Mr. K – I will protect his identity, his identity as what makes him unique to everything and everyone else in Greece is of little concern here – was an MP of PASOK for two terms during the 1990s. Mr. K was, above all, a genuine humanist: he would invariably invoke the values of humanism, internationalism and peace, in his public addresses to the parliament. But he would not hide his patriotic sentiments. This combination of values might help explain his fixation with Turkey, which will be explained below.
Mr. K always sought to make a point by drawing on history. During a heated discussion in the parliament on the revision of the controversial article 19 of the citizenship law which gave the authorities the right to deprive certain individuals of their citizenship status and was admittedly an instrument of national purification and homogenization he begun…let’s say, generally:
‘Us, Greeks, as history has shown, have never been racists. By contrast we have always expressed our solidarity and stood by other fighting historical nations. Even when Italian fascists were departing from Athens, Athenians were waving them goodbye from the streets […]’
Commenting on the Greek left and its attitude toward the minority he said that the latter ‘has endorsed the Kemalist version of history’, and he went on:
‘Which ethnic cleansing [are they talking about]? Which fairy tales could possibly constitute the allegations against our country? Our country, at worse out of stupidity, has occasionally been condemned by international institutions. We have never been racists, neither the agents of an inverted racism, that is, tooth for tooth. We are not followers of the Mosaic Law’.
Here, Mr. K was giving lessons of neutrality in tandem with his universalist political agenda: contrary to what the Left does, Mr. K saw fit that ‘you can’t be anti-racist in Thrace and philo-racist in Turkey’. Mr. K. meant that the Left endorses a kind of anti-racism that gives in to the strategic intentions of Turkey. He meant that being an anti-racist in Thrace, that is, standing by the minority in its claims to self-identification, is to serve the turkish imperialist plan:
‘We won’t let [Thrace] to be recolonized by Turkish or Turkified(sic) citizens, who will come to play particular strategic games and a destabilizing role. That’s how the democratic character of the originally turkish minority will be measured. To what degree, that is, it will be for democracy and peace or to what degree it will move within a pre-determined orbit only in order to cause problems in the region’.
Mr. K. not only was he genuinely neutral in his statements but he also had a deep sense of how things are objectively. His neutrality did not prevent him from being certain about Turkey’s, the neighbour’s, plan. To put it bluntly, Mr. K’s antiracism was of a Greek kind. First nationalist and then antiracist. For there is another dogma, articulated way before Mr. K got involved in politics. The dogma that states that one who expresses one’s antinationalist stance by bringing to light the neighbour’s nationalism, is not an antinationalist but one who does foreign policy on behalf of his state. Mr. K, however, to be fair, never said he is an antinationalist. He said he is a patriotic antiracist. Such a person has an intuition about the enemy’s plans. And, if the minority plays this role, if it is nothing other than the enemy’s trojan horse, the enemy has more tricks to pull off…
‘Our country is the only european frontier and mound against the turkish ηρωϊνοποείο και ηρωϊνοπωλείο‘.
These are idiolectic terms, not easily translatable. Mr. K, here, refers to Turkey as ηρωϊνοποιείο, from ηρωΐνη [heroin] and ποιώ [to make]. Also, as ηρωϊνοπωλείο, the suffix being a derivate of πουλάω-ω [to sell]. For Mr. K, Turkey, as a whole presumably, is a place of heroin production and retail. Needless to say where this heroin goes and what its effects are. Indeed, in his theory here Mr. K, resonates the views of another, incidentally, Mr. K of the Greek parliament with much longer presence and work. The latter – I hope I will find this someday buried somewhere – was proposing the death penalty for drug dealers. The rationale, simple: “You sell drugs, you are conducting war against me”. “Every narco-maniac, a lesser possible soldier to defend the country”. Clearly, then, Turkey must have a plan to infiltrate and weaken the neighbour in the guise of deadly powders and herbs.
Couple this with ‘the low-key invasion […] systematic, trafficking of λαθρομετανάστες [smuggled immigrants] of a racist kind’ and you’ll understand how Turkey has a fully-fledged plan to continue warfare with other means: drugs, illegal migrants, and minorities. The conclusion seems inevitable and shows Mr. K’s witty character: Turkey and Europe (at the expense of Greece, are ‘confounding ειρήνη and ηρωΐνη’. They intentionally confuse peace [e-re-ne] with heroin [e-ro-e-ne]. To get the pun, however, one has to be Greek. I can see bitter laughs on Greek faces hearing this. I can see Mr. K with his constituents, performing such linguistic displacement. Or, even more possible, I can see Mr. K sitting by himself with others, overhearing such a meaningful play of words, and memorizing it, hoping the right moment will come to transfer it to the parliament and impress his opponents.
What I am retaining from this, anyway, is that racism is what the neighbour does to us. All it takes is a little bit of imagination, linguistic skills and a determined national consciousness.
note: the quotes by Mr. K are taken from parliamentary minutes (sessions of 9, June 1997 and 11, June 1998) found online at: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/