Monday, September 10, 2007

A tale of two racists

In March 1996, a new politician entered the Australian political scene, her name, Pauline Hanson. Her entry into Federal politics shook the political landscape and she quickly became a person to be reviled for her racist attitudes. She declared that Australia was in danger of being "Swamped by Asians", Aboriginals who suffer from extreme poverty and tragic health problems (Australia a first world country - receives assistance from UN bureaus as if it were a third world country to deal with these conditions), also came under attack from her.
People quickly divided into those who hated her and those who loved her.

For me, her appearance was a welcome one. For years politicians from both sides of the fence would allude similar comments, nothing as overt as Pauline, but still racist. Now for the first time I could say "YOU'RE ALL LIARS, Racism exists and here is the proof." Unfortunately the discussion about racism revolved around her, so when she lost her political seat, everyone showed it as proof that Australians weren't racist.

The truth is more complex. The governing Liberal party quietly adopted most of her policies and actually implemented them. When destitute refugees tried to enter Australia, the Prime Minister John Howard actually said that the refugees were drowning their children to get sympathy so they could enter Australia. He halted the policy of engagement with Asia, which only now is changing thanks to the economic boom of China. But he still sees Australia as the White Western civilised force in Asia. As a result we saw the recent race riots in Sydney and anyone 'foreign' looking, especially middle eastern looking is in danger of being beaten up, being abused in school or the workplace.

Now in Greece I am seeing a repetition. Karatzaferis of the LAOS party looks like he will enter parliament. LAOS is based on racist attitudes, though they are not automatically self evident. To the public he will announce "It is shameful the way Greece treats refugees, they should be treated with more dignity and services need to be put into place to assist them". Now if that's all I heard, I would vote for him. Tune in however to his television channel where he talks to the faithful and he adds something else. "Since we can't treat them with dignity, we can't accept them into the country, let's do what the Netherlands is doing and discuss a cap on immigration"
Listen a bit more and one realises a bigger truth. During the live debate he quoted the Greek Foreign Affairs minister Dora Bakoyianni when she said that the fires were caused by foreigners who do not love Greece. Karatzaferis added, "If this is true then steps need to be taken".

Yes he is a racist, but one person is not the embodiment of all racism. Other people have sown the seeds and extreme racists are just following the logical path that others set. Dora's comments were just as racist, but because she does not belong to LAOS, an 'extreme' right wing party, she can make these comments without scrutiny. Other racist elements also exist in the governing New Democracy party of Greece. The Nomarch of Thessaloniki, Mr Psomiadis, (do I have to give more publicity to this clown?) made a huge issue of the fact that children whose background were not Greek were holding the Greek flag during school parades. He and the rest of the ND party also criticised PASOK for having a Greek-Turkish Muslim on their ballot during the last local elections.

Greece should use LAOS for its own benefit. Now is the time to analyse racism in ALL its forms, and should not do what Australia did and label just one person as racist. Because the fact that extreme racists exist - means that 'moderate' racists have been gaining ground. And isn't moderate racists a stupid word. Racism is racism, there is no Extreme racism - that's only the word used by racists who want to look more civilised, but there is nothing civilised about any of this.

7 comments:

John said...

Another excellent post from my personal favorite writer (you all guys rock, but Vassilis is my favorite ;-). Well I didn't heard Dora's comments, although I believe that Karatzaferis is trying to present his party as a center-based party and change the bad-old conservative/racist heritage of it. Of course, we all know that he still believes in quote "Pas Me Ellen Varvaros" which means "Any non-Greek is a barbarian", but since the fundamental attitude didn't help him get into the Greek parliament in previous elections, he is trying now to change the look of his party... That's the whole story of him. Now let's see who's is going to believe him and vote him...

Vassili said...

Thats true, and thats why mentioned that when i heard his first sentence "Better rights for migrants" i would vote for him. But to find out the whole truth one really has to dig deeper. He is in favour of gay rights and marriages he says that since we are in the EU we have to follow their rules. However (he adds to his audience) if you are not in favour of it, the will of the people will have spoken and we can change things.
He is very slippery

Hans said...

Looks like ultra nationalism is on the rise everywhere, a dangerous development.
John, you don't have your profile enabled...on purpose?
regards

Sean Jeating said...

Chapeau.

Indeed, we are living in interesting times.

Hans said...

My compliments Vassilli for his interesting article.
Rgards

cant believe ppl like you still exist said...

what an abomination of an "article". LAOS is hardly right-wing...
it's just a populist party that wants the conservation of national identity. like the many parties that are on the rise in Europe (due to it being flood by immigrants). we are not coming from an empire like Turkey is and we never imperialized the world like the Brits did. so get your facts right.

turkey has the islamic party governing with the deep-state terrorising millions of people, killing every day, intimidating non-muslims and the lot and you trashtalk about LAOS? a European party, part of Independence/Democracy Group in the European parliament?...

are you people Europeans?
you just are submissive "anti-racist" pseudo-hippies who have made Europe a Pakistan so you can feel better about yourselves when you see all these immigrants around you.

gladly Europeans are sick of you and your "racist" lollipops, your nazi fears and your disgusting political correctness. and they are waking up from the "trendy" sleep you're in.

hope you wake up too one day.

sorry i meant this site said...

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