“Let no more blood be spilled! Let no other mother lose her child. We have to fight this battle hand in hand. I cannot accept that a Greek could kill another Greek. I pray for all the victims and their mothers…” The distressed mother of Alexandros Gerontas, the third target of the cold blooded attack Nov. 3rd in Athens in front of the branch of Golden Dawn in Neo Iraklio, was trying to keep her cool.
She was speaking before the camera at the entrance of the hospital where her 29 year old son, father of a baby daughter, is in a comatose state and was undergoing a series of operations in order to survive. If he does not, he will be the third victim of a shocking drive-by attack in the center of this populous suburb of Athens.
Although the distressed mother preferred not to accept it fully, her son, as well as the two dead young men, were members of this far-right party, which won almost half a million votes during last year’s general elections, winning eighteen seats in Parliament. The attack, according to experts, lasted only a few seconds and the killer shot 12 bullets using a “clean” 9mm Zastava handgun i.e. not used in any previous action. Ballistic experts described the killing as a cold blooded “professional” attack often seen among international mafias. The attacker shot the victims in the chest and head and then returned to finish them off with a final shot. So far, such a method has not been used by local terrorists, experts, insist.
The execution of these two young men took place only weeks after another murder: the killing of the popular leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed to death, by a supporter of the Golden Dawn in another Athens suburb. The death of Fyssas caused a huge uproar and a crackdown on the party by Greek authorities. In an unusually swift move, the Greek prosecutors declared the party “a criminal organization,” sending its top leaders to jail pending trial and last week the Parliament overwhelmingly voted to suspend state funding for the Golden Dawn. Suddenly, this nationalist-fascist movement which never hid its pro-Nazi sympathies and managed to become the third most popular party in Greece and was seen as the “black sheep” of the political system. With its core leaders in jail and with most of its remaining deputies expected to be soon stripped of their parliamentary immunity and probably led to jail too, Golden Dawn was in danger of losing its voice. And although the party retains its third place in the polls, after the Fyssas murder, there is a marked trend showing an exodus of supporters.
The brutal killing of the two supporters of the Golden Dawn on a first reading gave strong enough reason for the party to appear again as the victim of the “corrupt political system which puts in prison the real fighters and patriots,” as one of its loudest deputies declared angrily at the site of the murder. But what is more interesting is the second part of his statement which puts the blame of the killing on the “leftists terrorists who were let loose” by the same corrupt political system. A statement which hints the leftist opposition of Syriza or other extra-parliamentary leftists groups, which lately have been demonized openly not only by the Golden Dawn but also by the members of the governing New Democracy party. The latest information from police sources, point to the Sect of Revolutionaries, as the culprit, a far-left terrorist group which appeared in 2009 and has claimed the lives of one police officer and a popular blogger. So, on a second reading, political violence in an already heavily polluted environment of economic austerity measures may frighten citizens not to seek refuge within the ranks of the Golden Dawn, but to support the coalition government. Or to put it in other words: “Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t”
All political parties with the exception of Golden Dawn are calling for calmness. The leftist parties are appealing to the people to take part in a rally this week, organized by the General Confederation of Workers and declare their opposition to violence while the government is determined to purge violence “from wherever it comes, right or left”, calling for law and order.