“I feel ashamed by Europe’s inability to deal with this drama,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said addressing the House on the refugee issue.
Tsipras criticized harshly the European Union for its stance and lack of action to curb the death toll of refugees who lose their lives on a daily basis trying to cross to Europe via Greece.
“The Aegean Sea does not only wash ashore bodies of children, but it washes ashore the European Union culture,” the Greek prime minister said characteristically.
Referring to the tears shed in Europe for the dozens of children drowned in the Aegean Sea, Tsipras was caustic: “These are hypocritical, crocodile tears shed for the dead children on the shores of the Aegean. Dead children always incite sorrow, but what about the thousands of children who are alive, stacked on the streets? Nobody likes these children.”
Being Greek, we understand what being a refugee is, Tsipras said, praising the people in Greek islands who show their humanity and compassion. He said that it is our humanitarian duty to save those lives and do our best to avoid such incidents.
New Democracy lawmaker Giorgos Koumoutsakos asked the prime minister what does Greece get from the EU in exchange for the humanitarian aid and accommodation of refugees. Tsipras said that “we can’t put a price tag on humanity” and that Greece is aiding refugees because it is “our human duty.”
“Greece teaches humanity, at this critical hour it teaches our European partners what is the real face of Europe. This is the real face of Europe, the face that Mytilene shows and not what we see happening at the Hungarian border,” he said.
Tsipras also said that it is the Greek people’s duty to show their human face. “… we are all together against those who at every opportunity are trying to find a way to deride Greece for the way it fights to defend its values at a very difficult time for the country and our people. But we will overcome this crisis with our head held high and proudly as we deserve as Greeks, because these are the Greek values, not those of intolerance, xenophobia and racism,” he said.