The manipulation of public opinion and the whitewashing of Golden Dawn in Greece

11.11.2015 - Athens, Greece - Konstantina Baskozou

This post is also available in: Greek

The manipulation of public opinion and the whitewashing of Golden Dawn in Greece
Student demonstration in Athens (Image by Pressenza Athens)

The trial of Golden Dawn (GD) continues with revelations that should: a) make institutions such as the Greek Police provide a series of explanations; b) make the political elite condemn fascism and Nazism every 10 minutes; and c) make the media do extensive reporting and research on the activities of the members of this criminal organization. Instead, we are experiencing once again an attempt to totally manipulate and suppress the democratic spirit and we are being prepared psychologically to accept another political irregularity. The Institutions, the political elite and the media are contributing to whitewash the GD killers (moral and real) due to an inability to react efficiently or intentionally.

Very important for Greece at the present time is the attempt to contribute as effectively as possible to refugee relief. The country is struggling with few resources to establish camps in both urban areas and on the islands and this is the first time a Greek government is approaching the matter in such a way. But the government’s weakness to coordinate all parties that contribute to combating this refugee crisis is apparent. Civil society, organized or otherwise, is fighting a daily battle at the entry and exit points; yet appeals from humanitarian organisations and NGOs are ignored by both the government and the EU as the agenda – particularly for the Commission – seems to be extensive border control rather than a solution to the refugee crisis.

Equally important are the necessary legislative measures that people expect from the government concerning Greece’s sovereign debt, especially the appropriate legislation protecting the primary residence of heavily indebted households. At the same time, the Greek Parliament is due to approve 12 laws from the previous semester while new prerequisites are demanded in order to retain the recapitalization of the banks that is placed as the golden solution to reversing the bad situation in Greek finances. The shortages in infrastructure and human resources in health and education require immediate solutions too. And high up on the political agenda seems to be the extension of civil partnership to same-sex couples – the draft law was given for public consultation on Monday.

A few days ago, the journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou in his telecast Enikos with guest Nikos Fillis, the Greek Minister of Education, instead of focusing on all the above matters, called upon him to say if he insists on the position he gave many years ago as director of the newspaper Avgi, in which he denied the genocide of Greeks by Ottomans in the first world war. The Minister replied that he personally believes that it was a bloody ethnic cleansing but he clarified that this is his personal opinion and he does not want to impose it, as the government is moveing towards recognizing that the Christian Ottoman Greek population suffered genocide.

Afterwards, most of the Greek press, both print and digital, distorted his statements by nationalistically manipulating the emotional appeal of so many dead descendants. A demonstration by survivors of the genocide was infiltrated to the point of being led by Golden Dawn. During the demonstration, members and supporters of GD punched George Koumoutsakos, a New Democracy MP, a moderate politician from the diplomatic corps. Furthermore, GD is filing a lawsuit against Nikos Fillis under the same anti-racist law which was established to protect citizens and the state from their criminal activities.

Koumoutsakos entered Parliament and named Golden Dawn as attackers. However, both the presidents of ND and PASOK accused Fillis of being the instigator of the attack. In other words, they stated that the personal view of their Parliamentary colleague is not appreciated by GD followers who in response to that opinion proceeded to beat up Koumoutsakos. The GD’s whitewashing is also being carried out by the political elite of the country.

In the morning of the same day (Thursday 5th November), a large number of students protested vigorously against cutbacks in education. They showed determination in reclaiming the life that has been denied them. A large proportion of young people supported NO last June and, like many others, they are disappointed mainly because they face the same situation in education as well as high unemployment rates among young people. The biggest trade unions have called for a general strike on 12th November against the government’s unpopular policies. The anniversaries for Athens Polytechnic uprising[1] (on the 17th November) and Alexandros Grigoropoulos’s death[2] (on the 6th of December) are just around the corner.

A large portion of Greek people are looking for ways to show their opposition to developments in recent years and in recent months. At the same time the media and the political pro-European – at any cost – elite of the country not only tolerate and propagate every reactionary, racist and nationalistic behaviour but shamelessly whitewash Golden Dawn. There are still lots of things ahead before we get to rest for the Christmas holidays.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens_Polytechnic_uprising

[2] http://www.thepressproject.net/article/52639/The-Murder-of-Alexandros-Grigoropoulos

Categories: Europe, Opinions, Politics
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