70 years ago today, in 25/3/1944, Nazis and their Greek counterpants anihilated the whole Jewish community of my home town, Ioannina. 1700 Jews were trasported to Auschwitz and 95% of them were murdered within the next 7 days.
Below is a captured passage from Mark Mazower’s thrilling work called Inside Hitler’s Greece. Pages 252 – 253 describe the holocaust of the Jewish in Ioannina.
Today, 70 years later, Greek goverment is openly antisemitic, anticommunist and homophobic. Amongst others it promotes illegal detention of migrants in concentrations camps, murders refugees in their effort to escape war zones, violates basic human rights of vulnerable parts of the society (HIV postitive, victims of trafficking, mentally ill), suppresses resistance using any means and shamelessly propagandises as people’s success story the most cruel, cynical and devastating policies that western world has seen since WWII .
Sad and disgusted, sitting here, observing history fiercely coming back…
I can still remember that cop who explicitly abused two arrested migrants who lacked documentation, ordering them to violently slap one another to his greatly sadistic enjoyment:
I can still remember that other cop humiliating those two arrested prostitutes exercising a fair portion of sexist and sexual violence against them.
This budding expression of fascism and sadistic treatment of the weak and vulnerable had been swept under the legitimizing terminology of “single episodes”. That “individual” violence against immigrants today has evolved into the collective solution of concentration camps, the dividing Wall of Evros River and covert assassinations. That “individual” violence against women has now evolved into the collective solution of public humiliation and targeting addicts, HIV carriers and prostitutes.
I can see myself now becoming more conscious as to how much torture has been legitimized in Greece this period. Torture has been legitimized by the Minister of Public Order -and of course his PM- who protracted political ambiguity by denying existence of torture and agreeing at the same time to further implement the same strategy of oppression. The Greek parliament has legitimized torture by its raw acceptance of state violence as the only legitimate and non-condemnable kind of violence. Justice system has legitimized torture through exemplary acquitting police officers who physically abused a student live on TV (see clip below) and by leaving unpunished use of violence by countless uniformed bullies and their protected neo-Nazi criminals of Golden Dawn.
Most recently 4 young arrested bank robbers suspected of terrorism (photo) were tortured following their arrest by the police. Their photos have been published with a clumsy but infuriating touch of photoshop.
Last year, anti-fascist motopad-march detainees suffered violence and torture whilst being interrogated in the police headquarters. These incidents can only be seen as a sheer implementation of what has now been institutionally legitimate. This is the new reality that future social activists will have to face. This is the new assumption needed to be made by that part of the Greek society whose only solution is to rise up.
I am anxiously anticipating Greek society’s actual stance towards this institutional legitimization of torture; however I still feel quite reserved. I know already that a significant part of this society has sought refuge to fascism feeding their hunger with hatred and violence towards the other. The rest of the society may still believe that they just cannot bother with state violence as if it has nothing to do with them. They themselves have been “tortured” enough by their deteriorating economic misery, they might think. Undoubtedly, an unfortunate sign that need of democracy and social justice has been eradicated from social thinking.
It is apparent that the media-cultivated terror, daily fed learnt helplessness and ongoing mental blackmail by the Greek government is still strong enough to keep this great part of society under complete control by the elite, having their oppressors being legitimized also as their bullies. And they are so alone in this, lonely and defenceless that the torment of the others is their salvation for not yet having crushed whilst in their own fall. But rumour has it, if not them, it’s definitely their children.