One of the things known to anyone with a Facebook account – or rather, with an internet connection, really – is that there’s no point in engaging in debate. Message boards, Facebook groups and the comment sections of media outlets are known to be the battleground for bellicose contrarians, eager to turn anything into a battle of ideas – currently, a battle between the right and left. Neos Kosmos, as with most media organisations in the world, usually refrains from entering into heated debate once it erupts in the comments. It is not in our habit to answer comments on our Facebook posts. However, from time to time, we have to make an exception and straighten things out.
We recently posted a story on the mayor of Patras, Kostas Peletidis, who won a court case against Golden Dawn, creating a legal precedent that allows for public officials to refuse granting public space to the party. In that story, we referred to GD as “Nazi Party”, which spurred one of our readers to comment: “Whoever wrote this article is at risk of being sued. Golden Dawn is not pro-Nazism, if anything it’s pro-Greek and fights for the people of Greece. I urge you to refrain from using the word Nazi in the future”. His comment was echoed by others who asked for proof and arguments that GD is pro-Nazi.
Although it stuns us that, at this stage, there are still people who doubt it we need to address the issue to educate those who are confused and misled by their patriotism.
Golden Dawn may have entered the mainstream of Greek politics in recent years, taking advantage of the crisis to elevate from a shadowy organisation to the third party in parliament, but it is hardly new. The organisation has been known for decades, as is its history of violence and hateful rhetoric. Members of Golden Dawn have been engaging in clashes with leftists, anarchists, migrants, and refugees for years and many of them have police record smarked with accusations of assault. All this, of course, does not signify Nazi affiliations. Being violent, anti-immigrant, anti-leftist and anti-gay does not necessarily mean being a Nazi.
How about publishing a magazine frequently adorned with ‘glorious’ images of Adolf Hitler or Rudolf Hess on the cover, such as the official publication of the party, ΧΡΥΣΗ ΑΥΓΗ? In this magazine, which deemed Hess as ‘immortal’, the party’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos wrote in May 1987: “What obstacle can stand in our way, since even today we sense HIM leading us […] our thought and soul devoted to our Great Leader’s Memory, we raise our right arm high, we salute the Sun and with the courage imposed to us by our military honour and our National-Socialist duty, we shout, full of passion, faith to the future and our visions: ‘HEIL HITLER!'”.
Anyone still doubting that Golden Dawn is a party of Nazi sympathisers, is just immersed in denial. However, this is just one of hundreds of similar articles published in the magazine. Here’s another excerpt, from an article by the party’s star, Ilias Kasidiaris, (who is sporting a large swastika tattoo on his shoulder): “What would the future of Europe and all the modern world be, if World War II (…) did not stop the rejuvenative course of National Socialism? It is certain that the fundamental values mostly emanating from Greek antiquity would intellectually prevail in all nations and define the people’s destiny. Romanticism and classicism would prevail over degenerating subcultures eroding white men. (…) Man would explore distant stars and would have already deciphered the wondrous world of subatomic particles”.
Such is the Golden Dawn leadership’s infatuation with Nazism and fascism that the party’s deputy leader, Christos Pappas, would not miss an opportunity to dress up in Nazi gear and be photographed doing the fascist salutation, in one case, during his pilgrimage to the burial site of Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini, who, let’s remember, declared war on Greece in 1940. In other incidents showing allegiance to the enemies of Greece, both Pappas and Kasidiaris have been photographed proudly waving the Wermacht flag – i.e. the flag of the forces responsible for Greece’s occupation (and the brutal killing of thousands of Greeks). And if this is not proof enough, how about the 2005 video that went viral recently, from a concert promoted through the party’s media as “Rock for the Country”, in which members of GD are seen shouting “Sieg Heil” and “Juden Raus” (out with the Jews), singing the Nazi anthem Deutschland über alles (which has long been banned in Germany), surrounded by SS flags? Or another video, found on Christos Pappas’ mobile phone during the preliminary process of the Golden Dawn trial, in which he teaches a pre-teen boy to proudly say “Heil Hitler”?
There is abundant proof, carelessly provided by the Golden Dawn leaders and members themselves who have been proudly recording themselves, in various instances and various forms, expressing their views. There is abundant proof, tirelessly accumulated and presented by reporters who have meticulously researched the organisation and its history, spoken with former members, read through the publications and brought all this to light.
Proof that these people are far from patriots. Greece’s national poet, Dionysios Solomos, proclaimed that “anything true is national”. The truth is that Golden Dawn embraces the ideals of Greece’s enemies. They should not be seen as patriots; if anything, they should be exposed as the thugs they are (and this is not taking into account the cold-blooded murder of rapper Pavlos Fyssas). The proof is out there. Anyone still doubting, is immersed in denial. At this stage, nobody can feign ignorance. There is no excuse.