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“The Sleepwalkers”

The assault made by a regional councillor against another one, a member of Laiki Syspeirosi - a minor opposition party- in the Regional Council of Attica, at its meeting on 11 May, was very telling. The reason why is because it reflects, as unfortunately reaffirmed in the Hellenic Parliament a few days later, a prevailing trend of fascistization of public life.

“Insults — harassment — physical violence”, this threefold scheme is rapidly growing in the public life of our country, as opposed to the Hegelian threefold dialectical scheme “position — opposition — composition”. Thus, rather than making efforts towards the second approach which promotes public dialogue, deepens Democracy and works for its citizens, we are henceforth faced with a prevailing communication “of the moment”, that seeks to create false appearances about a reality that, indeed, is far from cries and Manichean approaches.

We have thus entered a period of extremely hazardous relativization of all values, morals, policies and practices. The hazard lies in the fact that, in fine, in cases such as that in the Regional Council or in the Hellenic Parliament with an MP of Golden Dawn being the protagonist, a downward spiral ensues, not just ludicrous as some people try to put it, but quite ominous for Democracy.

In this context, the offender is put on the same footing as the victim, as various dark conspiracy theories are developed, and a sense that “they are all alike, liars, hypocrites” is diffused, while the Media are eager to reproduce these views, yet they maintain a position of equal distance, even with disguised courtesy, thus seeking to lessen the gravity of the violent incidents. 

The occurrence of the aforementioned events in the Regional Council of Attica and in the Hellenic Parliament must give us cause for concern and raise awareness about the indifference, the depreciation and the banalization of such incidents that are not isolated, especially since they open the door to a black past that seeks to return to the present. Such incidents do not only require “vigilance”. They require behavioural changes and initiatives from all sides of the democratic political spectrum, by all those who intervene in public discourse. For, there is no longer any excuse. The history of the 20th century teaches us that indifference and discreditation of politics cultivate fertile ground for snake eggs to hatch, over a multi-faceted violence – verbal as well as physical- as well as over the ambitions of certain people to use “black” as a tool for political advantage or party gain. They ignore -deliberately or not- that “black” is not neutral, but it leaves an indelible mark on society... In this context, the fact that New Democracy party interpreted the incident in the Hellenic Parliament as “yet another occasion for the Golden Dawn to make things easier for SYRIZA” is purely indicative of how dangerous blindness is.

In his trilogy “The Sleepwalkers”, a masterpiece and a prophetic work, Hermann Broch takes the gradual degeneration of values as his theme; it is about the German society shortly before the rise of Nazism... It is about every society that, as a sleepwalker, is left wandering around the extreme right – whether this last takes the form of a “patented” right-wing party or not…


Independent Office of International Affairs

Tel.: +30 213 2063 521, 529, 812, 668.
e-mail: oia@patt.gov.gr

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