June 19, 2012
Extreme-right Greek party threatens gay people: “After immigrants, you’re next”
The openly neo-Nazi, racist and homophobic party Golden Dawn – whose name was borrowed from Alfred Rosenberg, the theoretician of Nazism – made its entry to the Greek Parliament this weekend, with 18 deputies out of 300.
Golden Dawn gained about 7% of the votes after the elections on 17th June 2012.
A copy-paste of Nazi references
It is quite a big shock for Greeks and for the whole Europe to witness the revival of ghosts that were believed to belong to the past. Unlike other extreme-right European political parties, Golden Dawn and his leader Nikos Michaloliakos are not even hiding their political heritage or pretending they deny any totalitarian, racist or homophobic ideology.
Beyond the ghastly decorum – black cross on red background flag, Hitlerian salute – Michaloliakos confidently declared in the media that Hitler is “a great historical personality of the 20th century” and that gas chambers never existed.
“Time for fear”
Golden Dawn leaders and members are not only extremely violent in words, they regularly come to physical actions.
At the beginning of June, the number two of the party, Ilias Kasidiaris, burst out in anger live on TV and punched in the face two female leftist politicians.
The party is more of a Milice (a local vigilant group) than a political party. The members decided to clear the streets of Athens of all the illegal immigrants (and the others) who reach Europe via Greece – due to its strategic position, 9 immigrants out of 10 got into Europe through Greece in 2010.
The party is famous for its regular ‘pogroms’ against immigrants, supported by iron bars or even white weapons. When Michaloliakos was asked how he would sort out the problem of immigration, he simply replied: “I let you imagine”.
A social role
The most worrying is that Golden Dawn meets a very big echo in a society overwhelmed with economical chaos. Its members tend to replace the police to deal with local offence.
They also play a social role for the elderly and all those left behind by the recession, assuring the safety of more fragile people and distributing food to those in need.
Golden Dawn undoubtedly benefits from the general climate of xenophobia generated by deprivations and the general collapse of the standard of living suffered by the Greek population since the beginning of austerity policy in 2009.
“I wouldn’t feel proud if I were a fag”
This quote by Nikos Michaloliakos concluded a speech about the “abnormality” of homosexuals, who are obviously “not welcome” to Golden Dawn. He also regretted the absence of a “test” which would enable him to know with certitude who is gay or not in the party.
In 2005 already, Golden Dawn demonstrated its hostility to gay people by handing out homophobic flyers during the Athens Gay Pride.
More recently, Golden Dawn openly threatened the gay community by leaving flyers in Gazi, the gay area of Athens, where one could read: “After the immigrants, you’re next’.
Greece and homosexuality: a fraught relationship
Sappho and her only-girls Lesbos island are definitely relegated to the status of a distant myth. The situation for LGBT people in Greece was already far from easy, and is now going even more backwards.
Greece has been somewhat stuck between tradition and modernity and has adopted a really fraught attitude towards homosexuality. Whist everyone is aware that many pop stars and national icons are gay, and despite centuries of history that generated the word “Lesbian” itself, the young generation still has a hard time coming out of the closet.
Standard family is still the primary institution and the mentalities don’t seem to evolve much. Many LGBT people therefore choose not to live openly their homosexuality, creating a vicious circle and never triggering the chance for a whole generation to eventually change things.
In the chaotic first decade of the 21st century, with the hatred and the threatening demonstrated on the public scene, young LGBT now have good reasons to be scared of coming out.
Do we still need pride?
Lesbilicious at Brighton Pride 2012 asking lots of people their opinions on whether or not we need pride.
September 2, 2012