Note: This is the first part of the series about Golden Dawn. This one focuses more on the facts. The second one will focus on how they managed to succeed. Keep in mind that both articles are heavily opinionated, strongly criticize the group and thus, may prove offensive to some.
Countries experiencing the financial crisis right now also seem to have political problems. One of these is the rise of far-right ideologies and parties all over the globe. Greece is, sadly, no exception to the rule.
The rise of Golden Dawn, the far-right, (often called Neo Nazi), party of Greece, is a worrying problem, not only for the Greeks, but for the world as a whole. Their ascension in Parliament is not only proof, but the most terrifying aspect. Right now they have 7% of the vote. As time passes by, it seems like it’s not a mere reaction to the political system itself, stemming from anger, that will soon fade. Golden dawn is here to stay.
The story begins right after the fall of the dictatorship. The leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, had the opportunity to meet many members of the junta while in prison. After being freed in 1980, he started publishing a magazine named “Golden Dawn”. Their first actions were in 1990, when surrounding the tense climate of the “Macedonian Dispute”, they orchestrated violent attacks against both immigrants and Greeks. The party was officially founded in 1993. Even then, the organization was linked with various violent attacks and racist propaganda, both within and outside of the country. However, their numbers were very limited and so were their results in the elections. It seemed as if there was nothing to worry about then.
In 2009, things started to change. The group was well-established in the area of “Agios Panteleimonas”, a part of Athens notorious for the large number of immigrants and its high crime rate. Soon, they expanded all over Athens and eventually, the country. They claimed to provide safety against the “dangerous” immigrants and through many door-to-door actions, managed to get enormous popularity, especially between the oldest and youngest generations that sought out their help. At the same time, recruitment reached unprecedented rates, with youngsters joining the group in hundreds.
In 2011, Mihaloliakos was elected in the city council of Athens. The number of attacks and marches orchestrated by the group continued to rise at a dramatic rate. Right before the elections, the speaker of the party assaulted a female member of the Communist Party on TV. The first wave of outrage and awareness against Golden Dawn sparked, with many claiming they should be banned from the upcoming elections or even jailed. However, this incident failed to hinder their success. In 2012, they finally managed to enter Parliament, with 6.97% of the vote and 18 Members of Parliament (MPs). Since then, the number of racist incidents and attacks has increased tenfold.
Even within the Parliament, they continue to be violent and rude, while also degrading the value of its procedures, even attempting to attack other MPs on multiple occasions.
However, their triumph did not last long. On the night of the 17th of September 2013, Pavlos Fyssas, a famous rapper and member of the antifascist movement, was allegedly killed in cold blood by a member of the party. This is not their first murder, but it was the first to be proven as such. Some years before, they were also accused with the murder of two immigrants, although that case was never solved. Many protests and public outrage meant that the government had to respond to their acts of terrorism quickly, by examining all criminal cases linked to the party. On the 28th of September, the leader of the group as well as many of its members were arrested and charged with murder, attempts of murder, blackmail, violence and money laundering. Weapons and various items revolving around racism and Nazi propaganda were found. Ever since, they have had trouble with justice and every day more and more scandals and cases reach the court.
However, serious action against the party has yet to be taken. Even though they are banned from most media, they still compete in every election, and the leaders, officially in prison, are still MPs, taking part in every democratic procedure both within and outside the parliament. Their funding has been suspended, yet they have the funds to keep going. The justice system has been proven inefficient while dealing with the case because of its complexity and the dangers associated with it. Paralyzed, the system fails to cope with the situation and protect its very citizens from the harm Golden Dawn continues to cause.
Only now has the case for the murder started, but many trials have, again, been suspended or postponed. Without even taking the citizens into consideration, there are still many people who are looking for fair outcome; his family and friends demand answers and justice. Sure, a case with political ties is something complicated that takes time, but why have all this fuss when nothing is happening? And nothing will happen until we debunk the whole myth surrounding the group and their actions and reveal them for the world to see what they truly are: murderers. The Golden Dawn are bunch of bullies who commit hideous crimes against humanity, who preach hatred and ignorance, and who want humans to forget solidarity and become monsters like them. This is not the future, this is the past. A past where freedom is non-existent and a handful of people determine everything. A past where democracy is tossed to the fire and fed to the dogs.
And as luck would have it, things couldn’t get any worse. This sudden influx of refugees over the past two years gives a footing for the group to continue, because they need to “protect us”. Maybe we need more protection from them, rather than the poor refugees who seek a better life. The refugees have ten time as much courage as they do. They have crossed land and sea so as to give their children a future away from conflict, danger and poverty.
The worst part is that they are still free. As long as they are, no one is safe. Their attacks are, sadly, not only aimed at immigrants and refugees, but everyone who dares to oppose them. The organization hasn’t ceased its operations; it’s as if nothing has changed. They continue to preach hatred, violence and the circumvention of the very democracy that had them elected. Both the members and its supporters continue to deny every accusation, saying that’s it’s all propaganda and they just want to censor their voices speaking the truth.
This is not censorship, as they claim. This is mockery. How can someone support a party that wants to disenfranchise its voters, is beyond my reasoning. I feel disgusted just by listening to their words, seeing the conceit on their faces while they speak. They seem to ignore what they are doing, seeing it as popular demand. A demand to give Greece back to Greeks, to cleanse it of every impurity and make it great once more. Even their motto “Blood, Honour, Golden Dawn” is nothing more than a wanna-be Nazi quote.
There is more than enough evidence to prove that what they are doing is not “something normal”. Let’s look at some:
- Their clothing
- Their “equipment”
- Their attacks
An Interactive map showing racist attacks, check it out yourself.
- Their nazi propaganda
- Their salute
- Their protests
If that does not look abnormal to you, then I give up. This is exactly what fascism looks like. The Golden Dawn never tried to hide all of the above. Just recently, Mihaloliakos owned up to the murder, saying it was a mistake. Golden Dawn is changing its tactics, because it seems that the more they reveal what they truly are, the more popular they become.
That is not to say that every member of the Golden Dawn is necessarily a criminal, because this aphorism is somewhat inaccurate. They have, rather, been led astray by their fancy words about the nation, they have been tricked to think that what they do is right. They are people wanting an identity, wanting a change, hoping for the best. It’s difficult to resist the temptation when you have been helped, when you see that Golden Dawn is ,sadly, going places, doing stuff and approaching people on a human/personal scale first, making them feel special, giving them a home, a place where they belong within the group. However, every single member should be aware he is equally guilty, and so should every voter, every citizen; we are all guilty, bar none. There is no use denying it any more.
Greeks have experienced what Golden Dawn is trying to achieve in the past. Fascism. It was everything but nice. This is not something they want; this is not something the world wants. It must be stopped before it’s too late. Political parties exist for the single purpose of guiding and helping a country. Yet, Golden Dawn want to abolish the democracy, for which much blood was shed, and create their distorted version of it. Humans should not seek to destroy, but to mend humanity’s wounds. How can I trust someone who wants to cause harm to others? How can I be so blind? How can I possibly want to abolish unilaterally my very rights, my freedom, my will?
People are angry that nothing is happening to stop their criminal actions. On the other hand, there are still thousands who still vote for them. The country is at a dead end. Both sides defend their positions valiantly. There are many anti-fascist protests, but there are many support protests as well. Everyone speaks against them, yet some people still vote. How is this possible?
As long as there are people willing to listen to their words and believe them, Golden Dawn will continue to succeed.
How Golden Dawn managed to gain such enormous popularity will be explained in detail in the second part of this article, to be published soon.