The neo-nazis burn synagogues – The Anti-Nazis are put on trial! (January 2010)

The arson attack on the synagogue of Chania (Crete) a few days ago reminds us that anti-Semitic, intolerant and far-right violence is present.[1] Apart from this, it confirms that, despite rumors easily adopted and spread by some about how “marginal” and “limited in terms of numbers” the voices that carry the fascist discourse in Greece are, the fascist threat is direct. We insist on the term “direct”, not because the fascists are close to winning the elections, but because they are capable of taking action “from below” and directly threatening the safety and even the very life of those targeted by the racial hatred as well as those who dare to mount a defence against the far-right and para-state tradition in this country.[2]

 

Furthermore, we should not forget that this case of arson, as well as all the other incidents of far-right violence, took place a few months after the official statement of the Greek state’s representatives in the UN that “there are no organized racist groups in Greece”.[3] The truth is that not only do “groups” of this kind exist but they have done so for a long time and  have developed into political parties who, with their own representatives within state institutions, request the trust of Greek voters.. At the same time that as they participate in democratic institutions and wear their politically-correct disguise, they continue nonetheless attacking and threatening and to entwine themselves with police brutality, arbitrariness and suppression. The statement, therefore, about the “non-existence of Greek racist groups” is simply a concealment of the criminal apathy of the Greek state regarding the keeping of its agreements against racism to which it has—supposedly—committed itself.

 

A few years ago we had expressed our support for the trial against Kostas Plevris (a founding father of the Greek fascist scene), when he published his latest book which is full of anti-Semitic hatred, worship for the Third Reich and exhortations for the re-opening of Auswitch (an ‘a la Greque’ mixture of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ with Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’). After the provocative exoneration of Plevris resulting from a trial-parody (where the district attorney fully identified with the neo-Nazi’s claim that being Jewish equals being a criminal), the Greek judiciary ‘continues its job’ by judicially persecuting those who testified for the prosecution under the pretence that they “caused worry to the citizens”.[4] This is a farce, but a farce of the worst kind, since the average Greek citizen was at best indifferent to this trial or never even heard about it.[5] It suits the politically-correct disguise that we mentioned before, though…

 

We want to unreservedly express our unconditional and full solidarity with the three members of the Anti-Nazi Initiative (Antinazistiki Protovoulia) that are being persecuted only because they “dared” to confront the neo-Nazi barbarism and support the Greek Jews when the latter were threatened by the local scum that feels nostalgic about the “Final Solution”. The attack against the synagogue of Chania simply reminds us how meaningful it still is to fight against fascism in this country. Additionally, we declare that we will do the best we can to expose the decay of Greek judiciary. We invite those that still preserve antifascist sensitivities to act in a similar way.

 

 

Terminal 119

For the social and individual autonomy

13/1/2010

POSTSCRIPT: Unfortunately, the criminal silence of the Greek state and the local society in Chania about the anti-Semitic attack, welcomed the neo-Nazis to accomplish a second, even more ‘successful’ attack against the synagogue on the 15th of January. This time another, better-planned, arson attack took place against the synagogue. A big part of its archive with centuries-old valuable material was reduced to ashes.[6] It seems that the forces that want to eradicate the Jewish presence in Greece (and its memory) are growing and are well backed by the asylum that is provided to them by the society and the institutions. It also seems that Chania is the place where the heart of the neo-Nazi beast is beating the hardest at this time. In our view, the efforts by people like the members of the Anti-Nazi Initiative are becoming increasingly essential and we believe that any action against them as well as any silence over the intensification of the neo-Nazi presence is effectively an open invitation for fascism, racism and anti-Semitism.


[1] A clear proof of the anti-Semitic character of the attack is the fact that the arsonists also threw a bar of soap into the building (a gesture they assumed to be self-evident!). We should add that the Jewish community had been the target of attacks by local institutions a few years previous, when the re-running of the synagogue was decided (the attacks came from a part of the Left and the environment of the local church that threatened  “spontaneous”—see “fascist”—mobilizations). Something indicative of the stance of the local community towards the synagogue is the fact that those who informed the Jewish community and the fire department about the fire were an Albanian and a Moroccan immigrant. If we remember that those who prevented an attack against the Synagogue of Larissa during a demonstration last year were also Albanian immigrants, we feel obliged to say that we ‘support’ the fascist slogan “Albanian, you’ll never become Greek” because it seems that the immigrants, through their refusal of a “Greek-style” assimilation, have  demonstrated their greater humanity  in their constant defense of Jewish people when they are being targeted both by the radical left and the radical right. http://abravanel.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/arson_in_chania_synagogue/.

[2] A detailed research about far-right violence in Greece during 2009 revealed that there were more than 40 serious (even life-threatening) attacks against immigrants, minorities, students, leftists and anarchists. See http://iospress.gr/ios2010/ios20100103.htm (link in Greek).

[3] See ‘Reply of the Greek Government to the questions by the Rapporteur in connection with the consideration of the sixteenth to nineteenth periodic reports of Greece-August 2009’, page 6: http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/index.php?sec=194&cid=3504.

[5] Of course, even if people had heard about it, or were not indifferent, even if they were worried, it would still be a farce/ridiculous of the worst kind, because it is implicitly suggesting that one should turn a blind eye to racist violence. Thus the farce of this trial leads to tragic consequences for some, to the destruction and violence of lives, culture, dignity and self respect, consequences that are seen unworthy of a court’s attention because it may “worry” some to address this issue.  Surely as citizens who have in fact heard of this trial, we would like to express our ‘worry’ about such a trial for all together different reasons. The lack of due process has led to a tragic reality outside the court, and it is this that makes this trial a farce of the most serious, ‘worrying’ and worst kind.

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