Making the headlines on several news channels this week, is Greek’s far-right, ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn. They have a If you are unfamiliar with this political party here’s a tidbit of info about their values and platform:
Included in its political platform, the Golden Dawn party seeks to restore national pride to Greece and expel foreigners. The party campaigned heavily on an anti-immigrant platform under the slogan “so we can rid this land of filth.” Source
As the world watches, immigrants in Greece now fear for their lives and more human rights abuse stories are coming out everyday. Amid social and economic tensions, Greeks have been pushed past the boiling point and are now willing to reach out and take any answer to their societal woes. Golden Dawn appeals to the people of Greece by handing out free food to nationalists as recently as today. Read more…
More broadly, the rise of Golden Dawn reflects a growing trend towards the far-right in mainstream European politics over the past decade. The success of Le Pen in this year’s French election is one example which highlights the growing discontent in Europe towards those who govern. These movements resonate with the concerns of many voters: that the promise of modern globalisation has brought more instability and new insecurities, that mass immigration is threatening local and national identity, and that secularism is taking hold. Source
Here are three recent examples of the devastating attacks on immigrants in Greece:
1. Saturday, November 3rd, was to prove different – the 29-year-old Egyptian migrant disappeared into a maelstorm of beating at the hands of his employer, his son and two accomplices, who chained him up and tortured him for 18 hours in a stable. That ordeal was followed by indifference by medics, who said he didn’t require hospitalization after he was found beaten black and blue on a village street, and by police, who detained him in a cell for four nights after the attack. – Source
2. ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The attack came seemingly out of nowhere. As the 28-year-old Bangladeshi man dug around trash bins one recent afternoon for scrap metal, two women and a man set upon him with a knife. He screamed as he fell. Rushed to the hospital, he was treated for a gash to the back of his thigh. Police are investigating the assault as yet another in a rising wave of extreme-right rage against foreigners as Greece sinks further into economic misery. The details vary, but the cold brutality of each attack is the same: Dark-skinned migrants confronted by thugs, attacked with knives and broken bottles, wooden bats and iron rods. – Source
3. The Athens newspaper Kathimerini reported on the incident, which happened Wednesday evening. “Some 150 people, including an unknown number of Golden Dawn deputies, attacked migrants and damaged migrants’ shops in the area, according to reports,” the paper said. “The attacks came hours after an unidentified immigrant allegedly stabbed a hairdresser in the area before stealing cash from his shop.” – Source
Even Facebook has been drawn into the fray by being forced to ban profiles of various MPs and Golden Dawn deputies due to a high volume of complaints.
Following hundreds of complaints Facebook has decided to censor Greece’s ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi), by blocking the profiles of some MPs and party members. TVXS reported Facebook stated the profiles of Golden Dawn members “violate the policy against violence and racism.” – Source
Where are Greek’s police force in all of this mayhem? What astounds me most, is the acceptance of these views being tolerated by anyone’s representative, let alone promoted by them.
Last week, a senior Greek police officer claimed that the far-right party Golden Dawn had infiltrated the Greek police force. The officer reported that, for the last few years, the Greek state had been fully aware of the illicit activities of Golden Dawn but instead of clamping down on their behaviour, they had turned a blind eye to the radical party. Source
If the existence of such a group isn’t worrisome enough already, it gets worse; they’re spreading. Popularity has actually continued to grow for the far-right party all over Greece due to the public’s resentment of more and more austerity measures being forced upon them.
An opinion poll published by KAPA Research in October showed that support for the extremist political group had grown from 7.5 percent of the population in June to 10.4 percent currently. – Source
This ultra-nationalist support is actually seeping into other countries such as Italy.
Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has set up an Italian branch in the north-eastern city of Trieste, according to local reports. – Source
Let’s just hope that should these anti-immigrant occurrences continue, we see some real initiative shown by the Greek government to hold those accountable to justice. They should make an example out of future incidents for the rest of the Greeks to see that despite what issues immigrants bring with them, they are not the cause of their problems. There is no excuse for taking out anger caused by toughening social conditions due to austerity measures on those with the least support. Illegal immigration complications are one thing but full scale national bullying is another.
Here is an excerpt I found helpful in analyzing why the Golden Dawn party is gaining such traction among Greeks.
The rise of the far-right party comes at a time when immigration is seen as a threat to the very fabric of Greek identity. European policy states that countries within the European Union are allowed to deport undocumented immigrants back to their point of entry, but often these immigrants end up in Greece, which is used as a back door for heavy flows of Middle Eastern and Asian migrants. With 40 per cent of Greece’s prison population composed of immigrants, Golden Dawn’s virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric is resonating amongst local Greeks who are dismayed with the economic and political direction of their country.
The question remains as to how best to respond to the rise of the far-right. Improving social conditions would go a long way, although this would not be easy as austerity measures forced on indebted European nations are stretching the fabric of society to its breaking point. Nowhere is this more evident than in Greece. The youth unemployment rate is at 50 per cent, aid and pensions for the elderly and disabled have practically been dismantled, and rioting and violent crimes plague the streets. People are finding their voice in anger, not reason. When governments lose track of the will of the people, anxiety creeps in and people begin searching for answers elsewhere. – Source