THE PROBLEM IS THE GREEK GOVERNMENT, NOT ONLY GOLDEN DAWN

A torrent of world-wide publicity has followed the murder of leftist musician Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias, two nights ago. In Greece, understandably, the discussion is even more tense. But what is missing in this discussion -partly obscured by the horrific, if murderously delayed, realization that this gang of thugs is out of control, and partly purposefully concealed by the mainstream media- is that there is a very profound sense in which Golden Dawn is not “the problem”; the problem is rather this perverse coalition of “socialist modernizers” and far-right nationalists, who are governing Greece ostensibly to safeguard its “European perspective”. Next to the thugs themselves, it is the Greek government who must bear the full responsibility not only for Golden Dawn and its crimes, but also for the fact that a brutal, racist, totalitarian agenda now forms a significant part of the Greek state’s attitude towards democracy and its institutions.

It is not Golden Dawn who created concentration camps for immigrants. Centre-left and centre-right politicians did that. Concentration camps for immigrants, drug users and homeless people were first talked about in pre-Olympic Greece, in 2004, with the purpose of “improving” the image of the streets of Athens. The Olympics were planned by the centre-left government of Kostas Simitis and took place during the centre-right government of Kostas Karamanlis. The first concentration camp was to be constructed in the old NATO army base, in Aspropyrgos. The plan never materialized due to the reaction by NGOs and left-wing parties. It was discussed again when Christos Markogiannakis took over the Ministry of Public Order, in 2009, but again was not put into practice. The one who finally gave life to the idea that a modern democracy should imprison immigrants without due process or trial in containers fenced off with barbed wire was Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis, a “socialist” with centre-left PASOK, currently Minister of Transport in our coalition government. The creation of concentration camps was hailed as a major breakthrough by Andreas Loverdos, Minister of Public Health at the time, another “socialist”. And the practice came into full bloom under the direction of current Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias, an MP for New Democracy, a self-described “liberal”.

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RUINS: CHRONICLE OF AN HIV WITCH-HUNT

“Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV Witch-Hunt” is a documentary about the criminalization of HIV. Directed by Zoe Mavroudi, it tells the story of a group of HIV-positive women who were detained by the Greek Police, forcibly tested, charged with a felony, imprisoned and publicly exposed, when their mug shots and personal data were published in the media, in the run-up to the country’s 2012 national elections.

“Ruins” premieres in the Benaki Museum – Peiraios Street Annex, Athens, on Sunday September 15th, 7pm, and the Aula Maxima, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, on Tuesday September 17th, 7pm. Both screenings will be followed by a discussion with the film director. Screenings are open to the public and entrance is free. After a round of public screenings in Greece and abroad, “Ruins” will become available online.

Visit the “Ruins” website for more information and related material.

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