By Eirene, A Place Called Space

Antonis Samaras, the Greek PM, expressed his fears about Greece’s future in an inverview to the German daily, Handelsblatt. He stressed the fragile political and social situation in Greece and likened it to Germany’s Weimar Who exactly was he warning, and who does he think will deal with the situation? He is Prime Minister, the head of the government, and governments are elected to govern, to make decisions and then implement them. What exactly has Mr Samaras, as head of the government done to deal with the rise of the neo-Nazis so that the country does not ‘descend into chaos’?

Hate crimes which are racially motivated have been intensifying all over Greece in the last months to such an extent that they have become a daily occurrence. Gangs on motorbikes attack people at night and sometimes in broad daylight. These attacks are spearheaded by the neo-Nazi group who maintain that their aim is to ‘cleanse’ the public space. What has Mr Samaras done to stop these attacks?

Gangs of black clad motorcyclists are terrorising the towns on the Northern borders of Greece looking for illegal immigrants and beating up anyone whose colour does not match their idea of what an ‘ideal Greek’ looks like. The Muslim minorities in some of these towns, where Muslims and Orthodox Greeks have coexisted for years, have been attacked by the same gangs.  What has Mr Samaras done to ensure that all citizens are treated equally?

What did Mr Samaras do when immigrants kept in detention centres were attacked by the neo-Nazis? What did he do when non-white vendors had their stalls pulled apart and their merchandise smashed? What parliamentary action did he instigate against the neo-Nazi MPs who took part in these attacks? Was he not worried about the challenge to democracy then? Did he not feel, that, as the head of the government, it was his responsibility to ensure that the law was obeyed and enforced?

Victims of these attacks have reported that the police are discouraging them from filing complaints and some have even been warned that they would be detained if they insisted on an investigation. As head of state, what has Mr Samaras done to ensure that the police are doing their job? What has he done to ensure that all are treated equally under the law? Surely this is what the democracy that he is so worried about, means.

No prosecutor seems to be looking into any of the allegations of racial abuse.  Up to date not one single perpetrator of a racist attack has been convicted. What has Mr Samaras done to ensure that the legal arm of the state is working effectively, guaranteing that democracy is working?

Finally, we must not forget that it is Mr Saramas’  government that has introduced the Xenios Zeus operation aimed at arresting and detaining illegal immigrants of Asian and African origin, transporting them to makeshift detention centres where they are detained in appalling conditions. It is Mr Samaras’ government that is driving a wedge in the middle of Greek society, dividing its citizens and creating scapegoats that are indeed reminiscent of the Weimar Republic.