Mi­grant heroes get Greek cit­i­zen­ship

China Daily - - WORLD -

ATHENS, Greece — Three mi­grant fish­er­men re­ceived Greek cit­i­zen­ship on Wed­nes­day for help­ing res­cue dozens of peo­ple who were forced into the sea by flames from a sum­mer wild­fire that caused 100 deaths.

Greek Pres­i­dent Prokopis Pavlopou­los hosted a cer­e­mony for Gani Xheka, 35, from Al­ba­nia and Egyp­tians Emad El Khaimi, 50, and Mah­moud Ibrahim Musa, 46, both to honor them and for “send­ing a mes­sage to Europe” to counter anti-im­mi­grant sen­ti­ment.

The three men pulled peo­ple from the wa­ter who had fled the out-of­con­trol wild­fire at the sea­side re­sort of Mati, east of Athens, by swim­ming out to sea while hav­ing dif­fi­culty breath­ing be­cause of heavy smoke. The trio also guided sur­vivors to a nearby port af­ter the July 23 blaze reached the shore and gut­ted hun­dreds of homes.

“In a sit­u­a­tion like that, when you are talk­ing about peo­ple’s lives, there’s no re­li­gion, no black peo­ple, no white peo­ple. You just have to help peo­ple who are in dan­ger,” El Khaimi said af­ter the cer­e­mony.

The death toll from Greece’s worst wild­fire in decades in­cluded vic­tims who drowned af­ter seek­ing safety in the sea, as well as peo­ple who were trapped in­side their homes or along nar­row roads.

The de­ci­sion to grant the three men cit­i­zen­ship was pub­lished in Greece’s of­fi­cial govern­ment gazette on Dec 21 but for­mally an­nounced on Wed­nes­day.

“The three for­eign na­tion­als, dis­play­ing self-sacri­fice and ig­nor­ing the dan­gers, joined Greek fish­er­men and saved dozens of our fel­low cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing many chil­dren whose lives were at risk,” the de­ci­sion said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong

© PressReader. All rights reserved.