Black Panthers against Greek nazis


This 8 June 2012 AFP video says about itself:

Athens prosecutors have ordered the arrest of a deputy from Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after he punched a female communist MP during a live TV debate.

After Black Panthers in the USA, and in Israel, now in Greece.

From Channel 4 News in Greece:

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece

The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.

Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers. They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks.

Since the economic crisis tore Greece apart, people have been trying to find someone to blame. Some blame immigrants for the high unemployment and crime. Racist attacks against immigrants have been rising steadily. In the last year alone, more than 150 racist attacks were recorded by police, but most go unreported.

Greece is a gateway to Europe and many immigrants travel there as an entry point in the hope of reaching the richer nations on the continent.

Newly arrived immigrants, who do not speak the language or have proper documentation, live in fear. But Michael and his friends are taking on the extremists.

‘We will exterminate them’

“I’m not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group,” he told me. “In WW2, they were crushed. In WW3, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.

“I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them (Golden Dawn) a straight warning – don’t mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it.”

Members of the Black Panthers rescue each other if one is attacked. Using mobile phones with instant messaging and social media, their response is swift. “It has turned our lives better, at least in our neighbourhood,” Michael told me.

Michael arrived in Greece from Kenya at eight months. Although he has lived there for 28 years, he is treated as a new immigrant. Police stop him on a regular basis to check his identification papers. So he has to carry a bag full of documents to prove that he is legal in the country.

Racist, anti-semitic, violent - the true face of Golden Dawn - watch Konstantinos Georgousis' film.

For immigrants, the situation in Greece is worsening. They accuse the Greek police of harassment. I joined one of the many police patrols as they rounded up immigrants.

We came across drug users but the police did not bother to chase them after they ran away, but carried on arresting immigrants, which seemed a more important job than dealing with drug users. Thousands of immigrants are languishing in detention centres.

‘Get respect’

Growing up in Greece, as the only black child in his school, he had to fight every day to “get respect” from fellow pupils. He took up martial arts at the age of seven and has been doing it since then. That gave him the confidence to confront people like Golden Dawn members.

One of his latest encounters happened while he was on a bus in the city. Two men with “a neo-Nazi look” entered the bus. Some of the passengers were signalling to Michael, telling him to “leave, run or get down”, but he defied it. One of the techniques he learnt in his martial arts lessons was that “when you see a danger, you don’t wait, you go for it and push out”.

Although the fight inside the bus was “really hard”, Michael left the scene with minor injuries. He said: “It is not the first time and certainly not the last time … if you need respect, you must earn it”.

‘Cannibals’

A day later, on live television, he challenged the Golden Dawn leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, who thinks Africans are cannibals. In the television debate, Michaloliakos said: “The pygmies are boiled and eaten by other blacks in Africa … and they’re considered special too.”

But when Michael asked him whether he had ever been to Africa to witness that, the far-right leader replied: “No, I only read about it in newspapers, I know what I’ve read in newspapers.” Consequently, the Golden Dawn media wing made a video mocking Michael.

Michael says it is unfortunate to be a “stranger in your own land”. Greece, where he spent all his life, is the only place he knows. But as a father, it is no longer about him. He does not want his children to experience the same abuses he has. So he wants to raise them in Kenya, where they will not be treated as foreigners.

Over the last week, tensions have risen in the Greek government over draft legislation against racist incitement and state financing of the fascist party Golden Dawn. While the conservative main government party New Democracy (ND) refused to support the law, its coalition partners, the social democratic PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), are supporting it: here.

The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, today expressed disappointment with Greece for its continued failure to adopt new legislation to combat hate speech, racism and the denial of the Holocaust. “It is very worrying that the mainstream parties in Athens are apparently unable to find a compromise on this important matter. Hate mongers and extremists such as the leaders of Golden Dawn are not only a threat to minorities such as the Jews; they are a threat to democracy as a whole. Hence, they ought to be fought vigorously by all democratic forces, and with the full force of the law,” Lauder declared: here.

Amid growing political anger over a rising number of incidents involving Golden Dawn MPs and firearms, the police have said that the licences of politicians who hold gun permits will be reviewed: here.

The 2nd annual Thessaloniki pride this year will take place on June 14th – 15th. The Pride like last year is sponsored by the municipality of the city and the major Giannis Boutaris. Last year neo-nazis and Christian fundamentalists unsuccessfully tried to protest against the right of LGBT community to organize the pride in the city after a call of Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos: here.

14 thoughts on “Black Panthers against Greek nazis

  1. Pingback: Shine On Award, thanks Tazein and Anil! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  4. It’s very sad seeing European people looking for a way out of the crisis turning to the right. On the other hand, the radical leftist party Syriza was touring South America looking for a progresive way out. The catch is: people doesn’t turn to the left until after the economy and the political system reach the bottom and lay down in pieces.

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    • It is sad indeed to see people turn to the nazi extreme right. In the case of Greece (also in some other countries, like Hungary), the so-called “moderate” right, New Democracy in government, contributes to this; in Greece, by the government’s police witch hunt against “aliens”, cynically called “Zeus Xenios”.

      The economic crisis indeed brought indeed not only more votes for Golden Dawn, but for Syriza as well.

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