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Thursday 28 May 2015

Daily Mail Kos Shame

I may not have been to the island since 2007, but yes, I have visited Kos, one of the Dodecanese islands most popular with British tourists. You can fly direct from most UK airports served by charter carriers, and the low costs serve it too. And I’ve travelled around most of the island. So one thing I do know is that the part of the Kos Town harbour front where the Police HQ is situated cannot be called a resort area.
Kos Town

That has not deterred the Daily Mail from taking advantage of the arrival of refugees on the island and trying to frighten the population. The headline is all too predictable: “How many more can Kos take? Holidaymaker misery as thousands of boat people from Syria and Afghanistan set up migrant camp to turn popular Greek island into 'disgusting' hellhole”. It’s a blatant misrepresentation of what is happening.

The Mail is not deterred by such thoughts: “Migrants are descending on the Greek holiday island of Kos. Some 1,200 refugees have arrived in the last few days … Penniless refugees have set up camp, sleeping on rubbish-strewn cardboard boxes the harbour side … They’ve taken over a derelict hotel with makeshift beds, no running water and are washing with a hose on the street … Summer break a 'nightmare' for British holidaymakers, who 'won’t be coming back if it's a refugee camp next year’”.

All of which tells you that there are still plenty of people willing to believe what the Mail serves up to them. The part of Kos Town where the refugees congregate - before moving on, which they do within a few days - is not, as the Mail suggests, a tourist beach. Those are situated to the north of the harbour, and the south-east. Moreover, most of the town’s bars and restaurants are well away from that area - not that the Mail is telling you.

No, what the Mail wants is for readers to take notice of the few “disgusteds” they have persuaded to give the paper quotes, such as one who told “I’m not going to sit in a restaurant with people watching you”. THERE ARE DOZENS OF RESTAURANTS IN KOS TOWN. TRY ANOTHER ONE. Any more comments? “We have never been before but we don’t like it … We won’t be coming back if it’s like a refugee camp again next year”.

Refugee camp”? Like Gaza? Or parts of Syria where the population is under bombardment and being starved? Not really, then. But the Mail is nothing if not determined: the article then shows a photo of the resort of Kardamena. The suggestion is that the refugees are here too. Bullshit. Kardamena is a long drive or bus ride from Kos Town. So is Kefalos. And Antimachia. And Marmari. And Mastichari, Pili and Tingaki.

And the airport is also well away from Kos Town. So the vast majority of UK holidaymakers will not know that there are refugees arriving and transiting there. But those who read the Daily Mail will know that their chosen paper is taking a mean-spirited view of those whose situation is so desperate that they are prepared to trust their lives to people smugglers and flimsy inflatable boats in order to flee conflict and reach somewhere more peaceful.

Shame on you, Mail hacks. And shame on those lazy and prejudiced enough to believe them.


AndyC said...

Of course drunken Brit tourists fighting, throwing uo in the street and all the other charming antics never make a holiday spot a 'hell-hole'.

Ceiliog said...

I never go to the Heil website these days as I've no wish to increase the rag's hit count. However, the photos the Heil has used appear on a Greek website and do nothing to back the claims made. A handful of refugees, who are doing their best to remain dignified, cause no trouble whilst overweight and badly dressed Brits walk past looking like bags of shit tied up awkward.