William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Right-Wing Extremists’ Popularity Rising Rapidly in Greece

ATHENS — The video, which went viral in Greece last month, shows about 40 burly men, led by Giorgos Germenis, a lawmaker with the right-wing Golden Dawn party, marching through a night market in the town of Rafina demanding that dark-skinned merchants show permits.

Some do, and they are left alone. But the action quickly picks up, as the men, wearing black T-shirts with the party’s name, destroy a stall with clubs and scatter the merchandise. “We saw a few illegal immigrants selling their wares,” Mr. Germenis says in the video. “We did what Golden Dawn has to do. And now we’re going to church to pay our respects to the Madonna.”

Just a few months ago, the name Golden Dawn was something to be whispered in Greece.

But three months after the extremist right-wing group won an electoral foothold in Parliament, talk of Golden Dawn seems to be on everybody’s lips.
Read the rest here.

8 comments:

Paul said...

“We saw a few illegal immigrants selling their wares,” Mr. Germenis says in the video. “We did what Golden Dawn has to do. And now we’re going to church to pay our respects to the Madonna.”

Madonna? Do Greeks commonly use Italian titles for the Mother of God?

In any case, I wish I hadn't read this so soon after breakfast: I feel nauseated now.

Paul said...

In fact, the more I think about this, the more I wonder if it is not a crude attempt at linking the Church to fascism.

Maybe I had too much paranoia on my cornflakes this morning.

Jason said...

Well, there's probably a good reason they share their party name with a certain hermetic order.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

In fact, the more I think about this, the more I wonder if it is not a crude attempt at linking the Church to fascism.

The history of Orthodoxy is of national Churches in their people's geographic redoubts. It's a little late to start complaining.

Paul said...

Sorry, I don't quite make the connection between my observation and yours (but it's late, and I've had a very long day).

Little help?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

The Orthodox Churches arose in traditional nation-states of ethnically distinct peoples. To the Greek, his Church, his State, his country are all part of his distinctive ethnic and cultural expression. Same for the Serbians, the Russians and the Romanians. The history and ecclesiology of Orthodoxy is that of the Churches of the distinct nations (i.e., peoples) and territoriality, unlike the universalist claims of Rome and the Protestants.

So as I say, when US Orthodox tsk tsk about Greek Orthodox nationalism, they are overlooking much about their own nominal Church. Phyletism is condemned, patriotism is not.

This tends to underscore why Orthodoxy is so completely alien to US political and social culture.

Phil said...

Anti-Gnostic,

I think there's a core of truth in what you say, but you may be taking the implications too far. It does seem that a classical Orthodox understanding - this would be the concept of symphonia - is that Church, society, and government are deeply interwoven. But this is not comparable, or properly set in opposition to, the "universalist claims" of Rome. Orthodoxy also makes "universalist claims," but under a different concept of ecclesiology. The question to ask is, does the Greek consider himself to hold the same Faith and belong to the same Church as the Russian or Serb? And I think the answer is "yes."

Having grown up in a heavily Catholic part of the country, I can also say from experience that nationalism, while expressed differently, is no stranger to Roman Catholicism.

Even so, you may be right in your last sentence; there's a lot to explore there. But, inasmuch as American Orthodoxy is not actively (so far as I've seen) proposing a model of symphonia to either the unchurched or its own faithful, I think a bigger part of the answer is that Orthodoxy makes (at least theoretically) an all-consuming claim on the believer's life that modern Americans simply will not tolerate.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Phil:

American society is not "set up" for Orthodox practice, just like it's not set up for, e.g., the Amish or the Hasidim. These latter groups have responded by building their own settlements and townships as an aid to the practice of their faith.

Pious Orthodox practice is not impossible in secular American society but very difficult for most of us. If we adhered strictly to the daily prayers, fasts and Church services, our behaviors if not necessarily our appearance would be as distinctive as Hasidic Jews or observant Sunnis. As you say, this is simply unthinkable to secular, protestantized Americans.

Getting back to the original point, a Greek in his people's native land who retaliates against illegal immigrants and then goes to reverence the Theotokos in his people's Church has a lot of context if not necessarily justification for his actions. Of course, the typical American reading about such things has to avail himself of smelling salts.