The Greek courts have at last made a momentous decision: to jail Nikolaos Michaloliakos, alongside his Nazi-fascist gang. This political party has brought the birthplace of democracy to very dangerous places over the past ten years, where violence and terror have taken hold of the poorest neighbourhoods.
We at the Unión Romaní (Roma Union) have always been opposed to this political party as we were aware of the murderous ideas that nestled among their political agenda, the very same ideas which led Hitler to power in the first half of the 20th century. The sentence thereby issued by the Athens Court of Appeal, which declared Golden Dawn to be a criminal organisation, allowed the long-suffering country’s citizens to breathe a sigh of relief. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has stated that living with Golden Dawn has been a “traumatic, painful, and unfortunately very bloody” experience. “To rid ourselves of it in Parliament as well as in our daily lives is a democratic triumph”.
The final blow which the Greek justice system delivered upon this Nazi organization has led to the immediate incarceration of Nikolaos Michaloliakos and the party’s political council, comprising six members. 61 other leading members of the organisation have also been convicted and sentenced, including former members of Parliament Ilias Kasidiaris, Ioannis Lagos, Christos Pappas and Giorgos Germenis.
Golden Dawn was the third-largest political and parliamentary force in the country
This political organisation emerged among the Greek population at the beginning of the 1980s, although it was not officially recognised as a party until November 1993. From the outset it sought for the restoration of the unsuccessful military dictatorship, the Regime of the Coronels. As time went on, the party had great success in the 2012 “Hellenic Parliament” general elections. It received almost half a million votes, and won 21 seats.
Later, in the 2014 European Parliament elections Golden Dawn received more than half a million votes and won three seats, but in the most recent elections in 2019 its decline was apparent, losing one seat in Brussels and Strasbourg. In the 2015 Hellenic Parliament general elections the party met a similar fate and lost three seats, leaving it with a total of 18. Even so, Golden Dawn continued to be the third-largest political force in the country.
Until, of course, this debacle began. The demagogue’s philosophy, used as both its weapon of choice and method of advertisement, has its days numbered. Despite the fact that it enjoys some power, the party has left a frustrated and miserable country in its wake. The Greek people, fed up with so many lies and unfulfilled promises, said “enough” in the polls and withdrew their trust in these new false prophets. Golden Dawn received just 2.93% of the votes, thus leading them to lose their representation in the Chamber of Deputies, the electoral threshold being 3% of the national vote.
Racists, as well as demagogues, are liars
The famous quote by Abraham Lincoln is relevant here: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”. It is well known that Greece’s unpopular austerity measures caused great suffering throughout the country. The ‘national unity’ government, formed by conservatives and socialists, was accused by the Nazi leader of being the cause of all the country’s problems. He also sought to show immigrants as a deadly epidemic, and blamed them for the country’s hardships. Golden Dawn appealed to voters with the slogan “So the country will be free of filth”, and promised that “If we are elected we will deport everyone immediately, and seal the borders again with more guards, mines and electric fences”.
Everyone on your feet!
Nikolaos Michaloliakos, undisputed leader of the condemned political group, studied mathematics at the University of Athens. Once graduated, he joined the army in 1977 and formed part of the Paratroopers Brigade, where he served as Officer. A leopard never changes his spots, however, and in 1978 he joined a far-right group, participating in various bomb attacks. He was convicted and sentenced to 13 months in prison for the unlawful possession of arms and explosives, and was accused of planning terrorist acts.
Michaloliakos was a staunch supporter of leader-worshipping ideologies. When he gave press conferences, his bodygyuards would make the reporters stand as a sign of respect for him. This was not unlike other leaders of his kind – for instance, in Spain they used to end formal proceedings with the cry “The Empire will lead us to God, long live Franco!”, in Germany “Heil Hitler”, and in Italy Mussolini, or il Duce, was greeted with “Ave”, a phrase traditional in the times of gladiators “Ave Caesar morituri te salutant (Hail Caesar! Those who are about to die salute you)”.
Also in opposition to gypsies
We gypsies arrived in Europe via Greece and our documented history begins at the start of the 14th century, with an artefact dated from 1302, preserved on the island of Corfu. (1) It was in 1360 when a stable, independent community was established on the island called “The Fiefdom of the Gypsies” (Feudum Acinganorum). Funnily enough, many gypsies don’t know it, but when we count we do so in ancient Greek (Jek, dui, trin, starh, panch, oxto, enia. One, two, three, four, five, eight, nine).
Well, not even for that were the Greek gypsies exempt from the racist Nazi hatred of Golden Dawn. In 1973 the Greek police arrested 13 people suspected of having participated in a mass attack against gypsies in the region on Etolikon, in western Greece. As confirmed by the police, some 70 inhabitants of this town, many of whom were masked, attacked a neighbourhood inhabited by gypsies, where they set fire to six homes and four vehicles. According to local media, a group of militants from the neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn were involved in the aggression, amongst them member of Parliament Konstantinos Barbarusis.
May they rot in jail, and much unlike a golden dawn, may the sun now set on their miserable lives.
(1) To read about the arrival of gypsies in Spain, click on the following link: https://unionromani.org/2017/01/12/hoy-se-cumplen-592-anos-de-la-llegada-de-los-gitanos-a-espana/
This English translation has been possible thanks to the PerMondo project: Free translation of website and documents for non-profit organisations. A project managed by Mondo Agit. Translator: Hannah Quinn