The political parties (and one “party”) have been falling over themselves to bring out new anti-racism bills. There is already a law in place that makes it illegal to incite discrimination, hate or violence against persons or groups on the basis of race, origin or religion. Sexual orientation is not included and should be. The first of the proposed bills was brought by the Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis and
aims to criminalize communication which might incite violence against groups and individuals based on their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The bill reportedly foresees up to two years in jail for offenders and fines of up to about 30,000 euros for individuals and 200,000 euros for organizations
This bill was seen by some as an attack on freedom of speech and as simply a weapon against the neo-nazi “party” Golden Dawn. As much as I would LOVE to see Golden Dawn punished for their incitement to violence that has led to the terrible rise in attacks against immigrants, it is feared that this bill would play into their hands, seeing as they LOVE playing the “discriminated against” victims. Under the current law, which is in place already, they could be tried and jailed as it is already an offence to incite racial hatred
Specifically, the law makes it illegal to incite discrimination, hate or violence against persons or groups on the basis of race, origin or religion – although it says nothing of sexual orientation. Also, the 1979 law stipulates it is a crime to set up or join organizations that promote racist propaganda and activity.
The law covers the Golden Dawn “party” very well and they could all be hauled into court and charged tomorrow… if the will was there.
The bill was objected to mainly by Nea Demokratia who then brought out their own bill. Worried about the reactions of their electoral allies, the church and army, theirs
exempts the Church and the armed forces from prosecution and it does not ban the operation of parties whose members display racist behavior. Its key focus is on criminalizing Nazi crimes and their denial. In it they included penalties for Holocaust and genocide denial.
via the Greek Reporter
The problem there is a political one particularly involving relations with Turkey who have made referring to the mass murders of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians as “genocide”, illegal. The massacres are only officially recognised as genocide by Greece and Cyprus. A sticky war of words. Also, I cannot understand why the church or armed forces should be exempt except that ND relies of the overly powerful church for votes.
Syriza, the second largest party in Greece then brought out their anti-racism bill. I have no idea what is included in that but as soon as I find out, I’ll update here. To me it sounds like political manoeuvring and grandstanding from all the parties.
Recently, in another sick twist to this anti-racism saga, the Golden Dawn “party” has brought their own “bill”.
The proposal includes legal provisions to combat crime committed by immigrants who have entered Greece illegally, as well as measures “to defeat the abusers of Greek history,” without specifying what the means.
According to the proposal, anyone trivializing or denying genocide crimes against Greeks will face a fine up to 20,000 euros and at least two years imprisonment. With only a handful of seats in the Parliament where most everyone else is aligned against them, there is virtually no chance for the measure to be taken seriously.
via the Greek Reporter
If it wasn’t so deadly serious, the thugs of Golden Dawn would be laughed out of the chamber. All bloggers, journalists, artists, thinkers, activists etc etc would be in serious trouble if this “party” had any hope of getting this nonsense through parliament. However, this ludicrous “bill” does show us exactly where the “party” is coming from. They have no hidden agenda, it’s right there in black and white. Disagree with us or say something we don’t like and we’ll have you locked up.
A long time back, I was “engaged” in discussions on this blog with several neo-nazis. One of them called me “a destroyer of nations”. I have always been proud of (and laughed about) the fact that I could rile someone so much by speaking out, that they had promoted me in their heads, into a leader of people who had power over a whole nation. All because I was pointing out some rather unpleasant facts in Greece’s human rights record. I laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole idea. It is not so funny now. i know Golden Dawn members follow this blog and often comment in fact but apart from insulting and threatening me, have been unable to silence me. If a bill” like this ever passed (and it would if Golden Dawn continued to gather power at the same rate it has done in the past couple of years), I’m in trouble. Fortunately, I can leave. Anytime I like. And I will if it looks like Golden Dawn actually has real power in the parliament (it stands at 18 seats out of 300).
Let’s wait and see what, if anything will happen to these anti-racism bills. In the meantime, perhaps the police and legal authorities could get on with prosecuting those who have broken or are breaking the current law…
Read this interesting article Hate speech: The lesser of two evils by Harry van Versendaal at Kathimerini