Not for the first time a...slight problem occurred during the parade in Athens celebrating the Greek Independence Day on the 25th March: Members of the Elite OYK force (Underwater Missions Force) shouted racists and degrading and bloodthirsty slogans against Albanians, Slavomacedonians and Turks.
As mentioned, this is not the first time this has happened, as various extremist elements whose sentiments are succinctly encouraged in the Armed Forces, get rather exited on days of "National Celebration", and think that they are to be applauded for expressing their "patriotic" sentiments in public - even when on duty and in front of an audience, as they parade.
It must be noted, however that: a. what they did is against the constitution and the laws which they have sworn to respect and uphold and b. A number of martial laws have banned the voicing of such slogans (not because the officers disapprove, but because the political leadership preffers not to be embarrassed by such idiocies).
What is however original this year is that the Greek state actually took a position of this vile phenomenon: the Minister of Citizens Protection (ex Minister of the interior) condemned the occurence, with what can be called a rather austere announcement:
«During the Military Parade in Athens for the celebration of the 25th March, a team of the Underwater Missions Unit of the Coast Guard, shouted extreme racists slogans, as is evident from a relative video.
I categorically repeat that this kind of behaviour are not fitting for anyone who bears a uniform and who has given an oath to the Constitution and the laws of the state. None of these brainless people has the right to sully the celebration of a historical day of memory with racist slogans of hate and xenophobia.It is obvious that important questions are raised concerning the level of training, the dangerous stereotypes that are created or encouraged in each Force which is charged with protecting the security of the country. It is however necessary to separate operational readiness from extremism, hatred and racism in all their forms. These gentlemen have no place in the Coast Guard."
A number of Political parties and Organisations also reacted to this occurrence, including the SYRIZA party and the Movement "United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat", who have called for a demonstration outside the Ministry of Defence on the 29.03.
The reactions of the State included the suspension of the head of the participating unit and the commissioning of a Sworn Administrative Inquiry concerning the whole affair.
Truly amazing moves that need to be encouraged: we can only hope that those involved will be exemplary punished - both the commanding officers and the serving soldiers - , to serve as an example to other morons who harbour similar sentiments.
We may even dream of an effort to change the logic that is propagated within the Armed Forces, where the "Patriotic Sentiment" is thought to be more hatred of others than love of ones own.
For if they feel that they help their country by provoking (more) hostile feelings in neighbouring people, I, as one who cares for his country, have a different opinion.
And until the Greek State does so itself I can only ask forgiveness of our neighbours and of any foreigners living in Greece and who suffer daily attacks from such idiots: Not because I in any way share their sentiments, but because I, as part of Greek society, have allowed the cancer of Nationalism, racism and xenophobia to spread to such an extent that their representatives feel free and proud to express themselves.
The priest who, outraged, shouts encouragement to the brave soldiers of the nations is, one suspects, more upset about having the Church's Revenues (Finally! after 180 years from the creation of the Modern Greek State) partially taxed, than for any patriotic reason...