PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias was slammed by critics yesterday for referring to online fascist videos during his historic address to the Hellenic Parliament in Athens.
Christofias became the first Cypriot president to address the Hellenic Parliament to mark 50 years of the Cyprus Republic.
During his speech, he made reference to the coup by the Greek junta, and subsequent Turkish invasion, saying that some had not learned from the past.
He referred specifically to the appearance in Cyprus of “destructive” mentalities of extreme organisations like Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) and others.
“Every democrat feels indignation and outrage when they see on the internet the unrepentant grandfather teaching his three-year-old grandson the slogan ‘Long live the junta’ in front of the framed shield of the fascistic junta hanging on the wall...the child holding the pistol and being taught to kill Turks and communists,” Christofias said.
He was referring to a video posted on Facebook by a civil servant in a senior position made public last week.
An opinion piece in Phileleftheros yesterday accused the president of taking an isolated incident of “blatant perversion” and using it in the most historic speech ever given by a Cypriot president. The author referred to the “hypocrisy” of all those public officials who condemned the video, claiming that not a single social worker or civil servant has visited the child’s family since the furore erupted.
The cartoonist in the same paper drew a sketch of Christofias addressing the Greek parliament, saying in a speech bubble: “And the next time I come to speak before the Hellenic Parliament... I’ll tell you more about YouTube videos.”
DIKO deputy Nicolas Papadopoulos yesterday described the reference as “unacceptable”, saying the president had a duty to uphold certain standards. “Instead we hear him making references to YouTube videos. It is not befitting of the office of the president to stoop to that level.”
Ruling AKEL deputy Yiannakis Thoma replied that every politician and president had an obligation to discuss anything about the society that he represents.
“That video was an exceptionally worrying event. I don’t think the president did anything wrong to discuss his revulsion for these phenomena,” said Thoma, adding, “Some politicians criticise him for everything, the way he stands, breathes. It’s not unexpected.”