If the future historian will try to describe Golden Dawn’s course to mainstream politics and its attempt to consolidate its presence there, he will most probably be able to write about a very organized plan. He will have the luxury to connect the dots. These dots is what we are living these years, it’s the news coming from the far-right camp, digested easily one by one.
The racist attacks is a good example. A previously rare news item has almost become a daily thing. No one is surprised. The violence in public display (see the slapping of Communist MP Liana Kanelli on tv, the bullying outside Chyterio theatre, etc) is another example which, by now, has easily been digested by many. I remember Kanelli after an unsuccessful prank by some comedians who disguised like Golden Dawn thugs and “ambushed” her in a corridor of SKAI TV. She went back to the studio and, in tears, warned that if Golden Dawn’s violence becomes a joke, this will mean that we have accepted it as a new reality.
The next dot in the plan is the consolidation of last year’s gains. Golden Dawn has drawn all the centre-right and far-right voters it could attract. Now they must look into the future, the kids. Step 1: High Schools. Some weeks ago I started researching the story for an international documentary. I spoke with several teachers and they were all complaining about kids flirting with the far-right. Some for joke, others for bullying, in the end they would mention “patriotism”. A friend of mine, a teacher at an Athens High School, gave a lecture to his class about Golden Dawn’s attacks and practices. A kid stood up and told him: “You are not allowed to talk politics in here, sir!”. He was surprised. I asked him if he stopped and he told me: “Of course not! I simply started talking to them about Nazism” . Some weeks later one of his students described to him the good time he had when he went to Golden Dawn’s annual march.
Last week, my very good colleague and friend, Yannis Papadopoulos, wrote for TA NEA newspaper a scathing report about Golden Dawn’s intrusion into Greek schools. I’m translating an excerpt from his article.
… Apostolis and his friends were waiting for me outside the school’s entrance. This is where he carried out his first attack. His hands are in his pockets, his face has that teenage touch. He is 15 years old and he beats immigrants. “Whenever we see a Pakistani, we hunt him down” he says. “If Golden Dawn has reasons to do so, so do we”. Right here the hunting begins as soon as the school ends.
“I’ve seen him standing over that pole. I ran and fell over him, together with another guy and we started beating him” says Apostolis. “I have beaten several of them. Ten, fifteen. Something like that. When the teachers at school find out I usually lie, saying that I was provoked… We are not Golden Dawn members, we do this as a hobby. Everyone without papers must be beaten” says George, 14 years old.17 year old Dimitris, a Golden Dawn member from another Athens school says “Sooner or later these kids will too join Golden Dawn”.
Two days ago, Golden Dawn revealed Step 2. They posted on their official website a text and some photos that took things even further. To younger ages.
The event was paradoxically called “Kids’ conformation”, after a famous 20th century magazine whose most famous editor in chief was Grigorios Xenopoulos, himself a socialist. According to Golden Dawn, the kids were taught by trained teachers who somehow managed to fit in one class topics like the ancient Greek Thought, the ancient Gods of Olympus and the Christian Faith. Whatever help this nation stay together.
I am living in the present. And these news stories are just dots. If you ask me “Do you know where all this is going at?”, I will say No. But it rings some bells.
I simply hope that the future historian will be living in an a country free enough to write about it.