Very funny or very serious? Unprecedented or obvious? Anti-democratic delirium or plain delirium? The despicable words uttered on Friday in the Greek Parliament by Golden Dawn lawmaker Constantinos Barbarousis, urging the military to carry out a coup in response to the Macedonia name deal, arresting the president of the republic, the prime minister and the defense minister, in order, as he said, “to avert this treason,” sparked political outrage.
A prosecutor ordered an investigation into whether the tirade launched by Barbarousis, who was in the meantime expelled from the neo-Nazi party, amounted to high treason.
The political system reacted in a united way, not only because it saw a first-class opportunity to isolate Golden Dawn in Parliament and make it suffer the institutional consequences of its discourse (the trial over the party’s criminal activities is still ongoing), but also because a party which is polling in third place has undisputed social influence.
It does not take much for the apologists of the “regime of the colonels” (you can still hear people say, “What we need now is a Papadopoulos,” a reference to Georgios Papadopoulos, who led the dictatorship) to feel that their time has come, as it were, with the Macedonia issue.
Psychological and intellectual turmoil, anger and ignorance don’t just elect MPs – they also cause unpredictable shocks. Division and out-of-boundaries confrontations, the lawless behavior that goes unpunished, the stunts and raids by anarchist and other groups undermine the government’s democratic safeguards. And there always comes a time to vent social frustration.
The filters are becoming dangerously transparent and increasingly less durable. They cannot restrain behavior, the populist insults, the vulgarity of words and deeds.
The far-right deputy with the tousled flowing locks managed to galvanize the political system, for a while at least.
He prompted them to realize, amid the debate on the no-confidence motion in the government filed by the conservative opposition New Democracy party, that the line of democratic defense needs to be constantly upheld.
If there is something missing at this time of instability and extremism, it is a powerful, daring and yet sensitive voice which can rise above the mediocrity of platitudes, of moralism of good and evil. What’s missing is a Manos Hadjidakis.
The great Greek composer died on June 15, 1994 – 24 years ago. He remains irreplaceable.