After the recent Washington Post article you may be wondering whether the Greek SOF are preparing a coup d’état. In one word, the answer is no. But let me explain to you what is indeed happening.

One of the casualties of the Greek civil war of the 1940s was the moderate and rational political thinking. From that point on, Greek society has been divided into leftists and rightists, both with absolutist ideas. The civil war was followed by two decades of political instability and, in 1967, the rise of the military junta. Democracy was reinstated in 1974 and the political spectrum shifted to the left. Anti-Americanism, anti-militarism and anti-patriotism became popular. Also, it was the time when the first terrorist organizations appeared, among them the infamous “17th November.”

During the 1990s, the inflow of money from the European Union created a virtual economic growth which made the political differences a little less relevant. At the time, the main conflict was about immigration. In that subject, again, two absolutist opinions dominated: one was “shoot them all at the borders,” the other “we are all brothers, let everybody in.” But even that was not that much of an issue. With the European money, even illegal immigrants could be (relatively) taken care of.

And then the bubble burst. Or, as you may have heard it, the economic crisis reached Greece. And all the differences, the irrationality, the fundamentalism, all resurfaced and reached its peak when the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, using populist rhetoric and a small face lift to appear as a patriotic party, managed to enter the parliament.

The Golden Dawn was founded in the 1980s, and had the support of a very small percentage of the Greek population. But the crisis and the habit of many to blame all the problems on foreigners, either immigrants or other states (USA, Germany, Israel, take your pick) boosted the parties that were eager to reassure that everything was the fault of someone else.

You may be wondering how all that lead to the aforementioned incident. For the year and three months that the Golden Dawn has been in the parliament, there have been multiple violent incidents, mainly against immigrants, that could not be linked legally to the organization (not that any serious investigation had been conducted…for reasons I can only speculate). That changed on September 18th, when, after a confrontation, a member of the party murdered a rap singer, Pavlos Fyssas, known locally for his humanitarian and anti-fascist ideology.

Greek SOF & Golden Dawn

The murder caused a general outrage and forced the political world to take action, and investigate further the activities of the Golden Dawn and any possible connection with the armed forces and the police. The investigation turned into a witch hunt, shaming the two forces and those serving in them honorably.