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My sad Greek elections My sad Greek elections
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-10-20 10:25:38
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In the parliamentary election you mainly vote for ideas and programmes in municipality elections. You vote about the street you walked when you were a kid, about the school you learned your first letters and occasionally some of the fellow students in that old school are candidates for the mayor’s position.

Living abroad also means that you miss the evolution of ideas and facts in everyday life back home and, furthermore, you evolve the myth of what you left behind. I've been following the events of the local elections in Greece and became more conscious of how much I have changed and evolved.

I now live in Helsinki, Finland, and during my time here I have become aware of Finnish politics and have been politically active, which mean that I left Greek politics behind me and rarely watched it online.

Being involved and having an opinion in local politics means that you are getting involved as well, you get to know ideas and faces; faces are far more important because you find out how much truth there is behind the words. Being a foreigner adds as well. It is always easier to spot the xenophobic and the racist; you have personal interest after all. And you do find these fruits, after all Le Pen in France is not an exception. The sudden and alarming increase of legal and illegal immigrants in Europe has created these rotten fruits.

I’m an immigrant myself, but one of the lucky ones. Most people know where my country lies in the globe. Furthermore, most Finns have spent at least one summer holidays on a Greek island and the majority of them have feta in their weekly diet. I will always find somebody who will tell me stories from Greek mythology and most of all I have an EU passport that opens doors.

During the years I have lived away from Greece, which was mainly in European countries, I have often met xenophobic and a few racists, yet most of the time people were friendly and welcome - that’s why I say I am one of the lucky ones. I learned to deal with all that with humor, control my anger and my need to express it. In politics, I found out that you find xenophobia and racism in every political party, after all this has to do with the individual and I have fought it in every chance. A few times I’ve been critical to Finns as well, when I felt a comment or an act crossed the line.

As I said, all the above have happened while being a foreigner in a foreign country and you should not dismiss these ideas because, whether you like it or not, these things also happen in your home country. My first shock came while listening to a random popular candidate’s speech at the beginning of this campaign. I had mixed feelings when hearing the characterizations he gave to an opponent. As I found out later, there was a candidate from an area where a strong Muslim minority lives, a Muslim herself. The comments the populist candidate made about her religion and her sex shocked me and scared me. My first reaction was that it could not be true. Unfortunately it was and it got worse - the man was elected.

So there is a Le Pen in Greece. It took me a few hours to analyze it in my mind. I felt betrayed. Here was me complaining about racism and xenophobia and in my very own country a man had exactly the same characteristics I was against and occasionally suffering from. I felt embarrassment. The country that gave the world hospitality, acceptance and democracy had elected somebody that abused in every sense the meaning of these words.

How would I ever be able to be proud of the Greek origin of these words again? And then I let the hours go by before I returned to the results and I noticed that the Greek woman, with the right to believe whatever she likes just like - had made a record number of votes in a place where conservatives counted as their stronghold.

Somehow that made me feel that there is hope. It made me realize that my own country could not be an exception in a globe that suffers from discrimination and racism, but that there is chance. There are still people that stand against this virus and they stand strong. I spent hours on the net talking in forums and blogs and I felt the warmth of this resistance. My first reaction was why can I see something others cannot? My thought today is that I haven’t change and there are others like me.

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Ergotelina2006-10-19 12:30:32
Front Nationale 11%
Lepen for president got 16.86%
Laos is not even in parliament
but will be with 3%
Regionally Ultra-right has
some power
In Crete for example
it has only 0.5%.
Off course Greece and the whole Balkans are far away
from Scandinavian migration models

Thanos2006-10-19 20:49:44
Still dangerous even with less than 3%

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