Thursday 19 September 2013

The bell has tolled

The bell has tolled. There can be no more excuses. No more false illusions. No more sitting on the fence. No more complicit silence.

Pavlos Fyssas, an outspoken anti-fascist,  has been murdered in an organised, premeditated attack.

As if I would cry
As if I would get scared
(from the lyrics of one of Fyssas' songs)

The neo-Nazis have shown their true face, the extent of their organisation, the consequences of their messages of division and hate.

The14% who voted for them and brought them into the Greek Parliament; the majority of the Greek population who have remained silent; the rest of Europe that has been pretending that this was not happening; the complicit Greek coalition government that has nurtured and helped the growth of this malignancy. All those who ignored the all too clear signs:
  • the Nazi salutes
  • the swastika tattoos
  • the torch-lit marches at night
  • the persecution and hounding of, and violence against unprotected immigrants
  • the nightly gang rides on motorbikes looking for victims
  • the stabbings
  • the proclamations of 'Greece for Greeks only', the giving out of food to Greeks only, the 'Greeks only' blood transfusions
  • the xenophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, anti-gay messages they have been disseminating
  • the disruption of the workings of the Greek Parliament
  • the assault of Greek Members of Parliament on Greek television
  • the attack on members of the Communist Party last week

The signs have all been here, but it was easier to ignore them, to pretend that they did not exist until a Greek person is murdered.

The government, the police, the legal system have been turning a blind eye to the persecution of the immigrant population considering them third class citizens. They thought they could contain the rise of fascism, hoping to be able to use the fascists against the rise of Syriza and the left. They have been proclaiming that there is no difference between the fascists and Syriza, in an attempt to safeguard votes.

The 14% who voted for the fascists cannot use ignorance as an excuse anymore. They are as much to blame as the government that has been turning a blind eye.

Both have a responsibility to democracy and the country as a whole. We don't want another Weimar Republic.

Pavlos Fyssas has been murdered.

Some facts:
  • The man who stabbed Pavlos Fyssas was not present at the cafeteria when Fyssas and friends were watching the football match. He and the rest of the 30-odd members of the neo-Nazi organisation were phoned by those who were at the cafeteria. When the murderer arrived at the scene he asked: 'is this the street I am looking for?' This points to a high degree of organisation by the neo-Nazi group, to an organised network who can be called upon at any point where it is felt they are needed.
  • The police stood by watching, doing nothing. When asked to intervene, their response was: 'there are too many of them, what can we do?'
  • The woman police officer who intervened in the end, said: 'using a knife is going too far'. The rest was not going too far?
  • At the police station witnesses were asked to give their statements while being kept in the same room as the perpetrator.
  • The first reaction of the coalition government was that Syriza was to blame - their usual response to the violence of the neo-Nazis, effectively giving them an alibi.
  • Tear gas and violence were the police response to people demonstrating and showing their grief on the following day.

The rise of fascism in Greece is a reality that we cannot afford to ignore anymore. First responsibility lies with the coalition government, but I am not holding my breath here: they are too worried about the rise of Syriza  to do anything about this malignancy that is threatening the very fabric of Greek society. Their main concern is to remain in power and the rise of the left is what they perceive as the main threat. Having seen the popular outcry against  the murder of Paulos Fyssas, and concerned about the reactions abroad, they are now making noises about banning the fascist party. Again, I don't hold much hope: Greece has more laws than any country I know, but they are never enforced. Lawlessness and corruption are the order of the day. This won't be any different, particularly given the wide support the fascists enjoy amongst the police force. What is needed are structural changes and the government are not interested in making those: empty rhetoric, filling their pockets and clutching on to power by any means possible, is their game.

It is up to all of us, not just in Greece but throughout the world to say: no more. No fascism in Europe again.


Eleutherotypia (including photograph)
ANT1 news


  1. I feel totally inadequate in this arena. Any influence I have or had was initially through my teaching and my publishing activities - both fairly longterm in their approach. Now, trying to make art is an even more behind-the-scenes effort which is far from immediate, but has always been where I have felt more potentially effective - if at all.
    I believe that things change for the masses when those with the power need them to change, and that the only effective way to distribute the power more evenly is to educate, educate, educate. So thank you for this post full of information.

    1. I totally agree with you that education is the key, Olga.

      I also agree that the powerful have always controlled our world, but I do believe that there are things we can do, particularly when it comes to the rise of fascism, or when it comes to attitudes towards women, which lead to violence against women - to use another example.

      Things are pretty bad in Greece at the moment, and hopefully this latest incident has woken people up: if only the 14% hadn't voted this group into Parliament, they wouldn't have been behaving the way they do - they feel they have a mandate to use violence.

      I'm glad you found the post useful.