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The images of Xrisi Avgi (the Golden Dawn)
Table of contents A brief history of Xrisi Avgi How Xrisi Avgi sees itself How Xrisi Argi is seen by the world How Xrisi Avgi is seen by Greek citizens How Xrisi Avgi is seen by the (illegal) immigrants How Xrisi Avgi is seen by several authorities and organisations Conclusion
A brief history of Xrisi AvgiAs documentary producer, Konstantinos Georgousis,quotes: “In June 2012, the far-right Greek political partyGolden Dawn came from nowhere to win seven percentof the parliamentary vote. The intense economic crisisand rising unemployment have led to increasingnumbers of Greek voters coming to view nationalistideas as a possible solution to their problems. The partyis frequently connected with neo-Nazism and has beenaccused of glorifying Hitler.”
Though, according to instructor at the University of Sussex, Dimitris Dalakoglou, this is not the whole story. Indeed, last year (2012) they gained more and more power, but according to Dalakoglou this extreme right-wing party started its march already in the 1990s – Macedonia Background The party was established in December 1980. In 1992 they developed their program. In June 1993 they took part in the elections for the European Parliament. From 1993-2008 they did not win any votes, because Greek citizens were satisfied with the existing political situation. In 2008 – economic crisis + foreigners – they grew to almost 7% in the Parliamentary elections.
How Xrisi Avgi sees itself “We believe in nationalism.”They believe they are a nationalistic movement and see themselves as “fighters” of the People´s Nationalistic Movement. They believe their actions are legitimized by their ideology which stands for saving the Greek nation, which is under threat As “pure Greeks”, we are not willing to sell the country to foreign interests. They believe in an independent Greek society “We are not fascists depending on how they (the others) define fascists”
“Our symbols and colors have nothing to do with Germany or Italy and the regimes of the interwar period. Our colour is kianoun (light blue). Politically, white, black and red (revolution, blood, race or tribe) are used for the party, because they used to be the colours of the revolution in 1821.” They believe they are ideologists and conscious political soldiers of a movement with a clear worldview, bio-theory and ideology
How Xrisi Avgi is seen by the world “Neo-Nazi” party “The Cleaners”
– British newspaper The Guardian:“The Golden Dawnthreatens hospital raids against immigrants in Greece.The situation in the hospitals within Greece is critical.Due to the lack of money, medical staff, receptionfacilities, medical equipment etc. the Golden Dawnbegan to take extreme measures, which are to thedetriment of immigrants.”– American magazine The new Republic: “TheTerrifying Rise of Greece’s Nazi Party. […] On thestreets of Greece, it’s now common knowledge amongimmigrants that black clothes are the unofficial uniformof Golden Dawn, or Chrysi Avgi—a kind of crossbetween Hezbollah and the Tea Party. Since 2008,Golden Dawn supporters have assaulted immigrantswith brass knuckles, knives, and batons. There havebeen nearly 500 attacks this year (2012) alone,according to the Migrant Workers Association [...]
– Canadian media source Nationalpost.com: “Neo-Naziparty has election breakthrough in Greece, leader warns‘time for fear has come!’”– Israel’s English-language daily website The JerusalemPost: “Belgium: ‘Greek Nazi party problematic.” In aninterview with Joods Actueel, Belgium’s leading Jewishpublication, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynderssaid the party’s electoral success was a cause forconcern. “This is not just a rightist party – it’s actually aNazi party,” he said.– Nederlands left/wing site Socialisme.nu: “Nazi-partijGouden Dageraad: ‘Na de immigranten zijn jullie(buitenlanders, homo’s en gehandicapten) aan debeurt.”
– French daily newspaper Midi Libre:”Législatives en Grèce : un parti néo-nazi accède auParlement” (Legislation in Greece: a neo-Nazi partygains access to Parliament).”– German online weekly news magazine Spiegel.de:”[...]Die Neonazi-Partei Chrysi Avgi, auf Deutsch "GoldeneMorgenröte", heizt die fremdenfeindliche Stimmung an.Wer sich ihr entgegenstellt, wird bedroht - wie dieJournalistin Xenia Kounalaki aus eigener Erfahrungweiß” ([…] The neo-Nazi party Chrysi Avgi, in English"Golden Dawn", fuelling the xenophobic sentiment.Anyone who opposes it, is threatened - as the journalistXenia Kounalaki knows from experience).
“The cleaners”"Greece for the Greeks" on the square to ward off roaming "illegals" Documentary by Konstantinos Georgousis (many Greeks call Golden Dawn “the cleaners”.
How Xrisi Avgi is seen by Greek citizens Counterparts of Xrisi Avgi Supporters Xrisi Avgi
Counterparts Xrisi Avgi A Greek individual with a big construction company. He is in contact with immigrants, because many immigrants are working for their family company. These immigrants fill the jobs that no Greek citizen wants to do According to him, there is a lot of racism within Greece. The migrants do not realise the situation they are coming into. For them,Greece is the first country of entry into Europe. Many of them are from Africa or Morocco and it is not easy for them to adapt.
As he notes, Greece is a very difficult place for immigrants to begin a new life. The language is difficult to learn and it is a conservative society that is not openminded. “We are really conservative towards migrants.” “The immigrants are a blessing and a curse. They can be a help and do not only cause problems!” “Especially at night, I am not going to the city center of Athens (Omonia, Monesteraki etc.) anymore. It became really dangerous for a woman to walk there alone. The Greek people are blaming the immigrants, but they should blame the state.”
Two middle aged Greek men “We are a nation of 11 million people with the same number of foreigners on top of this.” “Voting Golden Dawn is a vote of punishment.” “The Greek people are fascist-minded, not so much politically-minded.” “Illegal migrants are here, because the EU funds them.” “Migrants are a tool for the state to reduce wages.” “Golden Dawn has no ideology.” “The political outer flanks are destroying Greece.”
Supporter Xrisi Avgi (woman aged 25) “Migrants are a big problem in Greece! We have legaland illegal immigrants. As a Greek citizen I dont haveproblems with those who are legal, but I DO haveproblems with those who are illegal. It is them that arecreating the problems here in Greece, they are morethan we can bear!” Those who have families here, who have a job, andare legal, those are fine, but illegals should be throwninto the sea or should be deported back to theircountries, the same way they came here!”
View on Golden Dawn“The Golden Dawn helps us with the illegal immigrants.Right now for us as Greek citizens it is very difficult tofind a job and there is not enough space for theimmigrants to be here. The immigrants are dangerous,they steal, they kill and the Golden Dawn is just helpingus with this, by cleaning various places in the city.”She votes Golden Dawn, because ‘the other parties areunable to speak the truth for even 1 percent, and theyare manipulated by the European Union’.
Next time, she will not vote Golden Dawn, because theydont mention anything about the economic crisis andwhat solutions as a party they think to present to Greekcitizens.
Table of contents (2) A brief history of Xrisi Avgi How Xrisi Avgi seen by itself How Xrisi Argi is seen by the world How Xrisi Avgi is seen by Greek citizens How Xrisi Avgi is seen by the (illegal) immigrants How Xrisi Avgi is seen by several authorities and organisations Conclusion
How Xrisi Avgi is seen by the (illegal) immigrants Tanzanians Somalians
Xrisi Avgi as seen by TanzaniansInterview with K.“Although our community has been attacked twice byXrisi Avgi, I have to tell you a very important story,which makes you understand why I believe Greekpeople are very kind and good people, which I still andwill always believe!”(This has to do with his experience in Argos, Greece)
As many other Tanzanians, K. left his native country inthe 1990s in order to travel around the world as a sailor.In 1991, he became stranded in Athens.His life before and now:From working at a nursery school in Tanzania tostudying law / international relationships in Cairo, toorange picker on a farm in Argos, Greece, to secretaryof the Tanzanian community in Athens.“As an orange picker in orange gardens in Argos,Greeks were very very friendly, helped us wherever,and gave us food and drinks, while we wereworking.They were good to us, cared about us!”
Tanzanian community established between 1999 – 2002 & legalised in 2002 by the Greek state. Twice attacked by Xrisi Avgi − 25th of September 2012 − 26th of October 2012
Attack 25th of September 2012 Tanzanian community was located in the center of Athens. It was a place were many foreigners (not only Tanzanian people) came together to enjoy an evening together, watching football etc. 24th of September: 40 people stood outside in front of the community’s building. Two women came in and said: “ You have to close the place!” Reason: Many bars around the neighborhood with loud music, bringing nuisance etc.
Conversation between the two women of Xrisi Avgi and K.: K: “This is a legal community, not a bar!” XA:”We are a committee of residents!”K: showed them the legal papers of the community, whereafter the two ladies and the other 40 people outside, left.
Attack 25th of September“While 10 Tanzanians were sitting in the building of thecommunity watching television. At about 01:00 am, 80-100 people suddenly came to the building and startedbreaking into the main entrance door! The Tanzanianswere afraid and called the police. The police came andescorted them five blocks away from there, where theycould take a taxi. None of those breaking down thebuilding, including everything inside, got arrested!” (K.)
Interesting to note, according to K.“When the police came, all the people kept on standingoutside. Normally if you do something wrong, likebreaking into someone else’s building, you would beafraid the police would arrest you. So the question is:Why did none of these people start running orhiding???”And: “Why did the police not arrest anyone for thiscrime?”
Attack 26th of October“Fortunately nobody was in the building & the buildingwas already empty due to the previous attack when, atapproximately 21:00 pm, people threw some sort ofbomb into the building. The anti-terrorist police came.Again nobody got arrested!”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZMwVKC2tW0http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGrRiijTp5EThe whole case is now in the hands of refugee lawyer
K.: “In the meantime, we hope in the future to publish alot regarding Xrisi Avgi and their actions, in the hopethat they will slowly slowly start feeling fear!”“It is not due to the economic crisis, but due to themisinformation the Greek people receive from themedia, which allows for such actions and for the GoldenDawn to grow in percentages!”“The media say things people like to hear, so any badthing done by a foreigner becomes a major issue. As aresult, Greek people start hating foreigners and believethey steal and kill.”
Xrisi Avgi as seen by Somalians No specific views about Xrisi Avgi Reason: the short duration of their stay in Athens S., a 27-year old Somalian left his home country Somalia approximately nine months ago, because of the ongoing civil war that started in 1991. His own life was at risk. − His former life in Somalia: He graduated in public administration and spent his days as a social worker, entertaining young children by playing football etc.
“ If you dont leave, we will just kill you!”Al Shabaab, a terrorist organisation told him this,because they believed Said harmed the children byletting them play football. Instead, these children shoulddo their duty as children soldiers, according to them.His journeyWith a faked passport and document papers, given by afriend living in Syria, he travelled on foot to Syria. Oncethere, this friend was nowhere to be found. Said: “I dontblame him! He was probably afraid of the Syrians due tothe fact that he gave me his passport and documents! Itried to contact him, to thank him for saving my life, buthe does not answer!”
Important to notice: His first experiences with Greekshad been very good!“While crossing the Evros border, I was very veryscared that the Greek police would catch me and beatthe hell out of me!” Instead, they caught me (and otherimmigrants) and gave us food and medical care. I didnot believe it. I could not eat, because I was soooohappy that they were so kind to us!”Three months in the detention center:Contrary to all the other stories S. believed detentioncamp was ok. “Second Captain, mister Isitis even gaveme a leather jacket because I was feeling cold.”
After being released from the detention center: PinkCard!Now in Athens:“I have good experiences with Greek people, they helpwhen- and wherever they can, not only with money.”“some told me before that Greeks are racists, but oncein Greece I feel like being in Europe, I feel good, I amhappy and feel secure and free!”This of course does not apply to all Somalian people inAthens !!! Many are still without pink card, afraid ofGreek police who arrest them because they are illegal,which happens very often.
Abdurazak Hassan Abdi (illegal Somalian): “I have beenhere for 5 months and already 3 times I went to prison,because I do not have a pink card.”S.:”I have a Somalian friend who stayed here for 6months and he became mentally ill.”A. (Somalian tourist in Athens): “I cried when I camehere, because even Somalian women are begging onthe streets to survive, but the Greek government doesnot care!”
BUT... there are not only unpleasant stories.One Somalian individual aged approximately 28:“I work helping tourists; to help them find their hotels etc., because if the police find me with white people the police will not arrest me.” He thinks that the EU immigration policy should take an example from the policy of the U.S.
How Xrisi Avgi is seen by several authorities and organisations Greek police officer EGAM Greek lawyer
… by a Greek police officer (male 30)It is quite difficult to be a police officer in Athens. Thereare places where their life is at risk. Especially, becausethey are equipped with old weapons etc. (guns thatwere used during WWII), since they themselves have topay for all of this. Additionally, it is not only theimmigrants that the police have do deal with. Even theordinary Greek citizen can turn against the police bytrowing stones, molotov cocktails etc.As such, according to G. the most important thing tokeep in mind is that: Greek police officers always needto protect themselves first , before others.
His opinion about immigrants: “Immigrants are people who came for a better life but cannot find a job and so start stealing or selling drugs.” However, he also says that if he passes immigrants sleeping on the street, the first thing he does is to check whether (s)he is alive and if (s)he needs help. According to the lawer: Greek police do have to arrest those immigrants not possessing legal documents, whereafter the procedure of deportation starts.
His views regarding the Golden Dawn:“The members of the Golden Dawn help people who arehungry and they give people jobs. Whether you can callthem Nazis, I dont know. Maybe yes, maybe no.”He arrests those people who are illegal, but also peopleoffending the police or committing any other crime. Thiswould also include members of the Golden Dawn, IFthey would do something wrong.Interesting to note: G.’s posture is well built, dressed inblack clothes and his head shaved
A common view held by Greek citizens is: In order to be 24/7 satisfied, a Greek has to walk with a policeman on one side and with a street cleaner on the other.
… by mister M. part of EGAMM. is a member of the European Grassroots AntiracistMovement, EGAM. EGAM was launched in November2010 under the impetus of SOS Racisme (France) tostructure and empower the European antiracist civilsociety. Nowadays, this organisation encompassesapproximately forty antiracist civil society organisationsfrom all over Europe and is actively involved in makingthe continent free of racism, antisemitism and racialdiscrimination.
According to M., Golden Dawn attacks many manyimmigrants. In many of these cases the police seems tobe involved and members of the Golden Dawn. Thatmeans, when immigrants who got attacked go to thepolice, the police simply says:”Say that you have beenbeaten up during a conflict between you and someoneelse.”M.:”There is increasing support for Golden Dawn, now itis the third party. This means that we need to stop them.We should prevent the representatives of Golden Dawnfrom continuing. We have to stop them and convince allthe political parties in Parliament!”
… by a Greek lawyerK. is a lawyer, defending immigrants in Athens who arenot able to get legal support because they are illegal.Only in penal cases do you get support.K. views on Golden Dawn“Xrisi Avgi is not an extreme right party anymore. It isreally a NAZI-party!”
“Golden Dawn had an enormous influence and appealamongst the people and in elections. In the last threeyears this party grew enormously and there were manyattacks on migrants, whereby the Greek police was fullysupporting Golden Dawn members. In the area of AgiosPantelimonas, the police is on the side of the membersof Golden Dawn.”That Greek police officers, especially in the area ofAgios Pantelimonas are supporting the members ofGolden Dawn, becomes clear in several cases likeKayus case.
K. (Tanzanian Community)Just before the trial about the attacks on the Tanzaniancommunity started, Kourtovik found Kayu beingdetained in a cell at the police station together with twoother members of the community. Suddenly outside thepolice station, several members of Golden Dawngathered together.K.: “we believe that police officers contact Golden Dawnmembers to keep them informed.”Additionally, K. and other Tanzanians recognisedseveral members of Golden Dawn who had attackedthem, but their lives were threatened if they did notwithdraw their accusations.
For the rest, according to K., the police officers areobliged to arrest those immigrants who are illegal, andwithout proper documents. Once arrested, they can bedeported unless they ask for asylum .Why Golden Dawn attacks the immigrants:“Because they want them to leave, scare them, sendthem the message. Their aim is to have the people attheir side. They use immigrants and the problems theybring as a weapon to get more support for their party inorder to survive as a party.”
The profile of Golden Dawn is changing.– At first, the members of Golden Dawn were veryaggressive when they had just entered Parliament– Now, they try to behave like the other Parliamen-tarians; wearing suits etc.In the last 2 months the attacks have decreasedbecause:– People start having ideas about what NAZIs are. Firstthey did not know, because nobody talked about it.Nowadays, people start talking about the fact that thisparty has a NAZI ideology and start mobilising againstthem.
Conclusion– Worldwide, Golden Dawn (Xrisi Avgi) is seen as aNazi-party or as the cleaners.– Other views on Golden Dawn among Greek citizens:racists, helpers, cleaners, protectors, people whobelieve it is a party without an ideology, or they vote forthem out of protest– Contradiction between how the Greek police officersees Golden Dawn and their real practices (policeofficers involved with Golden Dawn)
– Those (illegal) immigrants who dont know GoldenDawn are only afraid of the police. Those (illegal)immigrants who do know Golden Dawn are: EITHERvery afraid of the members of Golden Dawn, OR like K.,they are not afraid and just try everything to disclose theactions of the Golden Dawn in order to make THEM (themembers of Golden Dawn) afraid.– Distinction between those who believe Golden Dawnhas grown during last years, because of thecombination: economic crisis + foreigners. Othersbelieve that the party has grown due to the stories of themedia (foreigners steal, kill etc.).