A deep current surfaces

A deep current surfaces

Undetected by our political radar, the meteorite “Democratic Patriotic Movement Victory” crashed onto Parliament’s doorstep in Sunday’s elections. And even then, it was as if no one could believe what the charts were showing in TV panel discussions. There was hardly any mention of the newly established party. And yet, despite the May 21 surprise, self-proclaimed “Victory” (“Nike/Niki” in Greek) has deep roots in our society. From before the formation of the Greek state, from the apocalyptic “prophecies” which heralded the freedom of the enslaved Greeks and the restoration of the Byzantine Empire with the help of the Russians.

From the time of our first king, Otto, a powerful subterranean current of messianism has flowed through society, feeding off condemnation of the enemies of Orthodoxy and of the nation (other religions, the Enlightenment, Turks, “Franks,” and others). At times it even attacked the Church, when, according to its critics, it did not show the appropriate vigor in fighting for faith and nation. In his first statements after the elections (on Mega Channel), the leader of Niki, Dimitris Natsios, referred to Giannis Makrygiannis, one of the generals of the Greek Revolution and one of the “apocalyptic” figures that occasionally surface. Among these are the monks Kosmas Flamiatos and Christoforos Papoulakos, and, in the later 19th century, the theologian Apostolos Makrakis. All of them pressed for crusades against foreign influence, in support of Orthodoxy and Russia, championing the “pure” people against “corrupt” leadership. As Niki puts it today, “In the midst of the wretched decline of our Fatherland, only the great gangs of the political party regime are joyous and well-off.” In another modern twist to a tradition of suspicion and conspiracy theories, the new party is also strongly opposed to vaccinations. 

Without doubt, members of Niki’s leadership and supporters have the best intentions and are inspired by faith and respect for their religion, their homeland, their people’s traditions. In this broad, historic river, though, flourish all kinds of scoundrels, bigots and opportunists. Until now, these could be found across the political spectrum in several parties, affecting their policies accordingly. If Niki were to enter Parliament, it would yoke together myth and reality, past and present, in the light of the 21st century. If the party brings together all those who believe in its mission, the show will be spectacular.

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