It was already Sunday morning in the polling station of the Municipality of Neapoli-Sykies, where I was appointed a returning officer, when the first petty political ‘news’ of the elections began to appear early in the morning over the phone or by word of mouth.
Namely, since approximately 10 a.m. the reality of our microcosm began to collide with the rumours coming from the outside world.
At first, we ‘heard’ about the Xirokrini episode: two people -according to the rumours- representatives of the “Golden Dawn”, fought with members of the returning board, then they tried in a rage to break the ballot-box and they finally disappeared.
We later heard about a man who stood outside a polling station in Zakinthos with a riffle and after shooting two times in tha air he disappeared in a helicopter, a speed boat or a race car (three different versions). And according to the rumour, this man too was a member of the “Golden Dawn”.
However, we suffered the greatest shock of all just before the end of the counting around 9 p.m. It was at that time when we were informed that, in the namesake area of Neapoli in Exarhia, fully armed men with hoods, members of the “Golden Dawn” as well, invaded in a polling station and after immobilizing the police force they burned the ballot-box along with the votes of all the citizens, who were registered in that station.
This terrorist attack attempted to manifest the power of “Golden Dawn” in a terror prevalent (here opposite of the police prevalent) area, the infamous area of Exarhia in Athens, where “a host of anarchic, insubordinate and reactionary elements” live, wander and have fun. The message which “Golden Dawn” wished to give via this action was: “Anarchists, antichrists and friends of the immigrands beware. We can go anywhere, even inside the Exarhia area”.
The consequent shivers of terror and awe gave way to spontaneous images of the “Night of Broken Glass” and the “Night of the Long Knives”, popping up in our minds just as we have watched them in films. Along with all this come the conspiracy theories, with a lot of unanswered questions, especially for all of us who being far away from Athens don’t have much clue about the Exarhia area. Were the police involved in this subterfuge? Why didn’t they arrest any member of the “Golden Dawn”? Why wasn’t anyone prosecuted? Why?
The cloud of dust of the misinformation buzz had to settle before we found out the ‘truth’. The two people in Xirokrini were arrested at once and despite the careful concealment by the media they seem indeed to be representatives of the “Golden Dawn”. I assume and hope that the customary instanter proceedings followed, although I don’t know any further details. In Zakinthos, the riffle shoots constituted a symbolic act of resistance by one individual against the Memorandums of Understanding. Finally, the letter of solidarity to Olga Oikonomidou, who is accused for participating in the “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei”, solved the greatest mystery of all: “We look in our past, in the last few years, our mighty struggles. How can the barriers and the fires of February 12th fit into the ballot-boxes?…In these borderline times where there is no room for hesitations, we attempt to do the impossible and make them ‘fit’. The 1000ml of gazoline we threw in the ballot-box of the 18th polling station in Exarhia during the elections of 17th June constitute our 1000 votes, our 1000 provocations in a war with no peace”. (ολόκληρη η επιστολή εδώ)
However, the most impressive event of all was nothing from the above. The most impressive and -in the end- frightening event was the realisation of the incredibly mythical proportions the “Golden Dawn” itself has reached in the minds of many of our harmless fellow-men. In other words, it seems that for plenty of people the “Golden Dawn” has been equated in their conscience with a legal political organisation, who notwithstanding is allowed to engage “in unlawful terrorist actions”.
So, it seems that the images of toned short-haired men in the T.V. who give the Nazi salute, shout ‘rise’ and slap women MBs, although they themselves are MPs (a very important detail which hasn’t been sufficiently analysed), don’t often correspond to reality, as I experienced it at least: apart from them, I also saw flabby children with funny faces who could actually be cartoon characters of funny villains in the Simpsons, who could be “taken care of in two seconds just for fun” by an ex-basketball player (not by a karate man).
Furthermore, the fear which has corrupted the souls of all for the future of our country, makes us inescapably overlook the ‘details’, such as the fact that the Hellenic Police Force has proved from time to time that it can do an excellent job when the government wants it and allows it.
Consequently, in case the “Golden Dawn” expands its violent actions against the legal, hard-working immigrants or proceeds to any other unlawful actions (as of course any other elected political or not, right-wing or left-wing group-organisation), nothing should exclude the concerted action by the Hellenic Police Force, since of course the suitable political will exists.
Consequently, the debunking of the myth is urgently sought, which will push us back from insecurity, fear and misinformation. Now though. Now.