Fear & Loathing

11.13.2012

By Ioannis Pappos

The financial crisis in Greece has seen the fortunes of the far-right Golden Dawn party soar -- along with homophobia.

“ ‘History would be a wonderful thing, if it were only true’ -- that’s Tolstoy,” I said. “Your party uses violence against immigrants and women.”

“I am against any form of physical violence. I believe in the violence of the argument,” Triantafyllou replied.

“You believe in bullying?”

“Traitors like Kaneli [the woman Kasidiaris slapped on TV] have turned Greece into Uganda. They should be intimidated.”

“It sounds as if you’re not very fond of Uganda or Greece,” I said. “According to your stories, we made our bed. So, why the nationalism?”

“In Golden Dawn, we still believe that Greeks come first.”

“The head of your party does not recognize someone who’s born here as Greek. He wants Greek blood for a few generations,” I said.

“I’m working on the Golden Dawn’s makeover.”

“Are all Greeks equal?” I asked.

“Absolutely.”

“Gay Greeks?” I said.
“Absolutely equal,” Triantafyllou replied. “Though they shouldn’t have children, because nobody asked the children.”

“As opposed to straight couples, where children are consulted?”

Triantafillou smiled. “You’re challenging me,” he said, and signed his book “with respect and synchronicity around fairness.” He talked briefly, nostalgically, about how the high school we had both attended—though we didn’t know each other then—had deteriorated. I recalled nostalgia’s original meaning, which differs from homesickness; it means the comfort of a familiar pain, the welcoming of pain. The art of suffering, often self-inflicted, goes back thousands of years here. Ancient Greece, Byzantium, Orthodoxia -- all of which battled each other -- have dramatized our psyche, the way seduction has shaped public and private lives in France, or sensuality and spirituality those in Brazil. I know I want to change my providence, but I don’t know how.

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