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October 31, 2012
October 31, 2012

Buses “only for Greeks”

Author: 1AgainstRacism Translator: Anna Papoutsi
Source: 1AgainstRacism  Category: Antifascism
This article is also available in: elesfr
Buses “only for Greeks”

Rosa Parks

Rabab was born in Greece in 1983. The same goes for her two siblings and her child. Her younger son is only 3 years old but has already seen its most cruel face: that of bigotry and racism in his own country.

“It was 10 to 7 o’clock in the evening, when the bus we were on reached our destination, station Mpatis in Faliro”, says Rabab that wears a Muslim hijab. “I waited for my co-passengers to get off the bus since I had the little one in the stroller. When it was my turn and I started lowering it I saw the doors shutting the stroller. The bus was double and I was at the back end. ‘Can’t you see the stroller’, I yell at the driver. And he opened the door right away, only to shut it again. He did that three times on the stroller of my child. If his hand was hanging he would have cut it…” the young woman says.

“If you don’t open the door right away, I will go right now and sue you”, she yelled at the driver for one last time. And he got angry, opened his door and got off the bus to go and meet up with her. He almost put his face against hers and started verbally assaulting her.

“You will sue me? Who are you?” He was asking the woman, who knew her rights and was not afraid to fight for them. “Go and drown yourself in the sea, bitch, and go back to your country. And if I see you again I am not taking you on the bus ever again”, he was screaming furious before leaving.

“My mum, who was with us, was freaking out”, says Rabab. “She was concerned with protecting the baby in this mess. The passengers were remaining silent and in the street no one was paying attention. They were only staring and I was going crazy. The baby was screaming. He was really scared of all the screaming and the sliding doors. And since then, the 9th of September, when this incident occurred, he still remembers it. Every time, before getting on a bus he asks me: “Will the door close on my hand? Will the driver hit me?” He asks me to hold him in my arms because he is afraid inside buses and trolley-buses.

Rabab herself, of Egyptian descent, has encountered such behaviors in public transport before. “I have been very vulgarly insulted in a trolley-bus because they heard me speak Arabic with my mother. Other times they don’t let me on the bus because I have a stroller. “Strollers are forbidden on buses”, I was told once by a driver and another time by a woman on the bus. And when I asked: “How am I supposed to go” she answered: “on foot, the buses are only for us, not for you”.

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