AHEPA voices concern over rise of ultra-nationalism in Greece

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the largest Greek-American association worldwide, on Tuesday issued a statement expressing its concern regarding the rise of extreme nationalism in Greece.

Published on the Greek-language website of international broadcaster Voice of America, the statement, signed by AHEPA Supreme President John Grossomanides, also criticized the recent opening in New York of a branch of the Greek neo-Nazi party Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), members of which has been linked to a number of racially-motivated attacks against dark-skinned migrants in Greece over recent months.

«AHEPA, which was founded 90 years ago in the US in order to protect Greek migrants from racism and discrimination, is gravely concerned by the rise of extreme nationalism in Greece, as reported by the Greek media in recent months,» the statement said, further citing criticism by the United Nations’ human rights chief Navi Pillay of Greek authorities for failing to take stronger action against the recent attacks against migrants.

Grossomanides went on to slam the recent opening in New York of a Golden Dawn branch, saying «fascism has no place in the United States,» adding that many members of the Greek-American community and of AHEPA in particular fought and sacrificed their lives against the Nazi occupation of Greece.

«We understand the difficult times Greece and its citizens are going through because of the austerity measures and reforms that are being implemented,» the statement said. «However, extremism and extreme behavior are not a solution. Greece does not need this right now, especially when it is asking for the help of the international community and when society needs to stick together to face what may be one of the worst challenges of its recent history.»

Grossomanides said that racially-motivated attacks against migrants are «unacceptable and concern us deeply as a community and as members of AHEPA.»

«They are similar to those faced by our ancestors when they came to the US, almost a century ago,» the statement added.

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