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Op-Ed: Greek bashing by international media distorts the truth

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 4, 2012 in Politics
As the international press focus on the crisis in Greece there is a daily litany of Greek bashing that tells only half truths.
The latest piece of daily mud slinging against Greece is carried in the Guardian which decries the nationally elected political party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi) as a "criminal gang" that "isn't a political party." Whilst the Guardian may not approve of the far-right party it is a legitimate political party which garnered 6.92 percent of the vote in the June elections and has since seen its support base increase to 8.6 percent.
The Guardian is perfectly free to criticize the party but whilst doing so it prints erroneous findings. They write that Golden Dawn MP's "seem comfortable enough taking advantage of the privileges Greek MPs enjoy, including immunity from prosecution" and then cite the case of Ilias Kasidiaris who was due to stand trial on Sept 3., but did not, due to parliamentary immunity.
The Guardian writes Kasidiaris "used his parliamentary privilege to have it postponed." If they had bothered to check their facts this can be seen as a blatant error. As Digital Journal reported Ilias Kasidiaris applied on July 12 to have his parliamentary immunity from prosecution lifted, so he could stand trial. Unlike the bunch of long-serving politicians who introduced the law of immunity to protect their own shady dealings, the Golden Dawn MP applied to have this immunity waived. As for the allegation that the parties MPs take advantage of privileges, the facts show they have objected to parliamentary salaries and the excess benefits bestowed on politicians.
The Guardian goes on to state that Golden Dawn advocates racist violence, a claim they vehemently deny. Increasing attacks perpetrated against migrants in Greece are portrayed in the press as examples of xenophobic violence: however when the perpetrators are later apprehended and have no links at all to the party the press fails to report this. In August an attack against an Indian immigrant was branded racist thuggery. Today Xryshaygh reported that police have apprehended those responsible. The criminal attackers were five fellow Indians.
Chrysi Avgi continually raise the issue that foreign media report on racist attacks, thus creating a negative image of Greece. As Digital Journal reported many of these reported attacks arose from violent quarrels within ethnic groups and had nothing to do with Greeks or Golden Dawn. Yet still the negative images persist.
What the mainstream media continually ignore as they promote the image of racist Greeks attacking foreigners, is the Greek victims of racist violence. There are daily accounts in the Greek press of illegal immigrants robbing, raping and attacking Greeks, yet these gleam not a single mention in the press. As Greeks become increasing frightened of the crime wave engulfing their country and turning former Greek neighbourhoods into no-go ghettos, there is support for the current government operation to round up and arrest illegal immigrants. This is a response to the crime wave, and not evidence that Greeks are racist.
If the real situation on Greece is to be reported on then the international press would appear less one-sided in their accounts if the full picture was presented. Where are the reports of Greek pensioners being attacked in their own homes by Albanian robbers and Greek children raped by illegal immigrants? The reality of the escalating crime wave means that many Greeks are beginning to support Golden Dawn because they perceive they are acting in national interests. The image presented abroad of neo-Nazi thugs is not borne out by the reality.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Areopoli, Chrysi Avgi, Greece, Political party
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