**Posted by Phineas
His excuse? “I’m too ignorant to know what I’m doing!”
Greek soccer player Giorgos Katidis has been banned from his national team for life after giving a Nazi salute while celebrating a goal in the topflight league.
Greece’s soccer federation said Sunday in a statement that the AEK Athens midfielder’s gesture “is a deep insult to all victims of Nazi brutality.”
The 20-year-old Katidis gave a Nazi salute after scoring the go-ahead goal Saturday in AEK’s 2-1 victory over Veria in the Greek league. He pleaded ignorance of the meaning of his gesture — right arm extended and hand straightened. He claimed on his Twitter account that he detests fascism.
My first reaction is “yeah, right.” The Nazis rampaged over Europe less than 80 years ago, and Greece was one of many nations subjected to conquest and a brutal occupation. Film, television, books, the Internet — all these make clear what that salute stood for. And given the rise of the fascist Golden Dawn party, Mr. Katidis’ protests are those either of a liar, or a very, very ignorant person.
That fascism is at all on the rise in Europe (Golden Dawn has spread to Germany, by some reports) is a result of the failure of the European political classes to govern responsibly, instead bribing their publics with ever-more generous social safety nets that are now so frayed thanks to aging populations and reckless public borrowing, that many are turning to far leftist politics (1) out of frustration and anger.
While a suspension for life seems harsh, particularly if Katidis really is just historically illiterate, it’s a measure of how worried Greek and European officials are by the threat of radical politics rising from the EU’s economic troubles. As more Mediterranean countries fail to deal with crushing debt and high unemployment, all made worse by the one-size-fits-all Euro, we may well see many more Europeans who find fascist gestures, and the politics behind them, increasingly attractive.
(1) Remember, Fascism is a derivative of Socialist politics developed by Mussolini, who added the hyper-nationalist element, among other things. No matter how the Left tries to deny it, totalitarian statism is just their thing.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)