They laughed at the Nazis, too.? It behooves everyone inside Greece and elsewhere to see the ‘Golden Dawn’ for what it is: a frightening, growing, Nazi-like movement.
The neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, virtually unknown when it appeared in Greece’s political sphere three years ago, uses powerful propaganda tactics — just like the Nazis they emulate.
Nikos Michaloliakos, the 55-year-old leader, surrounds himself with bodyguards dressed in black T-shirts and combat fatigues. According to The Economist, Michaloliakos is even greeted with Nazi-style salutes.
Anti-Semitism is integral to Golden Dawn’s credo. Although Michaloliakos says that Golden Dawn is “nationalistic but not Nazi,” the disclaimer comes off more like a joke in search of hearty laughs than a serious statement.
Political parties bend with the economic wind and the will of the people. Something in Greece is open to Golden Dawn. Otherwise it wouldn’t prosper.
Support for Golden Dawn jumped from 6.9% to 11.5% after it entered parliament for the first time in last June’s general election. Since then, the approval rate remains steady.
Now the party is getting down and dirty with vulnerable young minds through “national awakening” sessions at public high schools — another tactic borrowed from the Nazi youth groups of yore. Golden Dawn, writes The Economist, “is targeting pupils at primary schools. Its official website recently posted pictures of neatly-dressed 6- to 10-year-olds, accompanied by parents, at a ‘national awakening’ session held at a Golden Dawn branch office outside Athens.”
Leaders conduct lively discussions on the Olympian gods, the ancient Greek pantheon and the Christian faith — all very well and good if you are teaching mythology, history or religion.
Golden Dawn, however, actually preaches one subject — hatred, for everyone and everything that isn’t 100% Greek. Sound familiar? It should. The only elements missing in this scenario are raised beer mugs and strident drinking songs. Shocked educators compare Golden Dawn’s youth campaign to the progaganda methods utilized in Nazi Germany or by the military junta that ruled Greece in the 1970s.
“You’re bothered by us teaching Greek history?” shouted Golden Dawn lawmaker Dimitris Koukoutsis during an exchange with left-wingers in parliament. “We’re going to write it, too.”
The ancient Greeks believed in wisdom. Ancient Greece is remembered for its great philosophers who discussed, debated and studied wisdom. The word philosophy comes from the Greek, meaning “love of wisdom.” Oh Plato, oh common sense, oh ethical values, where art thou?
Analogies have been drawn between Greek’s hard economic times and the rise in neo-fascism. They seem to go together. Throw in anti-Semitism, blood drives for “pure Greeks only” and vitriol aimed at young minds, and you can toss the recipe. The ideological pot is already boiling over.
The Greeks seem hesitant to verbally attack Golden Dawn, even though Golden Dawn (particularly its teenage followers) attack immigrants. Maybe the Greeks feel the right-wing political threats will dissipate once the economy improves. But as The Independent suggests, “The potential to tap into this dissatisfaction and win over Greece’s future voters has not been lost” on Golden Dawn.
The way we see it, Golden Dawn is capable of painting our future blood red. We have seen the world disregard the signs or interpret them as transient before. Political scientist Antonis Ellinas warns that what makes Golden Dawn’s extreme far-right orientation exceptional “is their use of violence.” You are forewarned. The rest might become your history.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News