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Father in warning to parents over Golden Dawn

Son became involved and later left the neonazi party, father says

Describing himself as someone who always voted for the right, a father tells parents whose children are involved in Golden Dawn that it is never too late to get them off the 'wrong path'

Ilias Kasidiaris (front row centre), Yiorgos Fountoulis and other Golden Dawn members celebrate the winter solstice on Mt Parnitha in 2011. The author of the open letter asks what kind of man in his 40s spends a night on a mountain waving the swastika and shouting 'Heil Hitler' Ilias Kasidiaris (front row centre), Yiorgos Fountoulis and other Golden Dawn members celebrate the winter solstice on Mt Parnitha in 2011. The author of the open letter asks what kind of man in his 40s spends a night on a mountain waving the swastika and shouting 'Heil Hitler' A father whose son flirted with but later dropped out of Golden Dawn has addressed an open letter to  parents whose children are involved in the neonazi party, appealing to them not to allow "paranoid, hate-filled, power-hungry maniacs" use their children "for their own destructive purposes and objectives".

"I am a single pensioner and father of three children, who is greatly concerned for the future of this country and for the future of our children," the unnamed father writes, in a lengthy message posted to the antifascist XYZcontagion blog.

Addressing in particular the parents of Yiorgos Fountoulis and Manos Kapelonis, two Golden Dawn members shot dead in an attack by a masked man on a party branch office in Athens in November last year, the anonymous writer acknowledges that the pain they are going through "could have been the pain of my own family".

Describing his family as one brought up "with the values ​​of patriotism, Christianity, and, above all, the love of the family" and to vote for the right, the anonymous writer said that he didn't pay much attention when one of his sons became involved in Golden Dawn, believing that the party was "pro-patriotism".

However, he was somewhat uneasy when he noticed the references to nazism, Rudolf Hess, SS runes and other fascist symbols that were "alien to Greece and its culture" in the literature that his son was bringing home. And when he asked if someone from the party could come to speak to him, his son said his Golden Dawn "instructor" was too busy.

The father became more concerned, however, when his son began leaving the house at 11pm for what he described as "scheduled appointments". Later, his child would go away for weekends and on short holidays, for what he said were "tours", training and hiking in the countryside.

His own reading into Golden Dawn, his conversations with his son and recent publications helped the father realise the significance of what the party stood for. "Now I have the full picture. Now I understand when I look at that photograph with that poor child Yiorgos Fountoulis, at night on Mt Parnitha, with Kasidiaris (a Golden Dawn MP) and five other black-clad 'fighters', who are at least 15-20 years older than our children," he writes.

He asks what kind of people in their 30s spend the night outdoors on December 21 celebrating the winter solstice, waiting for the "sun god". "Really, what kind of people are they? Aged around 40, who on a working day, on the night from Thursday to Friday, may be missing from their homes and their families to spend the whole night on a mountain waving the swastika and shouting 'Heil Hitler'?

"Does that look like a normal group of guys in that photo with Kasidiaris, a boy, and five grown men, whose eyes are shining with hatred? Are these things normal for a child in his third decade of life?"

He also said Golden Dawn goes on trips to the German war cemetery in the northern Athens suburb of Dionysios to honour the soldiers buried there.

"Eventually, my son told me everything, or at least, told me enough, because they are given orders not to disclose what they see and hear," the father continues. The son said that to become a full member of the organisation, one had to participate in religious-mystical activities, "intended only for the 'chosen' and those deemed of proper character".

The father said that as a "simple Greek and Christian", much of what his son told him was incomprehensible. There were references to Thule, the Hermetic Order, Nordic gods, and a "sacred oath" to blood and race, he wrote.

"Fortunately, after much discussion, my child convinced himself and decided to leave from the organisation … I pressed him, indeed, and he revealed to me that their are instructed, if they are caught by the police, to deny membership of Golden Dawn. This was the last straw, which caused me to raise the tone of my voice and tell him that he has no business with them. And thank God he did it.

"My own son escaped and now wants to hear nothing about Golden Dawn. They had promised him that they would find him a job and get him settled financially … We don't want their money just as we don't want their 'blood' and their non-existent 'honour'. Their money is bloodstained, and their hands are covered in the blood of innocent people and unsuspecting passersby. We don't need violence and hatred. We saw where that leads - death and mourning and the absence of our loved ones."

Golden Dawn members Yiorgos Fountoulis (L) and Manos Kapelonis were shot dead in an attack by a masked man on a party branch office in Athens in November 2013 Golden Dawn members Yiorgos Fountoulis (L) and Manos Kapelonis were shot dead in an attack by a masked man on a party branch office in Athens in November 2013 In conclusion, the anonymous letter writer asks Lambros Fountoulis, the father of one of the murdered Golden Dawn members, how he can run in the European Parliament elections for the party. Fountoulis, who said that if he is elected, he will work for the victims of terrorism.

"The goal is certainly noble but you are sure that you have picked the right people to work with? Are the attacks on unsuspecting passersby because they are dark-haired and dark-skinned not terrorism?" the letter writer asks. 

In a final appeal to parents, he writes: "Know your children. Learn about their concerns and what's on their minds. It's never too late to get them off the wrong path. Engage them in discussion, ask them questions."

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Politics
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Racism
Golden Dawn
Ilias Kasidiaris