Dateline’s one-hour SBS program entitled, Rise of the Neo-Nazis, aired on May 21, aimed at finding reasons for the growing popularity of a party that is anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, ultra-religious and jingoistic.
Reporter Evan Williams said, “The rise of Golden Dawn, a party which openly supports anti-Semitism and racism and is associated with violent attacks against immigrants, demonstrates the tragic consequences of the economic enslavement of a once proud people.”
In the beginning of the broadcast, Dateline referred to Golden Dawn’s actions to gain public support, such as the “only for Greeks” free food distribution, where people have to show their ID to prove they are Greek. The party also offers its assistance to citizens that call for help to deal with a petty theft or an attack, or other incidents that have to do with immigrants. Golden Dawn organizes blood donations also “for Greeks only” and raids in outdoor street markets and hospitals to detect illegal immigrants in order to lead them to deportation.”
Golden Dawn deputy commander, Ilias Panagiotaros told Dateline: “Golden Dawn aspires to emerge as the corresponding in Greece of Hezbollah of Lebanon and as a second government for the benefit of Greek citizens.” “The party’s actions come to fill significant shortfalls due to the general collapse of all institutions in Greece.”
Reporter Evan Williams stressed that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has observer in Greece ” who recorded the sharp increase in violent attacks on immigrants, illegal or not, with an increasing intensity and severity of injuries resulting in some cases even to death, while fear is systematically cultivated “.
The reasons for Golden Dawn’s rise are investigated along with its growing popularity among Greek citizens. “The inadequacy and failure of the political parties in Greece and the economic impoverishment are the main factors that led to intense feelings of rage, disappointment and revenge towards the political system as well as wish of alternative solutions, especially for the young people, who have no hope for the future,” Panagiotaros said.
Immigrants say they are targeted by Golden Dawn as easy scapegoats for the economic crisis. Panagiotaros told Dateline: “The life of the Greeks has changed drastically. More than two million illegal immigrants in a population of ten million people – which is an enormous number – they literally do whatever they want and they remain unpunished”.
Dateline also underlined the “denunciation of Golden Dawn’s ideology and practices by journalists, representatives of anti-racist associations, intellectuals and public officials in Greece through public statements”.
Regarding Golden Dawn’s plans to open offices in Australia and opposition from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Panagiotaros said: “We could tell Julia Gillard to look back a couple hundred years to see what they did to the Aboriginals, and not lecturing us about racism and rights. You’ll see us in Australia – summer or a bit later, but you’ll definitely find us there.”