Shortly before the court ruling in the Golden Dawn trial, I will not dwell on the legal aspects of the case, which are being analyzed by the experts. I will limit myself to the damage caused to Greece’s international image by the appearance and strengthening of the neo-Nazi movement in the form of a political party.
The truth is that there have always been many people in Greece who viewed Jews with skepticism – to put it as politely as one can. Unfortunately, conspiracies often find fertile ground. Some have tried in vain to explain that the disproportionate number of people of the Jewish faith in prominent positions was a result of their education, skills, effort and human support of others who shared the same faith. Something for which, not only do they have no reason to “apologize,” but, on the contrary, it is something that one should not only show respect for but also try to emulate. After all, it makes sense for this to happen with every nationality and faith, let alone that which over the centuries was persecuted more than any other.
The fact that GD’s approval ratings hovered steadily around 7% for a number of years was not just extremely annoying – it was shameful. However, it was mainly a result of the financial crisis. Many people abroad were reluctant to accept this argument. And yet it was true. Many Greeks were seduced by GD, which, in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, denounced the mainstream systemic parties which indeed bore responsibility for decades of mismanagement and corruption in a simplistic and populist way. Combined with the cynical help the party offered to some seniors, its demagogic anti-bailout narrative fell on receptive ears.
At the end, its electoral collapse was a welcome and extremely positive development. It is hoped that the court decision will sound the death knell for its operation.
An extremist organization that offends democracy has no place in the country that gave birth to it. A Nazi organization cannot resonate with a people who experienced such a painful and bloody occupation in WWII. And of course it does not belong in the Greek Parliament or in the political landscape in general.
Golden Dawn’s presence hurt the image of Greece. But in the end, the Greek people in the most democratic way, through the ballot box and the operation of their institutions, deprived it of its political legitimacy and constitutional protection stemming from its participation in the democratic process.
Now, Greek society and the international community’s attention is turned to the judicial procedure. The verdict for Golden Dawn will be of historical significance for Greece, with implications beyond the country’s borders, for Europe and the world.