Greece’s economic crisis has been on every news station in the world. However, another – lesser known – crisis is simultaneously haunting the Greek psyche: a crisis of identity. In the current milieu of deep austerity and uncontrolled immigration, the political far-right has offered an alternative to the political parties that lead Greece into this difficult situation. “CHRYSI AVGI” (or “Golden Dawn”) is the most visible expression of this angst. There is no question in my mind that the rise of “CHRYSI AVGI” has been the most disconcerting and alarming trend in our five years in Athens. The New York Times recently ran a piece on “CHRYSI AVGI” growing appeal.
Golden Dawn is unabashedly nostalgic for [fascism and Nazism]. Founded in the early 1980s by sympathizers of the military dictatorship that governed Greece from 1967 to 1974, Golden Dawn has always espoused a neo-Nazi ideology. Its symbol clearly resembles the swastika, and copies of “Mein Kampf” and books on the racial superiority of the Greeks are on prominent display in its Athens headquarters.
In the early 1990s, it capitalized on widespread opposition to the use of the name Macedonia by a former Yugoslav republic; a Greek region shares that name. And in recent years, Golden Dawn has muted the neo-Nazi talk and focused on anti-immigrant actions in downtown Athens, where the number of illegal immigrants, most from South Asia, Albania and Africa, has exploded.
The present conditions in Greece can provide the political extremes (whether on the right or the left) an opportunity to win support and sympathy. Read the entire article HERE, and please continue to pray for Greece. Also be sure to check out the corresponding video on the NYT site (or directly HERE).