July 11, 2012 1 Comment
Immigrant hating is often the first card played when the right-wing comes to sit at the table, so Greece isn’t particularly different from other countries around the globe. What is amazing is that Greeks have been the immigrants par-excellence, all over the Mediterranean and Asia-Minor for centuries; tens of centuries. Greek colonies around the Black Sea, Greeks along the Turquoise Coast in (now) Turkey; Greeks in Antioch the fabulous Egyptian city. I’m sure there were incidents when locals didn’t welcome them, beat them or burned their shops, but thrive they did, grew and prospered, raised their children who spoke the local languages and yet remained Greeks. How nice it would be were History a better teacher.
ATHENS — A week after an extremist right-wing party gained an electoral foothold in Greece’s Parliament earlier this summer, 50 of its members riding motorbikes and armed with heavy wooden poles roared through Nikaia, a gritty suburb west of here, to telegraph their new power.
As townspeople watched, several of them said in interviews, the men careened around the main square, some brandishing shields emblazoned with swastikalike symbols, and delivered an ultimatum to immigrants whose businesses have catered to Nikaia’s Greeks for nearly a decade.
“They said: ‘You’re the cause of Greece’s problems. You have seven days to close or we’ll burn your shop — and we’ll burn you,’ ” said Mohammed Irfan, a legal Pakistani immigrant who owns a hair salon and two other stores.
and for more on the appearance of Greek Fascists, see Spyros Marchetos in the Guardian
Fascists did not suddenly multiply in Greece. Rather, extreme right ideas and values gradually permeated public consciousness, and became mainstream in the last 20 years. Then the troika (of the European commission, European Central Bank and the IMF) imposed measures of violent pauperisation, and even created widespread perceptions of decay and victimisation, and feelings of national persecution and humiliation. All these, as the US historian Robert Paxton argues in his magisterial Anatomy of Fascism, help fascism rise. Finally, when the crisis stole the clientelist appeal of the ruling parties, many of their voters turned towards those who professed openly what traditional politicians only implied