Target: Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece
Goal: Demand that the Greek state prevent the recurrence of xenophobic violence by apprehending groups and individuals who have made it their mission to hurt foreigners and left-leaning activists.
Greece has recently had to contend with an outbreak of xenophobic and ideology-based violence brought about by a well-organized neo-Nazi movement. Immigrants and those who have spoken out against racism in Greece have been subjected to a spate of attacks. Pavlos Fysas, a rapper whose songs contained anti-racist messages, has been stabbed to death; members of KKE, the Greek communist party, were attacked and hospitalized. This violence has created an unsafe atmosphere in a country where foreigners or anyone who adheres to a left-leaning ideology that denounces xenophobia can expect to be brutally attacked on the streets or in their homes. That is why the Greek government should make a commitment to protect their safety by taking proactive measures to break up networks of right-wing activists who meet with the express purpose of spreading views that incite violence or planning attacks on the targets of their hatred.
(Note: Banning the party that spreads the neo-Nazi message is not the solution to the problem. Regardless of whether or not Golden Dawn is allowed to participate in the Greek parliament, its supporters will continue to be active in private.)
The root of the view that foreigners deserve to be blamed for Greece’s problems is tied to the country’s economic crisis. The government has been reducing its spending on social services and employment in the state sector, while the job market has significantly suffered. Neo-Nazis have held immigrants responsible for these problems, seeing them as competitors for jobs and as a drain on the shrinking state budget; their attempts to exact retribution against these alleged “enemies” of the Greek nation have surpassed mere rhetoric and turned violent. The movement against foreigners – headed by the Golden Dawn party that openly draws on Nazi symbolism and ideology – has already claimed many victims.
The recent case of anti-racist rapper Pavlos Fysas being stabbed to death is not the first time Golden Dawn supporters have assaulted their enemies in broad daylight. There have already been thirty-two violent attacks by party members, who would at times knife immigrants, either wounding them or even killing them. On June 12th, a group of Golden Dawn supporters broke into the domicile of four Egyptian fishermen; one of them ended up hospitalized in critical condition after being severely beaten. Their hateful violence doesn’t only target immigrants but also adherents of opposing ideologies. Recently, about fifty Golden Dawn supporters armed with crowbars and bats descended on a group of Communist party members who were putting up posters advertising an upcoming youth festival, causing about seven injuries.
The neo-Nazis in Greece have a long track record of violence that only promises to continue to grow unless the Greek authorities take action to stop them. Sign this petition to urge the Greek government to arrest neo-Nazis who are making plans or encouraging others to attack immigrants and left-leaning activists.
Dear Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece
In the midst of an economic crisis, immigrants have become a convenient scapegoat for the country’s problems. Apparently, in the minds of neo-Nazis, a suffering job market and reduced government spending on employment and social services means that there’s less to go around for everyone, and that immigrants are stealing the resources that should be left to natives.
While the Greek economic crisis is certainly not the fault of immigrants, the ideological viewpoint that they are to blame and thus deserve punishment in the form of physical violence has already spread to a segment of the Greek population. This has produced a climate of instability in Greek society where the groups targeted by neo-Nazis, whether they are simply immigrants or members of organizations that support their rights, can no longer feel safe. They could be beaten, stabbed, or killed at any place or any time, whether in broad daylight on the streets, or in the privacy of their homes.
It is absolutely unacceptable that many Greeks have to live in fear of being assaulted. That is why your government should make a commitment to ensuring their safety. As the best way to prevent hateful violence is to eradicate it at its roots, authorities should identify and arrest right-wing activists who congregate to either promote or directly organize attacks aimed at immigrants and ideological enemies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michalis Famelis via Wikimedia Commons