July 21, 2012 by Nash Riggins
After enjoying an unrivalled level of success in last month’s general elections, Greece’s Golden Dawn party has already begun to initiate a series of cultural and social modifications that stand to erase what little pride the Greek state has left.
In an unprecedented move, the far-right party began plastering fliers throughout Athens last week calling for Greek-only volunteers to donate blood that will be offered exclusively to other Greek-born citizens.
“All the bottles of blood we collect will be handed over to patients we choose and to no one else,” the party said in a recent statement. “This right to choose belongs not just to Golden Dawn members, but to all volunteer blood donors.”
The party – which has been widely condemned as a neo-Nazi movement – is said to have already established the first of their anti-immigrant blood banks at a state hospital in the Greek capital, and has apparently received a wide level of interest from the general public. Greek doctors, on the other hand, are less than impressed.
Describing the party and its intentions as “insane, unscientific, illegal and racist,” an official within the Health Ministry asserted that such discrimination is inhuman, and that “if someone needs blood, he or she should have every right to get it no matter who they are.”
In response to said criticism, Golden Dawn officials also chose last week in order to launch the first of their Greek-only soup kitchens in the nation’s capital. Unsurprisingly, the kitchens were immediately overrun by the thousands of hungry locals who were able to present unemployment cards or certification of their family’s ill-fated financial status; however, most of those in need were turned away in order to starve because they lacked a Greek identity card. What’s more, each item of food that was served in these Greek-only soup kitchens is said to have been purchased exclusively with state money that the party received following its election success – effectively meaning that this display of discrimination was entirely government-sponsored. If nothing else, the Greek people should be greatly shocked and embarrassed by said actions – yet it appears that most citizens, quite simply, remain unmoved.
Although other officials within the Greek government may be condemning the actions of their latest political upstart, said critics are now undeniably part of an institution in which racist activity is being state-funded – and unfortunately, it appears that a disturbing number of tax payers are more than willing to jump on the bandwagon of the Golden Dawn’s anti-immigration platform.
Indeed, five long years of nationwide recession have fuelled an aggressive sentiment of anti-immigration throughout Greece as it continues to struggle in coping with the influx of illegal migrants that travel to Athens in the hopes of claiming sanctuary within the EU. In fact, over 80% of all immigrants now enter the European Union through Greece; however, these asylum-seekers have been known to be left waiting in Athens for years before receiving entry clearance – assuming that they receive it at all.
The Greek government clearly lacks the infrastructure in order to maintain this flood of immigrants, and the state is apparently not allocated enough EU support in order to see that those who are denied clearance can be safely and humanely deported. As a result, this embarrassment has effectively left Athens with little to do but allow the thousands of impoverished and homeless immigrants to rot in squalid refugee camps or wander the streets as beggars – which, in turn, has now led to their being blamed for the nation’s economic woes.
Although such a burden on the state is regrettable, it’s a shame that a political movement exists in which said burden can be efficiently reinvented as an entire political platform that eerily echoes the early development of Nazi Germany. Indeed, just months ago, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros received thunderous applause at a rally after proclaiming that, if his party was successful in last month’s elections, it would “carry out raids on hospitals and kindergartens and it will throw immigrants and their children out on the street so that Greeks can take their place.”
When Mr Panagiotaros made this speech, dissidents casually dismissed the words as a farfetched outburst; however, the group’s words are now undeniably being coupled with like-minded action. In fact, Golden Dawn MPs are already planning to lay thousands of landmines along the nation’s Turkish border, and – although they repudiate their neo-Nazi status – recently asserted that the atrocities committed during the Holocaust were heavily exaggerated, and have even begun to use salutes reminiscent of Nazi Germany at their anti-immigration rallies.
It cannot be denied that the Greek people have seen their fair share of misfortune – yet if such adversities are fought with hatred and discrimination rather than viable political discourse, Greeks should be prepared in order to receive another heavy dollop of disaster. It is indeed unfortunate that bigoted groups such as the Golden Dawn are allowed to bloom and flourish at the expense of impoverished immigrants. Likewise, it’s fair to say that public discourse has reached an all-time low if groups of thugs are allowed to terrorize impoverished immigrant families and be looked upon as creatures of political triumph.
Indeed, just one year ago, packs of Greeks were wandering around Athens with homemade nooses, chanting threats of violence against their government officials. Unfortunately, it appears that those same individuals can now boast a substantial democratically elected representation in Parliament – which simultaneously indicates that the nation’s moral compass may be virtually nonexistent. Many within the state have admittedly condemned the actions of the Golden Dawn party, yet they are refusing to act; meanwhile, members of this anti-immigration movement are beginning to deny food and medical treatment to more people every day.
Members of the Golden Dawn party have been rightfully and democratically elected by the people of Greece – indicating that these aggressively racist tendencies aren’t as isolated as one would hope. As a result, this sentiment of hatred that is being seeded throughout Greece cannot merely be pegged as the ‘misrepresented ravings’ of a marginal group of racists, and little can be done by other EU nations in order to set the nation on a more agreeable path.
That being said, the Greek people would do well to remember the appalling actions of the Golden Dawn’s Nazi-inspired ideology and act accordingly. Turmoil inevitably breeds hatred, and the latter will spell disaster for human rights in Greece should it be allowed to continue flourishing. With any luck, dissenters within Greece’s government will band together in order to outlaw the Golden Dawn party’s openly discriminatory activities – yet the government’s inability to act as of yet may be despairingly ominous of the events that will soon unfold.