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Κυριακή, 26 Μαΐου, 2024
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionThe huge problem of fanaticism

The huge problem of fanaticism

By Konstantina Kerpinioti,

The murder of the 19-year-old Alkis in Thessaloniki by a group of hooligans is a fact that has shocked me a lot.

In case someone has not been informed about this event, on February 1st, Alkis went out for a walk with his friends so as to get away from studying for a while. Unfortunately, he never returned home. A group of people stopped Alkis and his friends and asked them which football team they supported. When the boys told them which team they were supporting, the hooligans, who were not satisfied with their answer, started stabbing and hitting them with bats.

The most shocking point is the moment when Alkis, exhausted by the attack he had received and being already in great danger of losing his life, asked the hooligans to stop beating him. The phrase, “Please do not hit me anymore…” will remain unforgettable in my memory. Nevertheless, the hooligans did not show any trace of humanity and continued to beat him even harder, just because he supported a different football team. In the end, Alkis did not manage to survive, as he succumbed to too many serious injuries and died. His friends were also injured, however, they survived.

On the occasion of this specific incident, I would like to refer to one of the most important problems that society has to face nowadays, which is no other than fanaticism. Fanaticism is the attachment to a specific thing with excessive zeal and hatred for the opposite. Some people may confuse fanaticism with loyalty. Loyalty signifies a person’s devotion or sentiment or attachment to a particular object. It expresses itself in both thought and action and strives for the identification of the interests of the loyal person with those of the object. Loyalty turns into fanaticism when it becomes wild and unreasoning and into resignation when it displays the characteristics of reluctant acceptance.

The 19-year-old Alkis, who died on February 1st because he favored a different football team than the hooligans that assaulted and — in the end — killed him. Image source: diaforetiko.gr

Fanaticism is a universal phenomenon. Even if fanaticism is more related to religion and politics, it exists everywhere, including social activism, the military, and entertainment (fanaticism associated with music, sports teams, real players, and generally people in showbiz).

I pointed out before that fanaticism is one of the most serious problems in modern society. One may challenge this view and argue that fanaticism is nothing serious compared to murders, physical and psychological maltreatment, and racism. Comparing social problems to see which is more serious is not my goal. My goal is to make you understand the seriousness of fanaticism. I just want to emphasize that fanaticism has been the cause of the above problems many times as we saw in the recent case of Alkis, but also in other cases which have not been discussed in the media a lot.

If we want to get over those social problems, dealing with a fanaticism which is one of their causes is necessary. Therefore, fanaticism should not be degraded. On the contrary, we should focus on how to deal with it, because it is more dangerous than one can imagine. For many years now, especially in the stadiums, the victims of hooligans are many, and even though we usually hear about such events, we do not do anything about it because we have not taken this situation seriously.

Have you ever thought about what leads people to fanaticism? To begin with, lack of education, combined with the lack of daily stimuli that make human lives interesting, are responsible for fanaticism. In other words, passive individuals who find their life boring and miserable getaway to fanaticism so as to feel that their lives acquire some meaning. Furthermore, we must not forget that, unfortunately, we live in a society where the propaganda and the manipulation of common people are dominant. This situation is directly related to fanaticism, as political groups — and not only —, with the contribution of the media, direct citizens in such a way that they make them dogmatic and reluctant to accept or even listen to any other point of view. Of course, the reason they do so is to satisfy their own interests.

Image source: tomorrownews.gr

So, what can we do so that fewer and fewer people resort to fanaticism? First of all, each person must gain self-confidence and in case someone is not satisfied with his life to the point of falling into depression, psychotherapy is the best solution. Under no circumstances is a blind commitment to a group or another person helpful for you. Through psychotherapy or conversation with your loved ones and working with yourself, you will find the way to lead your life as you want. In addition, it is imperative to provide education in an appropriate way, so that people will be aware of the ways through politicians and the media mainly try to manipulate people.

It is high time we took the situation seriously. The phenomenon of fanaticism has been prevalent for years and the necessary actions have not been taken to limit it, on the contrary, it is being cultivated even more. How many people will be victims of fanaticism and be lost in such an unfair way? I wish people would become more sensitive to such issues and Alkis to remain a symbol against violence, not just for the recent future, but forever, so that there will be no other victims.

  • Fanaticism, britannica.com, Available here
  • Kalmer Marimaa, The many faces of fanaticism, in ENDC Proceedings, vol. 14, 2011, Available here
  • Ευγενία Γεωργακοπούλου, Φανατισμός, evgeniageorgakopoulou.weebly.com, Available here


Konstantina Kerpinioti
Konstantina Kerpinioti
She is an undergraduate student at the Department of English Language and Literature at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. She likes chess, swimming, and travel shows. She is a social and adventurous person and a supporter of gender equality and human rights in general. Also, she is interested in being informed and expressing her opinion on social issues. In addition, she considers self-confidence to be the most attractive element in an individual’s personality. She is a nature lover, and she adores cats. Her motto is that if you try and fight hard, you can achieve anything you want — even the impossible.