are important and difficult tasks. Are you afraid that you may not be able to do things as you want?

Generally not. The only thing that bothers me a little is just the fact that immigrants are separated. Some are Muslims, others are not. There are some nations who are a bit racist. This I am afraid of. At Attiki Square, where I have a small mosque I see racism every day. Very often, they break the glass and throwing fire inside. Come with me sometime to go there together and see what happens. Greeks from the party Laos set it on fire. Before about 10 days they set in on fire twice overnight. These are the things that scare me.

How do immigrants feel the crisis?

Tags: Abul Bashar local elections municipal councilor mayor Greece crisis
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