5 Mar 2013

Filming with the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn

After spending a month filming members of the far-right Golden Dawn party on the streets of Athens, Konstantinos Georgousis writes about Greece’s “prime outlet for public anger”.

Last May I travelled from the UK to Greece to film my graduation film as a part of my course at the National Film and Television School in London.

I was always interested in human resentment and hate and there could not be a better theme for me than the rise of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn.

Long ago, I assumed that Golden Dawn will be supported by a part of the Greek population which is stricken by the economic crisis and my filming experience sadly confirmed that.

I walked through every nook and cranny in the centre of Athens to find these Golden Dawn members who appear in my film, the Cleaners.

I was terrified that these members were proud to express their extreme ideas during campaigning openly in public. I was shocked by their hostility and by the way they treated immigrants in the Athenian squares.

My intentions were clear. I wanted to make an observational film to portray their hatred which haunts the streets of Athens. Sometimes I was concerned by the level of support from the Greek people.

As my country faces financial and social ruin, Golden Dawn has become the prime outlet for public anger. The 7 per cent of the vote they took at the last elections proves that unfortunately Greek people join the politics of hatred and search for scapegoats and revenge.

I hope that the country which gave birth to democracy will not allow the “cleaners” of Golden Dawn to swat away every democratic value left in Greek society.

The pessimism of indignation … for this is the rub, one needs guilty men .The underprivileged, the decadents of all kinds … need victims, they need some sort of scapegoat. This scapegoat can be God, or the social order, or education and training, or the Jews, or the nobility … In short, the pessimism of indignation invents responsibility in order to create a pleasant filling for itself – revenge. ‘Sweeter than honey,’ old Homer called it.

Friedrich Nietzsche
(Will to Power 765)