Neo-fascists disrupt presentation of the first Greek-Macedonian Dictionary in Athens
Skopje and Athens, Wednesday, 03 June 2009 by Georgios N. Papadakis
The presentation of the first Greek-Macedonian dictionary was brutally disrupted last night in Athens by a group of Greek ultra-nationalists belonging to the neo-fascist organization “Hrissi Avgi” (Golden Dawn).
A few minutes after the beginning of the event, which was taking place in the Foreign Press Association in Athens, the group invaded the premises shouting “This is Greece, traitors and homosexuals get out!”, verbally and physically attacked the panellists, other participants, and the only TV crew filming the event. They also seized mobile phones and confiscated all material related with the promotion of the dictionary – books, informational leaflets and banners.
A video, released on You Tube, pictures the thugs as they take over the room, shouting in Greek: “Shame on you, it’s disgraceful what is happening here…You drug-addicts, you have the nerves to present a “Macedonian” dictionary here …We are throwing these books in the dust bin and all of you out, now! It’s over! …Let me see your mobile phones as you leave! .. You anti-Greek worms…”
The participants were effectively kept as hostages for almost half an hour and the assailants only left the building when they were informed that the police were on their way.
The police were not present at the time of the attack, although the Hrissi Avgi and other Greek “patriotic” organizations had publicly announced their intentions to stop the presentation by force.
The Greek mainstream media were also absent and the promotion was covered only by Alfa TV from the Republic of Macedonia.
Mr Athanassios Parissis, President of Greek member state committee of EBLUL, was speaking at the event and can be seen sitting at the right hand end of the table in the video.
Speaking to Eurolang today he said that: “The human rights movement in Greece, and the Macedonian activists in particular, are used to this kind of intimidation and attacks. Until yesterday we were also used to having strong police protection. Surprisingly, the moment that these attackers realized that the police were temporarily not there, they decided to act. They had a very specific plan, to terrorize and intimidate us and to stop the event, without a lot of physical violence, without blood.
He added: “We were calm, we did not react, we did not leave the room when they ordered us to, and by acting like this we effectively forced them to leave”.
The dictionary- the life’s work of the Aegean Macedonian Vasko Karadza who died in exile a few years ago- was published by “Zora” editions with the support of the Greek Member State Committee of EBLUL and the EFA-Rainbow party. It’s considered to be the most comprehensive work of its kind and it’s going to be followed soon by a Macedonian-Greek dictionary.
Keynote speakers of the presentation were Professor Victor Friedman, Department of Slavic and Balkan Languages, University of Chicago, USA and Dr. Riki van Boeschoten, Professor at the Faculty of Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly, Greece. (Eurolang 2009)
The attack can be seen on YouTube