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Rise of the Racist Right in Greece
Sasha Uzunov - 6/9/2013
He has a long beard, wears a head covering and long flowing robes and preaches religious and ethnic hatred but he is not the stereotypical fire-breathing Islamic Imam or a "Mad Mullah" or an "Angry Ayatollah" that the media so likes to portray but a Greek Orthodox Christian Bishop who has issued "fatwas" against ethnic minorities in Greece such as fellow Christian Macedonians and Sunni Muslim Turks.
But still silence from the West as it focuses on Islamic terrorism. In 2011 Bishop Anthimos of Salonika was condemned by the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) when the Bishop called upon Greek youth and others to join him in 40-50 buses, travel to the town of Meliti (Ovcharani), and destroy a planned Macedonian language radio station.
“Anthimos is a shameful embarrassment to all of Orthodoxy and should be stripped of his title by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy and Sacred Synod,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.
“This rhetoric is barbaric and injurious to Greece, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Church. Instead of promoting Christian values of peace, tolerance and togetherness, Anthimos uses his position of trust to incite the Greek nation to ethnic hatred and violence. As a Christian leader, Anthimos's speech is completely unacceptable, and he deserves to be excommunicated.”
On Sunday, August 14, 2011, Metropolitan Anthimos stated the following, which was captured on video:
"We have some of those who were left here since the Civil War period, as we call it, that difficult period, who did not leave to the other side and stayed here with us... [They] are now revolting, and are instigated from abroad by the Skopian [sic] propaganda … That is why we address to the Ministry of Interior and deputy ministers relevant to the media to tell us: is it true, such a radio station will become in Meliti . . . yes or no? If it is yes, then I, and the youth, and anyone else who wants to . . . [with] at least 40 or 50 buses must go there, and together with our brothers in Florina and Meliti, we will destroy everything into broken glass and nails . . . It is not possible to do the job differently."
Is it no surprise that the extreme right and neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn has fed on Greek dissatisfaction with the European Union and drawn nourishment from the Greek Orthodox Church. What we are witnessing in Greece is the logical conclusion of a syndrome of a national persecution complex.
Moderate Greeks will tell you that right wing nut cases blame everyone from the Vatican to the CIA to the Turks to Islamic fundamentalists to Communists to gays to Zionists to goodness knows what for Greece's downfall, when the cold hard reality is more mundane, such as the Nanny State mentality.
This persecution complex stems from a perception that Greece is "special" and everyone is out to get Athens because of envy. But I hate to deflate that national ego but in 2,000 years nothing has come out of that tiny country. The only time it had any strategic importance was during the Cold War when the United States had some military bases there.
No one is out to get Greece or destroy the Greek state. But this out of control and all consuming persecution complex can come up with the following bizarre conspiracy that during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a Jew, was part of a Zionist conspiracy in collusion with the Turks to takeover Cyprus, even though a right wing Greek coup on the island was what caused the Turkish intervention in the first place.
From 1967 to 1974, Greece was a right-wing military dictatorship and it was only the Cyprus crisis which restored nominal democracy. Patriotism, a genuine love of country is healthy and the perfect antidote to European union Nanny Statism, but extreme nationalism of any kind is a dead end street that leads to disaster.
Golden Dawn and its neo-Nazi ideology places a cloud over Greece's role in fighting the German occupiers during World War II.
For decades, Australia's Macedonian community has warned about the right wing extremists in Greece but this has fallen on deaf ears. Instead we had Australian politicians from both the left and right pandering to Greek ultra-nationalist sentiments, from Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett's offensive labelling of Macedonians as "Slavs" to South Australian Premier Iron Mike Rann, ironicaly a former Greenpeace activist turned uranium mining advocate, railing against the alleged falsification of "Greek history."
Even Greek-Australian newspaper, Neos Kosmos (New World), English language edition, in 2009 acknowledged the political muscle of Athens in Australia:
"Greece is refusing to accept the name “Republic of Macedonia” which the neighbouring country has adopted in its constitution. A number of nations including the US recognise this constitutional name.
Unlike the US, however, Australia has remained vigilant on the naming issue adhering to Greek Australian sensitivities.
“I can’t imagine any Australian government committing such an act of political suicide risking a major fall out with the Greek Australian community,” a Greek Australian politician, who wished not to be named, stressed to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE).
“Especially, under the circumstances where the possibility of an early election is looming over the anticipated impasse with the government’s effort to pass its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme,” the politician clarified."
First it was ethnic Macedonians, Turks, Albanians, now its Jews, gays, Africans, muslims and even Western journalists but how long will the West stay silent on the growing menace of Golden Dawn and the Racist Right in Greece?
|Sasha Uzunov graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, in 1991. He enlisted in the Australian Regular Army as a soldier in 1995 and was allocated to infantry. He served two peacekeeping tours in East Timor (1999 and 2001). In 2002 he returned to civilian life as a photo journalist and film maker and has worked in The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. His documentary film Timor Tour of Duty made its international debut in New York in October 2009. It picked up a Platinum Reel Award from the 2009 Nevada Film Festival (US). He blogs at Team Uzunov. His camerawork featured in a 2010 Canadian documentary film, "Afghanistan: outside the wire," Produced by Scott Taylor.|