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Racism and Violence at the schooldesk

Golden Dawn invades schools – Teachers in shock and fear search for way out

Slogans for Cyprus, Imia, honour and Greek blood inscribed on schooldesks and notebooks. Hearts encircling the symbol of Golden Dawn drawn on schoolbags.

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Skinhead students wearing t-shirts with the party’s logo. Some parents, voters, demand the cleansing of schools. They demand a double prayer. One only for Greeks. Parents’ assemblies discuss the everyday hoisting of the flag. Teachers stay silent and in fear.

The schoolbell “rings” with Golden Dawn in the neighborhoods of Menidi, Kamatero, Patisia, Nea Ionia, to Halandri, Agia Paraskevi, Faliro, Peiraias.

Stabbed

In the case of F., student in Palaio Faliro, the attack took place right before the bell for school rings. On his way to school, the college student was attacked by masked men who attacked him with a knife in his throat and nose. “It all started when F. mocked Golden Dawn to a female student who is in a relationship with a Golden Dawn supporter who ‘told his people”. According to information, the perpetrator is a member of the organization and a son to a police officer.

On the occasion of this attack there is an antifascist protest and a demonstration organised in Floisvos and the municipality of Faliro.

On the eve of the 17th of November anniversary in  a High School in Kamatero, a student approached his teacher who was in charge of the school feast? “M’am don’t get ready, we’ll come in and ruin it for you”. “I answered with humour. I said, if you are to do this let me know in advance.” That’s what an educator who wished to remain anonymous said. “I am afraid” she admits. “Most of the kids in Kamatero are organized. Virtually all of my students are members of Laikos Syndesmos- Golden Dawn Kamatero. They are wearing Golden Dawn outfit and shave their heads. You can understand the reactions to the teaching of material on racism in modern Greek language courses. “Why, what’s wrong with racism? We are full of immigrants.” they told me. I answered by referring them to a text in their schoolbook on multinational order. I then said to them that Alexander the Great had as his principle that “Greek is that who receives Greek education”. It was a way for them to think over it again. They reflected on it”, the same person says.

Entering the classroom, after the break, Christos G., primary school teacher at Nea Ionia, saw a swastica drawn on the board. “Who did this” he asked, trying to remain calm. “No one answered. I asked them if they know what it symbolizes. Silence. How could I focus attention on how to divide decimal numbers while there was a swastika covering the chalkboard through and through. Instead of maths we did history.”

“In the following parents’ assembly I was accused of disseminating propaganda instead of teaching. The assembly ended-up with parents fighting amongst each other. Some parents demanded everyday flag hoisting, and a double prayer, one for all and one for Greeks only.” the school teacher tells and continues. “We are desperate,. A parent – member of the organization – asked a colleague to have his child sit on a different desk than the current one where he is sitting next to a girl from Albania. His kid, however, is calm and scared,” says the teacher. “We can’t put our hands up, and let our schools become Nazism hot spots. There was racist behavior before the Golden Dawn phenomenon. Now its peaking.

At the Kindergarten

“Young children parrot without understanding what they hear from their parents” observes Evi Andrianou, a teacher in kindergardens with high percentage of young migrants. “Many times I hear “get out of here you dirt, you are a foreigner” or, “I don’t want to play with you, bloody gupsy”. After a while they forget about it and keep playing. She is trying herself to invent games and activities against racism. A colleague of hers from the kindergarden at Ano Liosia had to confront a father’s claim, member of Golden Dawn: “Don’t let him play with them. I don’t want my kid to hang out with young gypsies”.

In Halandri, the majority of the parents’assembly was for the removal from local schools of Roma students residing in the nearby encampment. According to information, this action was motivated by parents – Golden Dawn voters. “They claimed that socializing with Roma is a bad influence for the rest of the kids”, says one local teacher.

“There are at school specific groups we all know to be Golden Dawn.” Says Anastasia, college student in Menidi. “4th and 5th graders write on their desks “Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn”, “Cyprus, I don’t forget”. “Imia belong to us”, she says and continues: “They once slapped a girl who spoke foul of Golden Dawn. “It is a lifestyle, Golden Dawn…they listen to ‘death’, they hang out in the same coffee shop, get their particular haircuts at a specific hairdresser and so on.” In another school, they see it as a game. On fridays, 3rd graders in a high school at Patisia, after the end of the class, they meet up to play ‘Paki [bashing]’. According to local students, groups of youth pick up or steal fruits from adjacent shops to throw at small Pakistani or other immigrant cornershops.

 [Source: Eleftherotypia newspaper, 08/02/2013, found online at: http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.ellada&id=342091]

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