Greece was occupied by the Axis powers until 1945. Some 300,000 Greek civilians perished during the Nazi occupation of Athens alone. The entire populations (or in some cases, the male population only) of scores of towns and villages were executed and those towns razed to the ground. One million Greek children, women and men lived homeless. An estimated 70,000 Greek Jews were transported to the Nazi motherland.
Today, May 8, 2012, 21 members of the National Socialist Party (Nazi, or Neo-Nazi) were voted into national parliament by Greek citizens. Their leader insisted that members of the press stand as he entered his first news conference where he announced the swastika as their official emblem and extended a particular thanks to the youth of his party who proudly wore the “black-shirt” during the campaign. Pictures of these black-shirted youths with their right hands raised in the sycophantic Nazi salute are easily viewed online. The only difference to the black-shirted wolfpacks of Hitler and Mussolini is that the vogue now favours a T-shirt style. These young Greeks can be observed angrily professing their hatred of the minorities they blame for reducing their country to poverty – Jews (the bankers, of course), immigrants (the darker skinned variety only) and whoever else contradicts their totalitarian definition of white supremacy. This conforms to the Nazi ideology of subjugating races and other minority groups that they consider inferior.
They conveniently forget the decades of bureaucratic corruption and the culture of tax evasion that is the culpable element in Greece’s economic cataclysm. Those very issues hampered Greek admission to the European Union until Greece was forced to undertake corrective reform. The subsequent prosperity brought in through their eventual European economic alliance resurrected the culture of unscrupulous greed, but such factual explanation is ignored by the Greek National Socialist Party as it does not suit their nationalist dogma.
It is being widely reported in the media that the votes cast in favour of the Nazis were votes in protest at the austerity measures mandated through national bailout loans. I am a European citizen with voting rights in Ireland where a regimen of austerity measures is in place to help repay similar loans. Like many protesting Greeks, I too believe that Europe’s economic problems would be solved more effectively through economic stimulus rather than austerity measures, but I would balk at abandoning my values and my respect for human rights in order to advance that viewpoint.
We are all familiar with the idiom about history repeating itself, but who would have thought that passage of a mere 70 years would see Nazi’s invited to represent Greeks in the Hellenic parliament? This is happening within the actual lifetime of people who lived through the occupation and passed that experience on to their children – children such as this man, today’s victorious Party leader; listen to him here and ask yourself if he reminds you of any old monochrome newsreel footage…
A malignant seed was planted in Greek soil. In time it produced shoots. Today it has flowered and its bloom is blood red. With a profound apology to Alexander Solzhenitsyn for the contrasting allegory, this new lesson of history indicates that it is time for us to consider whether the Greek Archipelago may one day become the Gulag Archipelago?