Say what you will about groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which, in addition to committing unspeakable acts, garner popular support by providing charity and social services to their “constituents.” This tactic comes in handy when citizens in terrible situations amble off to the polls and ask themselves what a particular group has done for them lately.
If you live in Athens, happen to be hungry, and are not an immigrant, then Golden Dawn–Greece’s third-largest political party and first-largest neo-Nazi group–is offering you the finest spoils of Easter food in the city’s largest square. Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis isn’t too pleased about it.
Giorgos Kaminis accused Golden Dawn on Wednesday of engaging in “racist and xenophobic charity.” Kaminis said Thursday’s planned handout is illegal and he would do his best to stop it.
Golden Dawn said it would ignore the mayor and distribute traditional Easter fare in Syntagma Square, ahead of Sunday’s Orthodox Easter. Its previous Greeks-only handouts enjoyed considerable success.
This reminded me of a quote that’s been haunting me for several years. It was following the success of Hamas in the 2007 Gaza elections, where the people ousted long-corrupt Fatah in favor of Hamas, which seemed not only transparent, but gave charity.
“Today everybody is with Hamas because Hamas won the battle. If Fatah had won the battle they’d be with Fatah. We are a hungry people, we are with whoever gives us a bag of flour and a food coupon. Me, I’m with God and a bag of flour.”
Greek Capital’s Mayor Vows to Ban ‘Racist’ Charity [AP]
Hamas Consolidates Hold on Gaza, Rounds up Fatah Leadership [AP]
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.