The current issue of The Nation just arrived in the mail, and I was appalled to read an article on the overwhelming rejection by Europe of the proposed austerity measures. The appalled part came when I read what’s recently happened in Greece.
Greece, for anyone not familiar with World War II history, was virtually crushed under the Nazi heel. The people were starved and beaten into submission, and it was one of the Germans’ less benign occupations.
Now comes word that in the recent elections, Greece “became the first European country occupied during World War II to elect neo-Nazis – twenty-one members of the racist Golden Dawn party – to its Parliament. Their leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, dedicated his victory to ‘the brave boys in the black shirts’. ‘Those who slander us’, he barked, ‘those who betray the fatherland should be afraid: we’re coming’.”
Golden Dawn apparently won votes throughout much of Greece, even in districts that experienced massacres during the Nazi era. More frightening yet is that much of this support was garnered from among young people – roughly one in ten who voted went far right.
Wow – Europe is beginning to look and sound much as it did in the early 1930’s, and that’s very worrisome. Turns out that Santayana may yet be proved right: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”.