KISA strongly the incidents that took place last Friday (07/04/17) inside and outside the House of Representatives by MPs and other members of the neonazi ELAM with the participation of other nationalist and chauvinist circles as well. We further reinstate our strong concern about the fact that some of the political parties seem to fall in line with ELAMist neo-Nazis as well as about hate speech, which has been recently increasing in society.
Following the last parliamentary elections, during which the neo-Nazis have acquired parliamentary representation, KISA, through a public statement, called upon the political parties, among others, to establish a common code for addressing ELAM in Parliament. Instead of that, some of the political parties do not hesitate event to cooperate with the neonazis, ignoring that this tactic not only does it not contribute to taming the ‘beast’ but it actually leads to further aggravation and solidification of neonazis in the political and social life.
These political forces deny to understand what history has taught us in the most tragic way: Tolerance towards fascists and Nazis leads to their intensification and the gradual destabilization of democracy and any democratic institution.
We must remind the rise of racism and xenophobia started in the period 2007-2010, when neo-Nazis, motivated by the populist xenophobic and highly nationalistic rhetoric of political parties and individual politicians, targeted and transformed migrants and refugees to scapegoats for all the negative issues of the Cypriot economy and society. The peak of this intense racism and nationalism was the attack against KISA’s 2010 Rainbow Festival. The result of the attack was the terrorizing and the injuring of numerous people, including children, who were attending the Festival. The neo-Nazis’ intent was made clear with the attempted murder of a Turkish-Cypriot musician who was taking part in the Festival, as well as the level of neglect that the authorities showed in identifying the involved neo-Nazis and bringing them to justice.
On the contrary, a large part of political forces, as well as the media, adopted an “equal distance” policy and equalized the racists and neo-Nazis with the anti-racists and human rights defenders. This position came about largely due to the ahistorical and misguided perception that the racists’ and neo-Nazis’ exclusive targets are the “foreigners”, ignoring the fact that the fascists and neo-Nazis, whose first target are migrants and refugees, are moving gradually and steadily on to the next vulnerable social groups, aiming for the gradual and violent elimination of all “others” and the suppression of any opposing opinion.
Further, the intention of ELAM and the president of the Solidarity movement, Eleni Theocharous, to report to the Attorney General incidents of hate speech against them is particularly noteworthy. Hate speech, as defined by the Council of Europe, includes any form of expression that spreads, incites, promotes or justifies racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hate supported by intolerance, such as the intolerance that is expressed through aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination as well as aggression against minorities, immigrants and people of immigrant origin. Apparently, the prime exponents of hate speech in Cyprus and inciters of hideous hate crimes have either not understood the meaning of hate crime or are trying to disorient the public opinion, a common method used repeatedly by the Golden Dawn, ELAM’S mother criminal organization.
In the light of all of the above, KISA calls upon:
- The political parties, even at the last minute, to proceed with the establishment of a common code practice and policy of isolation of neo-Nazis in the Parliament and political life in general.
- The police and the Attorney General to proceed to the immediate and effective combating of hate speech in the media, social media and wherever it is being expressed.
- The State in general to proceed to the development and implementation of an effective national plan to tackle racist violence and hate crimes, as well as to the exemplary punishment of perpetrators