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12° Nicosia,
09 February, 2023
 
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The parallels between Athens in 2011 and Nicosia in 2022

'The scene in Nicosia is strongly reminiscent of Athens in the early 2010s.'

Opinion

Opinion

by Andrea Riri

In the last ten days, two horrific videos of racist attacks by Greek Cypriots against a Congolese woman in Larnaca and a young man from Pakistan in old Nicosia have come to light.

The next President of the Republic, therefore, whoever he is, will be called upon to manage both the coming partition and the rise of fascism/racism. And that will be an extremely dangerous cocktail.

The scene in Nicosia is strongly reminiscent of Athens in the early 2010s. When, with the then president of the New Democracy, Antonis Samaras as prime minister, and the Minister of Citizen Protection, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, neo-fascists engaged in persecutions against immigrants in the center of the capital during the day at high noon in front of the cameras.

The electoral granitization of Golden Dawn followed, with the neo-Nazi gang receiving 425,990 votes (6.9%) and 18 seats in the Greek parliament in the national elections of June 2012.

Many articles have been written about how they foster fascism and racism in Cypriot society. From the Greek Orthodox Church and the education system (which it controls) to the traditional parties (with the exception – usually – of AKEL) and the Parliament, where MPs utter racist speech without any counter-argument (see Demographics Committee).

What has allowed the fascists to be completely shameless, is the sense of legitimacy they have acquired not only from the above but also from the attitude of the government and much more from the minister of the interior, Nikos Nouris. Who, as another Dendias, with the infamous "Alien Zeus" operation in Athens in 2012, publicly saying that Cyprus should cease to be an attractive destination for asylum seekers, can well be characterized as the moral perpetrator of these racist attacks.

The practices of Mr. Nouris serve this very purpose, without of course solving the problem. A problem, which clearly exists, and does not concern either Cyprus's capacity to manage human lives or an alleged demographic threat. A possible solution is also obvious. Because the lack of labor in various sectors of the market is a given. So instead of Mr. Nouris piling souls in Pournara, he can suggest temporary work permits so that these people can find a job that allows them to live decently in a proper shelter instead of in Pournara or on the street.

Of course, Mr. Nouris may also have in mind the flow of voters from DISY to fascist ELAM, a branch of the neo-Nazi gang in Cyprus for those who may have forgotten. It is therefore possible that Mr. Nouris is trying to contain this flow. But obviously, he isn't succeeding and he's not going to succeed.

The only thing that Mr. Nouris, the Anastasiadis government, DISY, DIKO, EDEK, Fakontis, etc. succeeded in is to awaken the most conservative reflexes of Cypriot society. And of those whose reflexes have awakened, it is very likely that they will turn to ELAM, rather than anywhere else.

In the presidential elections of 2023, where the (extreme) right-wing vote will be divided, since even the Left Party is running with a right-wing candidate, ELAM and its president, once a guard of the Golden Dawn leader Christos Christou, may not see an increase of their electoral influence, something that has been happening consistently from the 2009 European elections (663 votes) to last year's parliamentary elections (24,255 votes). This will in no way mean that the upward trend of the fascist momentum will be reversed. The next President of the Republic, therefore, whoever he is, will be called upon to manage both the coming partition and the rise of fascism/racism. And that will be an extremely dangerous cocktail.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  racism  |  facism

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