This video documents a public gathering of the far right group and political party Golden Dawn (Χρυσή Αυγή) commemorating the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, where a group of Spartan warriors were defeated and killed by the Persian army after being betrayed by a Greek traitor Efialtes. The speeches draw parallels between the present crisis that Greece is facing, portraying it as an attack by an army of migrants, “the descendants of the ancient Persians”, and the traitorous Greek politicians who like, Efialtes in the myth, are betraying the Greek nation leading it to an actual and symbolic defeat. The gathering takes place annually in the Memorial, which is located near Sparta in the Peloponnese, but in 2012 after Golden Dawn reached approximately 7% of the electoral vote and elected several MPs, it has attracted significantly more attention than in the past.
The video was filmed, edited and posted on YouTube by the Golden Dawn itself, which has denounced the more conventional media (TV, press, radio) as corrupt and is using the net as the main site for the dissemination of information and propaganda. The video is typical of far right wing aesthetics that are reproduced daily in YouTube by Greek far right users, drawing on populist ethnonationalist patriotism and militant masculinism: participants and speakers are all dressed in the same uniform-like black T-shirt and carry the Greek flags, while the crowds are chanting in a disciplined manner the motto “Blood, Honour, Golden Dawn”. The neo-nazi influences (haircuts, gestures and the meander) are all strategically positioned in the context of the ancient Greek tradition rather than in the context of German and nazi past. Moreover, the last two speakers (an MP and the Leader of the Party) emphasize the militant character of Chrysi Avgi by declaring that they feel disgusted with the Greek parliament and that they are prepared to take violent action on the streets, like the ancient Greek Spartans in order to defend the nation – an explicit reference to the daily racist violent attacks against migrants that take place all over Greece on a daily basis since the beginning of the year. The video ends with the crowd singing the Greek national anthem, but as the English subtitles indicate its aim is not simply to address Greek users, but a broader international audience in order to convey the message of Greek aggressive patriotism globally.