British right-wing tabloid the Daily Mail, the UK’s second best-selling daily newspaper—which supported the Nazis and Italian fascists in the 1930s and still today publishes maudlin fluff pieces that whitewash the Blackwater mercenaries who slaughtered Iraqi children and unarmed civilians—dropped jaws with the shockingly virulent level of racism it exhibits in its 27 May article “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.”
The piece laments that “straggly” and “filthy” “boat people”—refugees who fled extreme violence in Syria and Afghanistan, for which the UK government is partially responsible—have sought asylum in the Greek island Kos, which the article refers to as “the Greek holiday island of Kos,” as if the only reason it exists is to be a vacation spot for Europeans.
It claims “migrants are descending on the Greek holiday island of Kos,” describing the asylum-seekers fleeing for their lives as one would describe a swarm of locusts.
The Daily Mail writes “penniless refugees have set up camp, sleeping on rubbish-strewn cardboard boxes,” blaming the refugees for daring to be penniless, condemning them for their homelessness and for their audacity to live in “makeshift beds, [without] running water.”
The article exists to give a voice to privileged “British holidaymakers,” who claim their vacations were a “nightmare” because the impoverished refugees turned the island “into a ‘disgusting’ hellhole.” Wealthy vacationers angrily told the publication they “won’t be coming back if it’s a refugee camp next year.”
29 photos accompany of the article, largely depicting white Britons on vacation in the island, with captions like “‘Disgusting’: British holidaymakers say their summer break has turned into a nightmare as migrants who are in Greece to claim asylum have turned Kos into a refugee camp.”
The article shows a photo of a beach full of white people sunbathing, captioning it “paradise lost.”
The “party paradise” the publication bemoans the loss of is described “as a getaway paradise for school leavers looking for sunny beaches and a party lifestyle,” where “young British holiday-makers [are] liberated from the strictures of life at home and on a high after their exams,” and “where teenagers could throw caution to the wind – often with little care for the consequences.”
A single shred of sympathy can scarcely be found for the plight of the refugees. Instead, sympathy is reserved for the privileged Europeans whose vacations were “ruined” by the mere existence of impoverished asylum-seekers.
It is even more sympathetic to the plight of local restaurants than it is to the displaced Syrians and Afghans. The publication writes that “local restaurants have erected a net barrier to block the sight of the makeshift camp, but workers complain that the tourists continue to stay away from this part of town because they don’t know where to look.”
The piece often refers to refugees as “immigrants” or “migrants”—a common euphemism the Western media uses in lieu of “refugee,” “displaced person,” or “asylum-seeker”—implying their migration was voluntary.
It furthermore refers to these “migrants” with loaded language like “straggly” (a word it uses twice to refer to asylum-seekers).
“Holidaymakers have complained some migrants sit outside restaurants watching them eat,” the publication writes, failing to emphasize that the refugees are probably watching vacationers eat because they themselves are likely starving and have no money for food.
Because the refugees are homeless, they have been relegated to washing their clothes in the harbor. The Daily Mail calls this an “eyesore,” lamenting that “the harbourside has become an unofficial washing line, with clothes and grubby-looking scarves laid out along the shoreline.”
The article gives voice to privileged Europeans vacationing on the island, yet the voices of the asylum-seekers are largely ignored.
One gets the strong impression that the article is pushing a racist “clash of civilizations” narrative, in its emphasis on how “out of place” the “smartly dressed” locals are vis-a-vis the supposedly barbaric refugees who are “drying their clothes on the railing by the sea.”
In all, the brief article uses the term “disgusting” four times, presumably for emphasis. It quotes a vacationer referring to the island as suddenly “really dirty and messy,” and describes “barefoot toddlers in filthy clothes.”
At one point, the piece even implicitly warns that some of the asylum-seekers may be “heading for Britain.”
These are refugees who are so desperate, 236 slept in a police courtyard that was meant to host only 35 people. Yet the Daily Mail is much more concerned about the Britons’ vacations that have been “ruined.”
I archived the article here in case the publication edits or even deletes it.