Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Riot Info #7

This will be the last post of the series, it seems; any new info will be added here this coming week, while I've half a mind (but not becessarily the time) to rework the hasty translations below. We'll see. For the time being, I'm out - on a trip & not coming back before mid-January. So long & thanks for all the fish, see you in 2009 again.

I am proud of the banner in Acropoplis (M. Glezos, TVXS, Friday)
[M. Glezos has been one of the two people who removed the nazi flag of the german occupation army from Acropolis in '41, a feat for which he was eventually arrested, tortured, & detained; see more here.]

- For 13 days, and following the tragic occurrence of a kid being murdered, we've been in a wave [of events]; could it also be called a revolt of the school students?

- It is a revolt. & I've already said, a long time ago, that we'll find ourselves against a revolt of the young, not because of the fact [per se] that there's always a chasm between old & young, but concerning the current issue: there have been problems concerning the youth for so many years, [that] an explosion is bound to happen. & then the occasion was realized. The drop that spilled the glass came & the glass was spilled. The biggest problem of all is the commercialization of education - that's [what] the youth experiences. It's not permissible, under any circumstances, that education is free &, at the same time, that a family spends tons of money so that their children can study either foreign languages or with a private tutor. [This is a purely greek phenomenon & one that plays an important role in these precarious or near-precarious times: that a very large percentage of university graduates are self-employed solely in private tutoring, often in a black market manner: no health insurance or paid vacation, as well as no taxes paid to the state.] Education has been commercialized, & there's an [ongoing] attempt that it becomes [even] more commercialized through universities, through the privatization of universities. Youth sees no future - that is, it'll study & become what? That is, instead of technology contributing to the decrease of working hours, to the decrease of working days, & to the decrease of working years, we've reached the debasement - because [it's a] debasement... - to be cheering because the European Parliament voted for the 48-hour week [instead of the recently discussed 65-hour week]. That is, I never imagined [that we'll retreat] that far back. Instead of going forward. The youth sees these [things] & revolts. Next to these one finds the indifference that youth experiences - no one listens when the youth speaks - [& also] next to these, when it protests the answer [it receives] is violence - & a point is reached where, when[/although] obvious injustices are committed in plain view [& going all the way] up to young people being murdered, those committing these crimes or injustices are left unpunished. & the drop that spilled the glass was added now. We have a revolt - & the revolt will not die down. The revolt will not stop. & the revolt will be reaching new dimensions, as many as possible. & what saddens me is that certain people, instead of comprehending this phenomenon, are involved into this whole spectrum [of methods] that have been unravelled to twist the [meaning of] the school youth's revolt. & what I mean [is this]: when [one] starts [asking questions of the sort] "fine, but why should damages be incurred [on private/public property]?" But I'd like [to ask] all those shedding tears for the burned-down stores, how many tears have they shed when a bank - the banks - have confiscated houses & stores, & thousands of workers entered [the working force as an unemployed mass]. There, there's no[t a single] tear - tears [only] exist for the current situation.
[&] where I'm genuinely aggrieved - I'm being honest here - is when certain people try to... - us, the fighters, who have been striving for justice since the olden times up to now - try to tell us that we have to distance ourselves, they say, from the "hooded ones". But fighters have never been hooded! Those hooded were the snitches squealing on the fighters. & so, [can you imagine that I am] being called to pedantically state that I condemn the "hooded ones"? The "hooded ones" are known to everybody!

- Understood. The kids taking to the streets today are your grandchildern, maybe even grand-grandchildern, your [own] children are of a certain age.

- Grand-grandchildern.

- Grand-grandchildern already. What do you have to say, with such an age difference & with the experience you possess, to those kids who're in the streets today? What would you tell them if you were in a...

- But I tell them, I tell them, whenever I encounter the youth, I tell them clearly. You can doubt everything we're telling you - I offer no advice - doubt everything we're saying, but you have to pay attention to two things. First, you must try to refute that which is being said by us through arguments, & in the process of looking for arguments to refute us, the truth will come out. It's the only thing I tell them. & second, never become slaves of your [own] outrage & of your exasperation for what is [around you]. Be exasperated, be outraged, doubt everything, but don't become slaves of your [own] outrage & of your exasperation. & something else that must be discussed here, because there's an ongoing attempt -also sacrilegious: so, if the bullet was deflected, didn't Alexis Grigoropoulos's death find place? Wasn't a life snatched away?

- Are you a pessimist;

- I'm always an optimist, but I do consider that, at this moment, we find ourselves at a turning point, a decline, we're at what the poet described as "evil's ultimate step." That's where we are. But I believe we shall overcome. What has to happen, though, for [us] to overcome is that we cannot go on using the old methods. We've-we find ourselves in a new era. Which new era is that? That the era where others were deciding for us is gone. We're at an era where we'll be deciding our fates on our own & with each other. (...)

- How did you feel when you saw a banner with 'Resistance' all over it a couple of days ago in Acropolis. From young people, university students...

- I felt proud, because I saw that the young people are putting in good use a symbol which has resisted for a total of centuries - [&] it managed to resist because it is the expression of humanitarian values, it's not solely [because of] the beauty it gives off.
That era has put forth certain humanitarian values. These are symbolized by Acropolis, & [through] the fact that these humanitarian values resisted through time, Acropolis also becomes a symbol of resistance. Consequently, this resistance must have been-it has been put to good use by these young people, & I felt proud they did so.

- What do you have to say to the parents afraid of their kids being currently in the streets, of what's happening, of whether they're in danger & why?

- I know of no such thing, their parents being afraid.

- What would you say to a parent these days?

- But, up to this point, I've had no parent tell me "I'm afraid". I didn't, at least. I've had no [such] parent. I believe that the situation would be horrifying, if the parents did not want their kids to go [to protest demos etc.]. What I believe is that they let their kids go to achieve what all of us failed to do. What we didn't achieve to do. We achieved to liberate Greece [a reference to the german occupation during WWII], but we didn't achieve to make it independent [a reference to the degree to which greece has been dependent on the american hegemony], we didn't achieve to make it as democratic as needed, & we didn't reach a solution to its social problems. This is something we have to confess.

Her steps took her, on Tuesday [9 December] afternoon, to the graveyard of Paleo Faliro for Alexis[' funeral], while, every Saturday & for 23 years, she's been going to Zografou where she said the final goodbye to [her son] Michalis [Kaltezas] in November 1985. "I buried Michalis once again," Mrs. Zoi Kalteza tell us & her voice catches from emotion. On Sunday morning, turning on the TV, time rolled backwards. She had not watched the news on Saturday night & she thought that they were discussing her son without an apparent reason. Unfortunately, the next few minutes proved that this was not the case. History was repeating itself. Exactly in the same tragicomic sequence.

A 15-year-old in Exarchia square & a policeman that snatches life away from him without a reason. That was Michalis. That is Alexis. "I was speechless after this unjust murder. Not the same old again. As far as I'm concerned, I was being told [of the event] by a reporter who sought me out. He didn't tell me immediately that he was killed. There had been some unrest & I had to go to [the] Evaggelismos [hospital] where he lay wounded. There, in a room, the revealed [the truth] to me. I collapsed." Mrs. Kalteza speaks about the unjust loss of her son, about an apology that was never offered, about a justice that was never served, about the murder of Alexis, about his mother...

- Did you know that he'd be going to the protest march on the occasion of 17 November? [In 17 November 1973, & while the colonels' junta was still in power in greece, university students barricaded themselves inside the Athens Polytechnic protesting the junta, only to be mowed down by a tank who invaded the Polytechnic; protest marches on 17 November are organized ever since throughout greece.]

- No. They'd be going to Kefalari with his friend Nikos & others. In the end, they didn't manage to meet each other, & while his father & I had been waiting for him since 18:00 - he had left the house at 13:00 - until 23:00 & [even] 01:00, me pacing in & out of the balcony wrapped up in a blanket, a young gentleman came by taxi & I went to Evaggelismos. He had never been in a protest march before. He probably did do because he didn't manage to meet his friends. They said he threw something to the policemen. Was this excuse enough for them to kill him? The bullet entered [his skull] right under the right ear. The wound was blind. He had been so beautiful that morning. Maybe because he'd.. leave. He was a kid without malice.

- Was Michalis an anarchist?

- A few days after [the murder], his friend Nikos went [to meet the anarchists] & asked them whether they knew him, whether they had seen him before. They told him they were seeing him for the first time &, in fact, thought that he had been planted by the police. Anarchists attended his funeral & his 40-day memorial service, but they came as proper gentlemen & left as proper gentlemen. What we're witnessing these last few days did not happen [back then] notwithstanding the amount of people.

- What happened at court?

- The policeman who killed my son was found innocent. Two & a half years on parole & he stayed in jail for under a year. Is that what my son was worth? When the verdict was being announced in the second trial [where Athanassios Melistas, the murderer, was found innocent], I didn't go. To [do what?] listen to the policemen clapping [in approval]? It was already clear what would happen. [Alexandros] Lykourezos [currently one of greece's highest-profile lawyers] turned Melistas into an innocent person & what did he get out of it? To me, he didn't direct a single question [during the trial]...

- Did somebody ever apologize?

- No apology, no compensation - although I wouldn't accept it [eve if it were offered], what I needed & need is my son & not money, not even [the expenses of] his grave. We also paid for that. Only in the first trial, when they were bringing in Melistas, he looked at me & whispered "I'm sorry". But then he [went &] claimed that he shot form on top of the police truck. & how did the bullet follow an upward & not a downward trajectory as it should if he had shot from high up?

- Have you excused them?

- If I didn't have my daughter, I'd have become Papadosifos number two. [In 1988, Ioannis Papadosifos killed his son's murderer, Ioannis Venierakis, in the courthouse.] She's the one that kept me... I had to go on for her & for my husband. He, even to this day, doesn't want to talk [about the murder], it doesn't do him good. I've been, I'm strong by nature. nevertheless, when I was going to or coming back from workk, I was crying. How could I persevere having lost my son so unjustifiably & unexpectedly?

- Do you hate them?

- I feel no hate - only outrage.

- What made you go to Alexis' funeral?

- I didn't even think about it. I went spontaneously. As if I had to go. There was a lot of people & I walked into the graveyard. I'll go, though, another day, later on, to carry some flowers for the child & give Michalis greetings...

- Are there any words that you could tell to Alexis' mother?

- I wish there were. A nail in her life for a lifetime. Any strength [she can muster] will be found in her other child, but the empty spot cannot be filled... &, above all, to shut her ears towards anything that will be said about her kid. They has also said a ton about Michalis, even that he was lodging with his grandmother in Liosia [instead of with us], while none of his grandmothers was alive, & so many more... To justify an unjustifiable death!

- Would you like to meet her?

- Yes. But mush later on. She's now living through the world's greatest grief.

- What gives you strength today?

- The eyes of my 8-months-old granddaughter, which are identical to those of my Michalis...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Riot Info #6

There have been at least 5 solidarity marches this Thursday, December 18: one in Oaxaca (the courage! read a short report here), one in Skopje (see a short video here), one in Berlin (update anyone?), one in Amsterdam (largely successful, it seems: about 200 people, wound through the city center, went through the Greek Tourist Office & the Police HQ (!)), & another one in Seoul.

Masked infiltrators arresting a demonstrator (TVXS team, TVXS, Thursday)
[click for the video; dedicated to those who are still debating whether masked infiltrators "actually exist" - you're soulless, spineless, & crawling on all fours in your own filth; plus you're doing the people of this country a disservice]

Solidarity from Northern Cyprus (sent via email)

Dear Alexis,
Dear Comrades of Synaspismos,
Dear friends,

On behalf of New Cyprus Party, we want to express our deep sadness for the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos...

For more than a week, the Greek Youth especially, but not only the youth, but also a huge number of Greeks are on the streets to demand to get their future back. As YKP, we would like to send our warm solidarity message to all of you who fight for the future, who fight for another Greece, another Europe with all the Cypriot languages, yaşasın dayanışma, ζήτω η αλληλεγγύη, long live solidarity.

We have received the SYN Youth message, which says that; “These neoliberal attacks do not occur only in Greece. Across Europe young people are attacked by them. The EU policies promote precarity in labour and living conditions, advance the model of “Fortress – Europe” against migrants, and back up war in the name of “anti-terrorist crusades”. Young people across Europe must fight together against the policies that terminate our rights. We must fight together to take back our lives!”, so, we put our words and our hearts next to yours; may be not physically but all our feelings and dreams are with you...

We would like to inform you that, our Youth organization, YKP Youth and other youth organizations will organize a common demonstration, which was inspired by you, to condemn the police state policy of Turkey in the northern part of Cyprus (because the army and the police are directly under the control of Turkey) and show our solidarity to the Greek demonstrators, on 20th December in front of the Turkish Embassy in the northern part of Nicosia...

Once more, we send our solidarity message to all SYN members but especially to the brave young fighters who fight for all of us, for another Europe, against neoliberal policy, for more democracy, we are with you...

Comradely regards,

Murat Kanatlı
General Secretary of the Committee of YKP
On behalf of YKP and YKP Youth member

17 December 2008, Nicosia

These days are also ours... (Albanian Immigrants Infoshop)
[find the translation here]


We are soldiers from all over greece [it's necessary to not remark here that conscription is still active in greece & affects all males greeks; most or maybe even all of the people signing this are bound to be people who are serving their compulsory military service at the moment - not army recruits]. Soldiers who, in Hania, were ordered to stand against university students, workers & fighters of the antimilitary movement carrying our guns & a short while ago. [Soldiers] who are carrying the weight of reforms & of the "readiness" of the greek army. [Soldiers who] live every day through the ideological bullying of militarism, nationalism, unpaid exploitation & of submission to "[our] superiors".

In the army camps [we're serving at], we hear of another "isolated incident": the death, [caused] by a policeman's gun, of a 15-year-old called Alexis. We hear [of] it in slogans carrying over the camp's outer walls like a distant thunder. Weren't the deaths of three colleagues of ours in August also called isolated incidents? Wasn't the death of each one of the 42 soldiers who died in the last 3.5 years also called an isolated incident?

We hear that Athens, Thessaloniki & an ever-increasing number of cities in greece become fields of social unrest, fields where the outrage of thousands of youths, workers & unemployed is played out.

Dressed with army uniforms & "working attire", guarding the camp or running errands, [being] servants of the "superiors", we still find ourselves there [in those same fields]. We lived, as university students, workers & desperately unemployed, the[ir] "claypots", "accidental backfirings", "[bullet] deflections"; the desperation of precarity, of exploitation, of lay-offs & of prosecutions.

We hear whispers & insinuations from the army officials, we heard the government's threat, made public, about the imposition of an "alarm state." We know very well what this means. We live it through intensification [of work], increased [army] duties, extreme conditions with one finger on the trigger.

Yesterday we've been ordered to be careful & "keep our eyes open". We're asking: WHOM DID YOU ORDER US TO BE CAREFUL OF?

Today, we've been ordered to be ready & alert. We're asking? TOWARDS WHOM SHOULD WE BE ALERT?

You ordered us to be ready to impose a state of ALERT:

• Distribution of loaded guns in certain units in Attiki [where Athens is] even accompanied by the order to be used against civilians if they're threatened. (e.g. an army unit in Menidi, close to the attacks against the police station of Zephiri.)

• Distribution of bayonets to soldiers in Evros [along the turkish border]

• Instilling fear to protesters by moving platoon to peripheral army camps.

• Moving police vehicles to army camps in Nayplio-Tripoli-Korinthos for safekeeping.

• The "dopping" by the Major I. Konstantaros in the Thiva bootcamp concering the identification of soldiers with the storeowners whose property is being damaged.

• Distribution of plastic bullets in the Korinthos bootcamp & the order to shoot againts our fellow citizens if they move in "threateningly" (with respect to whom???)

• Positioning a special unit at the "Unknown Soldier" [statue] right across from the demonstrators on Saturday, December 13, as well as [positioning] the soldiers of the Nayplio bootcamp against the pan-workers demo.

• Threatening [the citizens] with Special Operations Units from Germany & Italy - in the role of an Occupation Army - thus revealing E.U.'s real, anti-workers/authoritarian face.

Police shoots targeting the present & future of social revolts. That's why they're preparing the army tot assume the duties of a police force & the society to accept the return to the army of the Reformers' Totalitarianism. They're preparing us to stand against our friends, out acquaintances & our brothers & sisters. They're preparing us to stand against our former & future colleagues at work & in school.

This sequence of measures shows that the leadership of the army-the police & the consent of Hinofotis (former member of the professional army, currently vice minster of the Interior, responsible for interior "unrest"), of the General HQ of the Army, of the entire government, of the E.U. directives, of the store-owners-as-infuriated-citizens & of the far-right-wing groups aim at utilizing the Armed Forces as an Occupation Army - aren't you calling us "peace corps" when you send us abroad to do the exact same things? - in the cities where we grew up, in the neighborhoods & the roads where we walked.

The political & military leadership forgets that we're part of that same youth. THhey forget that we're flesh from the flesh of a youth which is confronted with the desert of the real inside & outside army camps. Of a youth that's outraged, not subserviant; & most importantly, FEARLESS.


We won't accept becoming complimentary tools of fear which some attempt to instill over society as a scarecrow.
We won't accept becoming a force of repression & terror.
We won't stand against people whom we share that same fears, needs & desires/[the same] common future, perils & hopes with.


As a youth in uniform, we express our solidarity with the people who're fighting & we scream that we won't become pawns of the police-state & of state repression. We'll never stand against our own people. We won't allow the imposition of a situation in the army corps that will be bringing to mind "days of 1967" [when the greek army had his last coup d'etat].

A letter to our kids (indy.gr, 'fathers & mothers who want to be 15 yers old again', Friday)

Together!!!!! For the present which burns & is being burned!!!

We owe this to you!!! We owe this to us!!

This letter could have been serious. Or sweet. Or patronizing... The truth is that this letter does not know what it wants to be. It's being written... It started in order to say "thank you."
A big THANK YOU to all of you. Who are keeping us alive. Who didn't let us, don't let us "forget" what we have been, what we want you to be. We grew up, it's true. & we got fatter. A bit,. OK, a lot... We started involuntarily forgetting. But we didn't die. We owe this to you. THANK YOU for this chasm that you forged into our present. It ties the past of our dreams with the future of your dreams.

We'd also like to say a lot. But, we realized this [by now], we must shut up & listen to you for once (this letter has the tendency to address you in first plural, it's probably dreaming)... We want to listen to you. We want to listen closely & to learn. To learn again [how] to dream. To make you proud of us for once. To build an army of dreamers together with you...

Look what you've done... you've made us talk incoherently... like 15-year-olds: To build together with you an army of dreamers which will be multiplying dreams. Because dreams multiply once you believe in them like you [did]. & they can kill a dreamer, but they can neither kill nor incarcerate a dream. Because the dream has already taken flight. & it's well-known to everyone that dreams don't roam the skies for nothing, no, the dreams have a very clear destination: to lodge in somebody's heart. & there have always existed, exist & will exist those who embrace them, make them their own & multiply them. You're the living proof of that. Thank you. For embracing Alexis's dreams. Your own dreams. You allowed us dreaming again. Dreaming that the dream of a better, different world has not been lost. We need you. We're afraid of saying it-the world will turn on its head... we're the ones who have to be strong. But we're not...-, but we need you. Not [as in 'I need] my own kid['] but WE [need] YOU-this letter is crazy, it insists on [using the] plural.

We've believed in that other world, that better world. We're still craving it. It remains that we invent it. Without you, we [just] can't. With you, on the streets, we've learned to win against our fear. Our silence. Out numb comfort. Help us...

P.S.1: We're not an all-encompassing generic subject [-] "parents". We're specific men & women who're being shaken to the core by your momentum.

P.S.2: Don't badmouth our bald spots & our fat. A line must be drawn: We'll get angry... Better badmouth our fear. & teach us how to win against it. By doing so, you'll also learn something. &, all together, we'l build a new world. WE BELIEVE YOU!!!!
P.S. 3: We nearly forgot the biggest THANK YOU: for the flames sparked by your outrage which light the city's streets up with forgotten words & dreams. You're presenting us with the gift of the brightest New Year's Eve. THANK YOU!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Riot Info #5

A necessary remark before you get down to reading: this is not all that's happening in greece right now! (For example, I've not covered at all the many occupations of mass media which have been taking place the last few days.) I've work to do which cannot very well wait until "change has come," so I'm coping as best as I can with the continuous stream of information coming from whichever way. For more info, please visit some of the webpages linked below & ask people there to post translations of what they deem important - TVXS, athens.indymedia, & indy in particular is your best bet. & keep checking the UK indymedia central for english content.

& check out this (latest) summary report, too!

GSEE [General Confederation of Greek Workers] occupied by insurgent workers (athens.indymedia, Wednesday morning)
[the translation may be found here]

New Provo proofs of fascists and Police under cover pretending to be Rioters
[follow the link to the video; a similar version of the video has been uploaded here]

Witnesses tell of Greek police 'brutality'
[find it here & be outraged as well]

[This is] the end of what even they call democracy.

It's very hard to me to describe, much more digest, what happened in Syntagma square at midnight. That's where a bunch of people & school students were demonstrating. At some point, it seemed like they had even decided to camp out on the square, in front of the [statue dedicated to the] unknown soldier. They carried some tents to that spot & sat down quietly. Suddenly, platoons of blue[-clad] & [green-]clad [riot cops] started assuming battle positions. Some people who were there went to them to talk, to tell them to assume no ction, this this is a peaceful protest... The kids were doing absolutely nothing, this was one of the most peaceful actions of the last days. The blue[-clad cops] started spraying the kids simply sitting there with chemicals. An unbelievable scene. They pushed & cornered people at the opposite side, by the steps leading to their burned [Xmas] tree, & at some point the people started singing "Pote tha kanei xasteria" [a song with clear political liberatory connotations] & to yell "Junta." Till this point, 03:00, there are a lot of kids there & an unbelievable amount of platoons lined up throughout Syntagma square. To everyone in the region: be careful, they're arresting people.

(another account of the same events)

After the cops had surrounded the people (about 500 of them) from three sides, & when they saw that people were getting fewer & fewer, they started in a coordinated manner, provocatively, & unprovocated to march forwards [thus] forcing the kids to the stairs on the square. The Riot Squad occupied the entire street & they sealed off the people from the stairs &
on. All this was committed to tape by the zougla.gr camera (here).

Subsequently, people showed no intention of leaving. They sat down & were yelling slogans in front of the Riot Squad [human] chain. With pulse, at one moment "junta, junta," at another "democracy, democracy," yet another "burn this brothel of a Parliament," & sung "Pote tha kanei xasteria." There were about 300 people left.

Some isolated people were attempting to get back to the statue & the cops were pushing them off. Apparently, the cops wanted to go home, since their plan didn't wuite work out they way they wanted, since the kids are still there.

It's indeed typical of a junta mentality to force people sitting down, & in fact peacefully so, to leave a public spot. It's a gathering ban typical of a junta.

"Go home you fucking kids before I fuck you up," said &, a few minutes later, he kept his promise. The helmeted Riot Squad needed only 5 minutes - that's the time it elapsed since they showed up - to destroy what, earlier that day, some colleagues of theirs from YMET [another police team aki to the Riot Squad]. To initiate a dialog with the school students & to listen to them.

They turned the situation upside-down in Alexandras avenue, in front of the General Police HQ of Attiki, they beat up violently kids 13, 14 & 15 years old & sprayed chemicals on them manically, revengefully, on their face, yelling: "& this one is from me."

& that's how the sit-in for the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos turned into a problematic demo of exasperation & outrage with slogans against the police & stone-hurling until Kifisias avenue, only to break up in the back alleys of Mihalakopoulou street.

Not only did they provoke unrest, they also arrested school students demonstrating peacefully
Because, when the kids saw once again plain violence & a colleague of theirs being mercilessly beaten up by the Riot Squad men who were dragging him around & beating him up despite the fact that he did not resist in the least, they forgot what some men from YMET had told them earlier, that "not all are alike", that "if they could, they'd throw their shields & join the other side" etc.. They tried to help their colleague, from the Metaxourgio school, & to remove him from the hands of the platoon who had snatched him from the crowd. In vain. The school student found himself on the asphalt... gripped by the Riot Squad man who had achieved a headlock around the student's neck. & as soon as those who tried to help him were pushed back with chemicals & shields,he got sprayed in the face once again,whereas a girl got wounded in the head, presumably by a stone.

This was one of the two arrests yesterday noon in Alexandras avenue. The second one occurred a few meters before the Thon estate, on the traffic stream towards Kifisias avenue, & once again from among the crowd. There, where the platoons were pushing the school students.

"Excuse us for demonstrating for what has happened & we're not sitting [on our asses] like you do," some school students were yelling. At the same time that colleagues of theirs were setting trashcans on fire & were responding with stones, fruit & water bottles [hurled] at the police force who was swearing, spraying [chemicals], threatening & upturned everything in a peaceful demonstration just 15 minutes... before it was [scheduled to be] over, before the school students withdrew to discuss with their coordination committees.

Earlier, school students distributed flowers & smiles to the policemen outside theGeneral Police HQ of Attiki
"Why are you provoking? WHy aren't you stepping back? The kids will leave momentarily," a teacher was explaining earlier to the Riot Squad platoons who appeared & cordoned off the demo. To receive an offensive reply in the singular & ending with "re [common greek swearword]" by a Riot Squad cop. "Sir, I use plural & you reply in the singular & use 're'," the teacher reply to receive a "It's [people like] you who've been fucking with their minds." "We educate them. We teach them to be democratic citizens. To demonstrate peacefully sir," he added. But it was as if he had never said a thing... "They've never learned to talk. They only know how to beat [people] up," a student said to himself. At the same time that another teacher was screaming at the top of his voice "Dialooooooooog!"

Because throwing flour & yoghurt on the platoons was the excuse the "immobile soldiers" [another golden page in the V. Polydoras book of slander] - with a huge mouth - were looking for to make their threats true & break up violently a peaceful sit-in. That of the hundreds of... Alexis's who distributed flowers & some smiles to those who had cordoned off the General Police HQ of Attiki building - with their bodies, but also with police trucks - as if they would have been attacked by hordes of barbarians.

During the last few days, members of PASOK [the "center-left"/"socialist" party which is alternating with Nea Deimokratia (ND), the right wing party currently governing] have been overjoyed. The gallops had shown their party leading the race, even before...

... the revelation of the total inability of the government to manage the latest dramatic events. With ND on the verge of collapse, PASOK will win the popular vote in the next elections &, either in the first or the second round, will form a government.

Nevertheless, the current situation beras no relation to the "right-wing parenthetical remark" of the period '90-'93, when A. Papandreou's party [a.k.a., PASOK] got back on power following [then leader of ND] K. Mitsotakis' interlude. Not only because this is[, now,] a different country but because this time around the citizens will not vote for PASOK. They'll just vote against ND.

Today's tragic situation in which the country finds itself (her financial credibility is currently compared to that of african countries) has two sources. First, ND's management as a government; when the greeks realize how much harm was done in these last 4.5 years, they'll literally be flabbergasted. & it's not only because hospitals have no bandages & the therapists in psychiatric wings haven't ben paid in 6 months.

The tax-collecting mechanism has been fully disassembled: it could be that, in a few months, the state will have no money to pay the salaries of its civil servants. For example, the mass media have concealed or only minimally explained that last year's disastrous [forest] fires are neither due to the "general [as in the military rank] wind" nor to "disproportionate threat" [both of them are among then-minister V. Polydoras' most surrealistic moments; it could be funny, if it were not so criminally irresponsible as to deserve a good flogging], but to a paradigm-setting impotency which we saw in rerun during the last 10 days & in full swing.

The second source of the current crisis is, though, that most of the problems rotting right now were created or amplified during [the] PASOK [governments]. Starting from the occurrences of corruption (as far as the Siemens scandal [search for Siemens below] is concerned, [a PASOK] member shamelessly admitted that he was receiving money [from Siemens] on behalf of the party), passing to the miserable state of a paranoid, authoritarian, mock-for-free education (PASOK's [current] leader [G. Papanderous] is familiar with these, as he was minister of Education for a while), & ending with the anachronistic mess between the church & the greek state or [even] the health [system]: was not it Mr. Simitis himself [then PASOK leader & prime minister] that put the reforms in the public health system on hold which could offer citizens a decent hospitalization?

The deregulation of the social security system & the precarious working conditions, the crafting of the "700 Euro generation" all have their roots in the PASOK period. "In the events of the last few days, the range of the outrage & anger surprised us all," as G. Papandreou admitted in his yesterday talk. Normally speaking, he should have admitted that the outrage & anger were also directed against him & his party.

PASOK will receive a timebomb, which can only be inactivated through brave initiatives & radical break-ups with his own past. But, up to now, there has been no critical review of this past with all the positive & negative [elements] it contains. To the contrary, & independently of its leader's intentions, PASOK includes enough people which are dreaming about putting into effect the same old techniques qhich created the problems in the first place. This is the most certain way to hell.

Because, what with the the size of the[se] problems, the grace period of any government will last way too little: it will soon find face to face with a generation of young people which has only received serious education in a very specific direction: that of tear gas & stone hurling. & [also against] a society which neither wants nor can it be governed in the same way it was governed for 34 years [i.e., after democracy being reinstated in the country following the colonels' junta]. Are the people in PASOK justified, then, to be overjoyed? As much as somebody ready to receive a timebomb which may explode while in their hands is [justified to be overjoyed].

The recent events & the continuing mobilization in greece continue to be covered by the international press. [A] common axis [of the international publications] is that the unrest will go on & that the reasons behind the current events lies in chronic problems & weaknesses of the greek society which the current government has not managed to address.

The spanish newspapers cover the greek events extensively.

El Pais hosts statements made by the Rector of the [National & Kapodistrian] University of Athens Christos Kittas, who underlines that the youth is absolutely right to be demonstrating since the political forces ignore them.

La Vanguardia hostes statements made by Stelios Kouloglou [of TVXS], who estimates that the youth will rise globally & that greece was [solely] the first country to experience this. [He cites as a] reason the neoliberal model which marginalizes the youth.

ABC is also attributing responsibility for the recent events, remarking that the government is paying the price for the absence of reforms in education, [the] health [system], justice & the civil servant sector which[, neverhteless,] the government had promised in 2004. Regarding the fact that the first week from the death of the 15-year-old [Alexis] Grigoropoulos has been completed, it emphasizes that the government could have regained control of the situation if it had communicated its devastation officially to the youngster's family & [it it] had asked the police to simply be present without getting involved in violent activities.

La Razon estimates that the crisis will endure & suggests, as a solution, the resignation of the Karamanlis government. It also treats the subject of the repercussions that this situation will gave on the country's economy &, in particular, on the touristic sector.

[Some] characteristic excerpts:

Observer: «In Athens, the demonstrators of the middle-class are buying stones [to hurl, presumably]. Chaos has not ended.»

The paper's observer in Athens, following a 22-year stay in our country, states that the outrage expressed through the violence present in the [events of the] last days has impressed her. Her youngsters are far away from the characterization "extreme elements" that the prime minister has attributed to them & they offer a first-rate example for the entire planet, as it's pointed out in her article. The middle class children, which fight against a corrupt system without prospects, form the lubricant of the [mobilization] machinery.

"Even fanatic ND [Nea Dimokratia - the governing right-wing party]," Helena Smith who is signing the article points out, "called me to tell me they're deserting the [sinking] ship." Nevertheless, what with a prime minister who's refusing to announce elections, the country is doomed to remain strapped to the chariot of a "lame" government.

BBC: "The young generation bares its teeth."

Greece could've been the most successful country in Europe, if the country's social structure did not prevent personal value from being shadowed by personal relations. The paper also discusses the financial situation, on which the article's editor comments "Greece is a country with european prices & african wages." Malcolm Brabant, the editor, cranks it up a notch by attributing responsibility to [K.] Karamanlis for lack of reforms. "The bullet that killed Alexis also touched Karamanlis," he writes in particular.

Sunday Telegraph: "Why did violence & outrage shake the birthplace of democracy?"

Nick Squires, the newspaper's editor, characterizes the prime minister as an attorney [ahem - with a 6-month experience, may I add] without prior ministerial experience & points out that the Nea Dimokratia government, what with the scandals & the wrong moves, has managed to turn the euphoric picture of its early time as government on its head.

The [same] article hosts statements made by [greek well-respected journalist] Alexis Papahelas, according to whom the country is "undergoing a nervous breakdown" & is being led to self-disaster.

The newspaper also hosts statements made by demonstrators but also by store owners who saw their stores being wrecked.

Reports also [appeared] in turkish newspapers:

Ηürriyet publishes an article in which it's reported that groups of young people continuing to occupy the Polytechnic school released a communique in which they used an excerpt from a poem by Nazum Hikmet. In particular, "If I don't burn, if you don't burn, if we don't burn, how will light erupt from darkness?".

According to the newspaper, the unrest in Athens will not prove easy to quell down.

The Sunday edition of Zaman, in an article titled "Being a teenager" reports the recent events in greece on account of the 15-year-old's death & writes that, although the turkish right wing is also happy for greece's problems, while the left wing is envious, turks in general & irrespectively of political beliefs, sympathize with the greek youth which dares to revolt.

An opinion that the greek phenomenon might prove to be the catalyst for a world-wide domino od mobilizations is expressed in another article titled "Deflection." It also connects the recent tension with the global financial crisis.

The Committee for the Coordination of the Struggle of School Students in Thessaloniki decided, on December 14, to continue the mobilization this week. These include marches, occuptions, absence from schools, & the occupation of central avenues.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, the school & university students will demonstrate at 12:00 noon starting from the [E.] Venizelos statue. The schedule for Wednesday includes the occupation of central avenues & a march of PAME [] at 18:30 from the same starting point & which will be joined by parents & workers. Each school will decide on the shape of its demonstration through assemblies of the committees responsible.

The schools of Thessaloniki assume the initiative on Thursday & are putting on a concert at 12:00 at the [E.] Venizelos statue.

The official opinion of the Committee, as it was communicated in a press conference, is that it's against both the violence and [subsequent] murder of the student [Alexis] & the terrorism imposed by the "hooded ones" & is distancing itself from the disastrous unrest.

Marios Athanasiadis, who's in charge [of the Committee], states that the school movement has nothing to do with this unrest, as the marches are always well-guarded, & that the unrest is used as a alibi for the reinforcement of the repression imposed by the state.

In the spirit of mobilization, Aristotle University & a certain school at the Technical University of Thessaloniki have been occupied.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riot Info #4

Today I'm doing some work to take my mind off things & rereading excerpts from Matthew Collin's "This Is Serbia Calling" - the similarities between Belgrade's Winter of Discontent ('96-'97) & the current situation in Athens are surprisingly striking - not because they go deep (they don't), but because they even exist. (No one can or should even try to forget the serbian tanks, the fact that S. Milošević was a dictator having stolen the public's vote repeatedly, the fact that the country was at civil war at the time, & a number of other things - no reason to be naive here.)

Everybody's body clock seems to be running on double time here, too; people get flamed up just by talking about how to raise awareness in the public - the public, not just those politically involved! - about what's happening in greece at the moment.

Some translations will follow in the course of the day.

[A translation already appeared here - I just touched it up a little.]

The 15-year old Nikos R., Alexandros Grigoropoulos' friend that was with him [, Alexis, on the night of the murder] in Exarchia square, shoots down one-by-one the special guard's, Epameinondas Korkoneas, arguments to the effect that the tragic event was, presumably, an accident. "They didn't kill Alexandros. They murdered him in cold blood..." ha says at the end of his statement.

Nikos describes how they had gotten to Tzavella street & that they were not part of any other group, nor did they hurl the plastic bottle [to the patrol car/the special guards]. &, what's even more important, that the policemen aimed at the two kids using both hands which were having a bite in the pedestrian street. They were shot simply because they happened to be there.

The entire testimony of the 15-year-old, who miraculously survived, is the following:

I attend the first grade of high school at the Public High School of Psychiko. I knew Alexandros, or Gregory, as his nickname was, [deriving] from his last name, since the fourth grade of primary school. We used to attend the same school. We were not close friends until the first grade of junior high school. Since then, however, & until yesterday that they killed him, we were tight.

- Were you with Alexandros yesterday, on December 12, 2008 ?

Yesterday, at around 17:50, I went visited a friend [living] next to Larisis [train] station. Before going there, however, I had spoken to Alexandros. He had told me that he was going to attend a [water-]polo match... I told him to call me up when the game was over, so that we could meet at Mesologgiou street, in Exarcheia. He was going to attend the match with his friend Nikos F. and P. H. We used to meet there at regular intervals. We were intending to go to Faros Psychikou later on, to find our friends from our old schools, and entertain ourselves because as I was celebrating my name day yesterday.

- In the long run, Alexandros did call you when the game ended. Where was he going to go?

Yes, he called me and told me to get going and he'd set out as well from the athletic field [down to the city]... As far as I can see on my cell phone, the call from Alexandros came at 19:10.

- When did you meet Alexandros at Mesologgiou street in Exarcheia?

I can't exactly recall. About 45 minutes before the incident. I walked from my friend's house. I went up Ipeirou (if I am not mistaken), then took a right at the Museum, a left at Stournari until the square to the right, and Mesologgiou is 10 meters further down. I waited for him 3-4 minutes.

- What did you do when he came?

When he came, we went to a convenience store 10 meters further up and bought something to eat and two soft drinks... We went back to the sidewalk on Mesologgiou streeet to eat and discuss.

- Where exactly did you sit?

We sat there, by the entrance of an apartment building at the intersection of Mesologgiou street and Tzavella street, at the left side where one sees Zoodochou Pigis street. There exist, there, three railings on the walkway where you can sit. We sat there. (At this point, they show the witness a printed map of the area.) We ate what we had bought and suddenly, as we were talking, we heard a somewhat loud bang. Near enough to hear it, but far away enough to not understand what had happened. We didn't pay any attention...

- Did you see light accompany the bang that you're describing to me?

No, we didn't have eye contact with where the bang came from, as there was a wall in between... In order to see what happens on Navarinou Street, you have to get to the middle of the Tzavella Street's walkway.

After a minute and a half we heard, from 4 or 5 passers-by, that "the cops are coming, something happened...". So, out of curiosity, Alexandros and I went to the middle of Tzavella Street to see what had happened. A distance of 2-3 meters away... When we got to the middle of the walkway, we saw two police officers at a distance of 15-20 meters.

They were exactly at the intersection of Zoodochou Pigis and Tzavella street. One was taller than the other. Subsequently, they stopped at the intersection of the two streets... In front of us there was nobody else. Alexandros was in front of me and I was behind them and to the right. When the policemen stopped at Zoodochou Pigis and Tzavella street, they had their hands, left or right I don't remember, on their weapons which were in their holsters hanging from their belts. Someone from behind me tossed an empty plastic bottle which, naturally, did not reach the policemen. I forgot to tell you that, as soon as I saw the policemen, they started cursing at me and Alexandros, saying "We will f... your Virgin Mary [classic heavy-weight greek obscenity], come here and I'll show you who's tough around here" and things like that. The guys behind us were yelling "get back" and "go to hell..." at the policemen...

As soon as someone threw that plastic bottle, the policemen, both of them if I am not mistaken, removed their weapons from their holsters, aimed in front of them, that is towards where I, Alexandros, and the other person were, and three subsequent shots rung out. I forgot to tell you that I am sure that one of the two police officers was holding his weapon with both hands. I saw then - and I am absolutely certain - that the policemen were not shooting neither towards the sky nor towards the ground. They aimed at our side and fired!

Alexandros fell on the ground, if I am not mistaken following the first or the second shot, [&] at any rate certainly before the third one... Following that, I didn't quite know what was going on. People were yelling and some people lifted up Alexandros's t-shirt. I saw he had a hole in the middle of the chest and a little towards the heart. There was also blood running from the wound...

Let me also tell you that the policemen who fired, as soon as they saw Alexandros falling, took off. I don't remember towards which direction... Subsequently, EKAB [the ambulance] came and took Alexandros, dead. I say this because he had no pulse and there was blood coming out of his mouth...

- What where the light conditions at the place where the incident you described [occurred]?

Even though night had fallen, there was light from the street lamps on the poles which shed [light] and also from the shops... There was a single non-operational light bulb, to Alexandros' s left...

- Do you want to tell us something else among all that you know?

The only thing I want to tell you is that they didn't kill Alexandros. They murdered him in cold blood...

[Background: here]

From the very first day that the Town Hall passed to the hands of the citizens, members of the "Democratic" municipality board aligned themselves across the street for where the Town Hall is. They aligned - as always - as enemies of the local community, when that latter community is geared into action bypassing bureaucracy. The mayor, after having tried to end the occupation by force, suggested "assuming a respectful attitude towards democratic processes" that we stop by his office to explain to him what it is exactly that we request & that he, in the end, decides whether the occupation will go on or not. Since then, the mayor, board members, & various lackeys camped opposite to the occupied building transferring [the stage where] the valuable profession of sitting [on your ass is played out] in the cafe. Using either their big mouths or force & even ridiculous slanders regarding material damages that, supposedly, the building has suffered or will suffer, they're trying to provoke against the occupation. Meanwhile, the region is chokefull with secret agents on motorbikes which patrol the region or trying to mix themselves - unsuccessfully - with the crowd.

Obviously, they're not scaring us - we can only laugh at the way they drag their decomposition around.

As a reply to the cries about the fact that, unless various services function, the immigrants will be deported, those employed with a temporary contract will be left unpaid &, in general, that the universe will fall apart unless the occupation ends, we offer the following:

- Those employed on a temporary basis under "stage" clocked in as usually, during the first day, & even this didn't have to happen the next day since there's no employee of the Town Hall in it anymore.

- Inside the Town Hall, all the necessary bureaucracy so that those employed part-time get paid was taken care of.

The person "responsible" for the applications of the immigrants, after having accused that is those people will be deported because of us, & after having committed to showing up in order to do her job... never did.

Regarding the course of the children's theater group - the person employed by the municipality didn't even deign to inform the parents that she'll not show up - we suggested that a theater game takes place with the guidance of a theater education export who's participating in the occupation.

The members of the union of those employed by the municipality, which fully understand the reasons behind the occupation of the Town Hall, are the only ones which, through a sincere interest for our municipality, are here to facilitate & to guarantee any communication & understanding we can have with those "across," are being slandered at this moment through the municipal authority's unacceptable phrasing.

The reply to the culture of terror, which they have been trying to cultivate to the residents of the region for days on end, was the [amount of] popular participation in the open assemblies, as the Town Hall is open for the first time to all citizens. This is the first time that so many citizens participate in an essential & self-organized way through direct-democracy practices. Practices which are alive & such that, no matter how many little assemblies or pseudo-festivities they put together, they will not overcome the dynamic environment that developed in the last few days in out municipality.

& to finally put a full stop here: our target are not your storefronts but the storefront & the content of the system itself, of the repression, the exploitation, the subjugation & of fear.

Charged exchanges regarding whether Golden Dawn members participated in the Patra citizens' block during the unrest on Tuesday (night). Sharp missives from left forces.

Where there Golden Dawn members in Tuesday's demo or not? Plain citizens insist that they were not led to react by far-right elements, at the same time that everything points to that there has been a, minimal at least, push for a counter-attack, at a time where terror & outrage were alternating with a telltale frequency.

The mayor of Patras, Andreas Fouras, [& while] speaking yesterday in Radio Gamma stated that, when the citizens take the law in their hands, then society crumbles down, pointing out the following: "We, the community, should be turning the city into a warfield, when[/every time] the state cannot function in the appropriate way. It's obvious that Patras had problems in the last few days, & yet the police cannot solve them. If you look at the pictures of the moment at which citizens initiated their engagement against demonstrators, you'll realize that this concerns an organized core, & it's peculiar, to say the least, that it acted both in front of behind police forces. This does not classify the citizens & store owners of Patras into far-right legions, nevertheless, when any citizen takes law in their own hands, what follows is perilous developments. & this, given that history teaches us that, in similar occasions murders unfold ([Patranews] editor's note: Lamprakis, Temponeras). I ask you, though, what are we going t do tomorrow? Will citizens take law in their hands regarding the immigrant refugee camp or open air markets?" Additionally, Mr. Fouras underlined that the State owes to obtain a just state & a feeling of security which will be putting citizens' rights & quality of life on the frontline. "The message I'm trying to pass is that Democracy suffers when citizens put themselves up front (I do not mean the merchants who were defending their property), because then society crumbles down," Mr. Fouras said. In fact, yesterday morning, the existence of Golden Dawn flyers in the city center with anti-anarchist & anti-immigrant content fueled even further the flames. "The whole city was full of those flyers. The merchants defended their properties in a worthwhile manner, but I saw none of them hurling stones & such slogans as 'Anarchists, you sons of ...[whores].' That's what the organized ones did. Democracy & civilization can only support state authorities defending the citizens' security & property. In the history of this place, every time someone took law in their hands, there have been murders such as hose of Lamprakis & Temponeras," Mr. Fouras stated.

In hiw own statements, the head of the Achaia Prefecture underlined that "when the state, the government & the police are absent, what happened is inescapable. There has been an organized reaction by certain people who grabbed the opportunity, & these are none other than the 'Kalampokas's' & Golden Dan members. But they were not the only ones to react. They just took advantage the unrest to achieve their own goals."

TEDK's president [Regional Union of Municipalities & Communities] Grigoris Alexopoulos underlined the following: "Whoever saw the unrest, saw with their own eyes Golden Dawn members behind the Riot Squad &, subsequently, a large crowd of citizens who were mostly protecting their stores. God forbid someone stating that the citizens & the store owners went all the way to Agias Sofias & to KTEL [the bus station HQ] chasing the hooded ones. Those [who did] were Golden Dawn members." The head of the Prefecture was called up by the PASOK leader G. Papandreou, who asked for a debriefing over the situation in the city after the extensive unrest, underlining that he will inform the Prime Minister regarding the police force's stance.

SYRIZA's Achaia branch points out that "Patras was singled out for the employment of a specific [strategic] plan aiming at stigmatizing the youth movement & at stimulating conservative instincts which the government hopes for - in vain - in order to reverse the climate of total resistance which has come into play. In this attempt, the government cultivated, exploited & put into good use the justified agony of a sector of merchants & citizens, reviving the scarecrows of the anti-demonstrations & of the "infuriated citizens" & disregarding the many & various consequences & perils."

NAR [New Left Current] points out that "Since yesterday evening, the Kalampokas team, the infamous Centaur team that murdered Temponeras, made its appearance felt again with chains, knifes, & crowbars & they pretented to be protectors of the order & security! The serpent's egg is raising its head again!" while the Social Strugglers point out that: "Yesterday, lives were at stake for the coordinated action of the paramilitary, who didn't dare make their presence felt in Patras for years on end because they've painted their hands red with blood. That's why we had Golden Dawn members or other gangs in Patras. Throughout the night, a pogrom took place in the city. They kept ringing bells, sloganeering (communists, we'll turn you into soap etc.), hitting people & turning them into the police," while at the same time they atrobuted part of the blame to the mass media.

Approximately 300 persons have demonstrated on Friday, December 12, in the parisian night [&] close to the greek embassy in solidarity with the "600 euro generation" - a reference to the monthly salary of young greek employees. Responding to the call of organizations related to education & to the left (the students' union UNEF [National Union Of University Students of France - the call's here], school students' syndicates FIDL [Independent & Democratic Federation of High-Schools] & UNL [Natiional Union of High-Schools], MJS [Young Socialists' Movement], JCR [Revolutionary Marxists]...), they gathered in Auguste Vacquerie street (XVIe), a few hundred yards away from the Arc de Triomphe & close to the embassy, which security forces where barring them from accessing.

The demonstrators attempted to advance towards Place de l'Etoile, but they were repelled by the CRS [the french Riot Squad]. They sybsequently descended the Marceau avenue where they set up a barricade it was quickly dismantled by the police. From there, they ascaped to Champs-Elysées, which they blocked by means of construction site-type barricades & b forming a human chain. The traffic got completely back to normal around 19:30, the demonstrators dispersed, mostly getting into the metro.

According to the police, six were [apprehended &] detained, three [of them] for damages & [another] three for hurling items at the security forces. The spokesperson for the LCR [see JCR above], Olivier Besancenot, & the member of parliament Jean-Luc Mélenchon, founder of the party Parti de Gauche (PG [Left Party]), participated in the gathering. "The confluence between youths but also workers which exists dow there [in greece], maybe that's what we're missing at this time of CPE [the infamous 'first-job contract' law in france], we're in need of a new May '68," Olivier Besancenot stated. "We need a social & european mobilization & that's what we're getting at", he added. The militants of NPA [New Anticapitalist Party] which will officially see the light of day in January, held a sign on which one could read: "Down with Greek State terrorism & long live the greek people & [their] fight."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Riot Info #3

Some more translation & hopefully (?), in the course of a day, a summary of events.

I know that I owe you a lot. You gave birth to me, you gave me water, you fed me, you brought me up. You even loved me. That's what you say at least. Because things are slightly different.

You got me here, in a world where you were forced to abandon me every day & run to jobs. You got me here & then started looking for a place to park me in. You kept taking me to school &, because this was not enough, you kept sending me to a bunch of private tutors & lessons, plus you planted in me stress about my precarious future. Since my future was supposed to be so precarious, since you even made this planet dangerous, why did you get me here? What's my life? For those two hours of TV & video games every day?

I want to see the world, to spread my wings & fly & see everything in a single moment. I want to get out, to meet those others, to play, to entertain myself, to feel joy & not to care about the fact that tomorrow I'll be going to school without having studied. I want to dream a world where people won't be looking for a place to park me, where they won't be always having work to do, where it won't be dangerous to meet other people, where future won't be scaring me, where there'll be no masters & no slaves.

I watch your misery but I'm not used to it & I don't want to get used to it either. I won't bow my head just because you did. I don't want to become anyone's slave or master, I want to be left alone.

Those uniformed hound dogs don't scare me, I'm not afraid of them. You see in them a certain order & security. I'm the one to be taken for a ride, because I see perfectly well that this order is hypocrisy, & as for security, it's themselves that form the gravest danger.

They're the symbols of authority. Yours, that of the teachers, of the politicians, of the grown-ups that live this way. You learned how to live like this, I haven't. If they want to mess with me, so much the worse for them. They're hopeless & let this be imprinted in their minds. I'm outraged & dangerous. & there are many of us, girls & boys, we're everywhere, even within the murderers' homes. They cannot hide from us, no matter where they stand. In one way or another, we'll remain standing, they won't.

Don't be mad at me, I'm doing what you taught me to do. You told me that revolt is chaos & destruction. Now that I'm revolting, you'll receive chaos & destruction.

I love you. In my own way, but I do.

But I have to make my own world so that I live my own free life, & to do this I have to take down your own world. This is what's most important to me. To phrase it in your own language: this is my job.

In the beginning, they thought I was taken for a ride: in the last few days, various journalistic I'm friends with started calling me up. They're asking about the course of events & the reasons behind the unrest. So far, so good, but the final question is always [of a] different [sort]: "do you estimate that we'll have similar events in france or portugal as well?"

I'm not the most appropriate person to answer [this question], but my colleagues started passing on to me various interesting facts. The french EFEE [National Student Union of Greece] ([which] is not a ghost like our own one is) expressed its "solidarity" to the greek youth & placed itself "against police repression."

In fact, Le Monde wrote that predisenf [Nicolas] Sarkozy keep "one eye on the unrest in greece... The head of state & the person in charge of the government are afraid - without confessing it in public - mimetic [reactions]." According to a parliament member of the leading party, in fact, which dined together N. Sarkozy recently, the frence president told him, referring to greece, "that caution is needed so that they don't reach france."

What's interesting is that the identification of the peril transgresses party boundaries. The socialist former prime minister Laurent Fabius stated in EUROPE1 radio: "With such a financial crisis going on, such a widespread popular despair, a spark is enough to bring everything down, especially when one has a government which does not exhibit [any] understanding of the youth." The title of the relevant article in the station's website is "The greek outrage starts taking over Europe."

The discussion reached Berlin, where the Professor of Social Pedagogy [Arbeitsbereich Sozialpädagogik] of the University of Berlin [Freie Universität Berlin] Richard Münchmeier said that there's indeed a spark which has been transmitted to the rest of Europe, nevertheless those demonstrating are not numerous at this moment. Mr. Münchmeier added that all youths in Europe today basically have the same problems, because the prospects for the young do not seem good.

At the other side of the Atlantic, a similar article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, with correspondent accounts from Athens, Paris, Berlin & Madrid. The conclusion is that the unrest which has shaken greece reflects the increasing discontent not only of the greek youth, but also of the youth of other european countries, regarding the antiquated educational systems, the unemployment, the impossibility of finding jobs with social security benefits &, in general, the pessimism for the future.

As if all this were not enough, on Wednesday evening solidarity actions to the greek youth took place in Madrid & Barcelona, which were accompanied by attacks to a police station & a bank.

Two things are underway. Either the greek anarchists of SYRIZA [Coalition of the Radical Left; in the wave of populism drowning greek politics for years on end, this particular party has been accused by certain political leaders of sheltering the "hooded ones"] have branched off to Spain. Or, something goes wrong with the social model that's being employed in Europe during the last years.

The 11 underage arrestees of Larisa, all of which are between 14 & 16 ears old & were arrested in the wake of the unrest in the city center of Larisa on Monday evening, will be tried according to the terrorism law.

The arrestees were temporarily released under [the usual] provisions [they're probably not allowed to leave the country & are obliged to report to some PD or other every once in a while the article doesn't mention the provisions though], following a confluence of opinion between the district attorney & the magistrate, while they will be tried by the Three-Member Misdemeanors Court of Athens for Underage Persons, at a time that will be set in the following days.

Each one of them faces charges for recurrent revolt, for removing &/or destroying documents &/or other objects entrusted to the greek state, damaging, arson, objurgations [against the police, apparently], criminal gang, larceny & violating the law concerning weapons.

A solidarity committee for the underage arrestees, which was put together yesterday because of this exact event, commented that "such charges have not even been put together for November 17 [the terror cell]."

This is the condition in which the youngster was taken to the magistrate. Claypot, claypot, we know!
The... robust proof used by a policeman, who arrested a youngster last Monday during unrest, were a "dark [motorbike] helmet" & a "jacket with a brown fur hood." The youngster's attorney denounces [such tactics] through [his statement] "using arrests of this sort, they are attempting to get even on the issue of the two special guards" - the youngster faces 3 crimes & 3 misdemeanors, while yesterday it was decided by the magistrate that he, together with another 4 arrestees, should be temporarily detained.

The policeman's affidavit speaks for itself - he mentions that, amidts "molotov bombs, stones, bottles, planks & various other objects being hurled," he managed to imprint that "in between those attacking were two persons, one of which was wearing a dark [motorbike] helmet & a jacket with a brown fur hood. The other one, short, dark skinned, had a goatee on the chin & was wearing a checkered light coat." In fact, as he stated, [&] two hours after the first visual contact, the platoon arrested at some other point "a group of about 30, among whom [were also] the two persons I described."

Yesterday, at any rate, the magistrate decided that all 5 arrestees be temporarily detained, whom have been charged for crimes relating to "explosion," "violation of the law concerning explosive devices" & "conscious attempt to inflict grievous bodily harm" & for the misdemeanors "disruption of public peace," "damaging foreign property" & "larceny."

One of the attoreys of the 6 youngsters, Fr. Ragousis, commented upon their detention: "We were hoping that Justice would not become the long-reaching claw of the forces of repression. There were police lineups without the procedural right." Similarly, the other attorney, G. Gountounas, reported that "Today, Justice essentially acted as a public relations officer of a government ready to collapse. The file put together includes no photographs, it's a void file, but still 20-year-old kids charged with protesting were detained. & this [happened], because it was [deemed] necessary to get even for the murderers."

4 more youngsters, arrested the day before yesterday close to the Polytechnic & charged with arson, were taken to the magistrate where they were given a deadline [to prepare their affidavits]. Among them, only one confessed that he was, indeed, hurling stones at the policemen, while the way that a youngster looked was indicative of the way in which arrestees are treated - the youngster appeared to had been beaten up mercilessly.

At any rate, the magistrates' offices were crowded yesterday, since - apart from those labeled as "rioters" & "hooded ones" - about 30 immigrants among those arrested during the unrest, most of them Iraqis, were in those offices for the crimes of "gang formation" & "larcenies."

Cops pigs murderers.

The heroic Riot Squad & OPKE [Groups of PRevention & Repression of Crimes] forces arrest & beat up 12- & 15-year-olds mercilessly during the attack they attempted in Korai street before the march had even started.

They attacked from all sides & arrested as many school students as they could plus anyone shouting "don't beat the kids up!"... 4 uniformed [pigs] captured a female school student, they put handcuffs on, & dragged her, kicked her, clubbed her, & hit her with their shields while tugging at her arms handcuffed behind her back.

They trambled another student underfoot. A Riot Squad [pig] was sitting on his back & a second one with his knee on his face... while a third one was sneaking punches in, as he was putting the handcuffs on.

They snatched a lady's daughter & were dragging her on the street, they were beating up anyone reacting, they attacked - as if plagued by rabies - journalists, photoreporters & cameramen, syndicalists of OLME [Greek Federation of State School Teachers of Secondary Education], university & school students but [also] mothers & fathers & other citizens that were wedging themselves in between the Riot Squad & the kids to protect the latter. They were threatening us that they'll kill us together with the 15-year-olds by shaping their hand as a handgun...

Photos & video from the brutality of the Riot Squad on the school students, from the ΕΚΑΜ [Special Repressive Antiterrorist Team] appearance in the Parliament, & from the clashes in the Law School of Athens follow [follow the link].

It goes on... day & night

A society in denial (personal rant)

To kick off with a necessary disclaimer, I haven't turned into a political analyst overnight. To the contrary, my knowledge of political theory is very limited & either too bookish or too cartoonish, plus I always seem to not comprehend &/or leave out some important details. If you choose to read what follows, then, do not take anything for granted - do your own research & form your own opinions, don't take it from me. (More importantly: instead of reading the entire ranting below, read the translations I point out in it, those articles are really insightful.)

Those in need of overviews & summary reports on what has been going down can find a couple here, here, here, & elsewhere (follow links around). Most of these are compiled by people not in greece at the moment, which means that they're not eyewitness accounts of events but rather compilations of such accounts, political analyses, & what have you. There are certain things that have become clear - & not to me only - in the last couple of days; in my view, they can be summarized along the lines of "a representative segment of the youth is revolting; the state & the mass media remain in denial."

For one thing, the state-sponsored myth that the unrest is due to the "usual familiar unknowns" & to the "special circumstances" prevailing in the Exarchia quarter has collapsed with a loud bang: K. Raptis did an outstanding job there, in an article penned in Sunday (!) already (seek a translation below; the original is here). (As an occasional reader of greek newspapers, I can certify that this level of clarity of thinking - & of honesty - is not a commonplace occurrence in greek journalistic circles.) The same is true of S. Kouloglou's analysis early Tuesday morning (seek a translation below; original here) - both correctly, I believe, identified this as the tip of an iceberg: concealed beneath the surface, real, very-very real anger was fueling the first reactions. Further, it was clear from the beginning that the revolt did not even only specifically concern anarchists or leftists or what you want to call them; this is another (also state- & mass media-sponsored) myth which simply holds no water. In fact, it did not even concern these groups to a larger extent than other groups of citizens, despite the sentimentally charged central place Exarchia assumed in the story: the police station attacks carried out exclusively by school students (particularly the Sunday attack in Thessaloniki), the 5,000 people demonstrating in Patra yesterday against the outrage of the local police working side by side with neonazis (neonazis! honestly, can you wrap your head around this?), the reports concerning elderly citizens hurling lemons at the Riot Squad or of an old man in crutches standing face to face with the Riot Squad or of somebody in suit-&-tie trying to reclaim a 15-year-old from the police force's grip, all these testify that the common people feel an ignominy at the way their own state treats them that has little to do with political affiliations (or the absence thereof). The fact that anarchists & leftists got involved into this may well be because these people understand solidarity (& often have a heart) as well as they understand police brutality & repression. Were even more members of PASOK (the center party in greece) not remorseless strategists or scared-shitless-middle-class-members (depending on their position in the party), they could have participated equally well in the demonstrations, as this murder affects them as much as anybody else.

The government, instead, has been trying - up to this very moment - to blame all of this on one or another conspiracy theory: from minister of the interior P. Pavlopoulos' statement "image is one thing & reality is another" (had he replaced 'reality' by 'content,' he could at least have applied for the Most Misguided Situationist Quotation Award) to K. Karamanlis' statements about (unnamed) political forces which stir up trouble (correct; such as his own party's murderers, members of the Kalampokas team - seek below for the background -, which were reportedly spotted in Patras back in action). & my personal favorite: P. Pavlopoulos claiming - on Monday evening! - that the government has made the city safe; a reporter asking, not bothering or not managing to hide the disdain in his voice, how is it possible that he claims such a thing at a moment when the President of the Republic has to spend the night in the presidential building because it's not safe for him to be transported back home; P. Pavlopoulos' answer: I claim that the city is safe because it is safe. This is not only about the obvious tautology; even his first sentence is flawed, as if the issue were the fucking government! The center is getting looted & this jerk can only think of his government! Bush Jr. got shit about the now infamous photo of him looking down on New Orleans from his jet plane in the wake of the Katrina disaster; can you imagine even him coming out & defending his government without a word about what that government has actually done or is going to do to relieve those affected?

What's basically so interesting about this whole situation, were you to sit back & think about it idly (& from a certain, comfortable in its shoes, middle-class perspective), is exactly the aforementioned ignominy: a 15-year-old gets shot, people take to the streets - immediate result: people get beaten up brutally. (Recall the SKAI radio correspondent who went berzerk on Sunday, as he watched multiple men of the Riot Squad beating up, instead of arresting, a 15-year-old in the center of Athens; recall his words: "They've learned nothing! Nothing!") People flood the streets again; not only do they get beaten up again, the police decides to collaborate with the shadow state (yes, the neonazis!) & the mass media decide to call the latter "infuriated citizens" - as if this were the '50s & the '60s all over! Additionally: cops take out their guns & point them at demonstrators, while yet other cops shoot in the air - one dead boy is clearly not enough (yes, they HAVE learned nothing!). The district attorney who, apparently, plans to absolve those responsible for the "claypot incident" (search for it below), suggests that the special guards be allowed to walk free. On Monday evening, the government sends a clear message to the looters that no crackdown is scheduled for before Tuesday noon - immediate result: that same evening, the city center is looted to an extent that makes people think of Los Angeles in '92. Also, there's a whole shitload of pictures out there of "hooded ones" embedded in the police force (yes, I do believe that these are the same hoods that smashed things up in the city center; do you have a better explanation? Does the police have a better explanation? If it is, what is it?) & still more mind-boggling stuff, such as: the minister of the interior is all smiles off camera (or at least when he thinks he's off camera). & even more: on the night of the murder, the minister of educational affairs S. Stylianidis (who, in my view, is perfectly unfit for any post related to educational affairs) enjoys an evening out (heavy duty, too: in a club with live music); the next day, he attends a football match.

& this still remains the tip of the iceberg. Recall that, in the last year & a half only, the people living in the country have gone through:

(a) forest fires, who left .... acres of charred forests & about 100 people dead;

(b) the revelation that minister of culture (ha!) G. Voulgarakis became a millionaire overnight (actually, in the last 4 years);

(c) the same minister's reply to a newscaster's question (loosely amounting to "granted that what you did was legal; was it also ethical?") that ethical is identical to legal; in a country where I don't recall any minister having even being charged by a court of law with corruption/profiteering, this amounts to ethical is identical to achievable: if you can pull it off, you're doing fine;

(d) an immense scandal involving officials (reportedly high in the hierarchy) handing over vast amounts of state property to the church (the same church that refuses to even sum up its possessions - much less reveal them - & is exempt from taxes, although the church functionaries are paid by the greek state);

(e) the Siemens scandal, where it was revealed that pretty much everybody with influence, in both ND & PASOK (the two major political parties in greece), was on the take; & as there's no free lunch, Siemens was getting a preferential treatment in state affairs - much like selling tax money short & pocketing the net amount.

Finally, as S. Kouloglou & K. Raptis among others pointed out (as even L. Fabius pointed out; see above), all of these affairs (which have monopolized the front pages for weeks on end & thus were highly visible) occurred in a country where people in their '20s are employed (if at all) at a starting salary of as low as 660 euro (Athens is far more expensive than Berlin, for example, & comparable to, maybe, Amsterdam - apart from housing at least). Without social benefits & maybe without vacation - certainly without prospects; often forced to meet their employer halfway & get part of his/her contributions for social security/retirement plan as cash instead. Immediate result? What else: people lodging with their parents until into their 30's; people scared shitless to graduate, as their prospects are nil; people who are dying to get into the civil servant sector, i.e., get on the government's tab (in a country where that particular sector is already overgrown); people who get on that sector as temporary employees & spend years (literally) waiting for their salaries.

How, then, could one be surprised that these people revolted? Every single response of the government to the events in the last few days has added insult to injury, much like the humiliation many greeks must feel reading their Sunday paper of choice or turning on their TV & reading/seeing the same people that condemn them to precarity amass immense fortunes by selling short the citizens they have been elected to represent. (I know that this is what made me add 'occasional' to my self-description 'reader of greek newspapers' - that feeling I get of some corrupt, remorseless, insatiable bastard pointing at me through the pages & laughing in my face every time I read about multimillion deals & compare it to emails I receive from friends living in greece.)

Meanwhile, leaders in the rest of Europe apparently turn their heads south to size up the situation. The prime minister K. Karamanlis, who's in Brussels today, has reportedly conferred with his equals regarding the possibility of the riots spreading to the rest of Europe. S. Kouloglou wrote, once again, an excellent article regarding this issue (seek a translation above). Those who gathered to protest in The Hague (&, as I learned yesterday, also in Paris & maybe even elsewhere) had time to observe the reaction of the mass media & decipher what they observed: at least one TV crew in The Hague, at least one interview with a journalist in Paris (regarding the fact that the ambassador did not even deign to meet with the protesters) - net result: zero television time in the first case (& only sporadic, dried-out mentions of the incident in the local newspapers attributing the march solely to greeks; we don't want to plant fancy ideas in the queen's subjects, do we?), no mention of the ambassador incident in the second one. Even worse, the dutch conservative newspaper NRC Handelsblad did publish some articles which were simply revolting - representative sample (last paragraph): " The hooligans [it's a time honored tradition of dutch newspapers to stripping everyone protesting of any ideology by calling them a hooligan] have caused, i the past few days, damages of approximately one billion euro. 3,000 people face losing their jobs, because the stores [where they work] must stop or move. Some fear losing a quarter of their turnover during this month of big celebrations. Meanwile, the same protesters scream about the economy shrinking." A very dutch logic, indeed: work, get paid, live happily, let those who know better take big decisions [the benelux governments bailed out Fortis recently, which cost 11 billion euro; hardly anybody bat an eye]. They left out the distressing fact that people in greece don't quite get paid enough to live happily - greece is not the netherlands: get a clue.

Thankfully, some foreign mass media start getting a clue. Previous attempts clearly didn't hit the spot: I'm still laughing with BBC's article; not that it's that bad, but did anyone really believe that the explanation "rebellion is deeply embedded in the Greek psyche" would settle the question once & for all? Sounds good, but fit for a novel, not for a political analysis. Others were performing even more sloppily, reproducing state propaganda (all dutch papers on Monday which made a mention to the riots, for example), focusing on the number of cops wounded (CNN), & of course absolutely everybody interprets absolutely everything in economical terms (this is the modern agenda, after all - economy provides the setting, period). Well, this latter tendency won't leave any reports any time soon, but at least journalists seem to be doing their homework a little bit better, focusing on what lies under the stone-hurling & the massive demos - even in NRC somebody got off their ass & decided to look into the G700 phenomenon (known to the rest of the world as precarity). At the same time, it could be that the mobilization assumes a more (?) strategically sound form, with an announcement from the Polytechnic putting forth political demands (seek a translation below) & TV & radio station occupations; it's hard to tell, & half of the the leftists seems to be rejoicing with the fact that the revolt has had no leaders, while the other half with the fact that a strategy develops (don't forget that the greek movement is rather fragmented).

That's it, let's get back to some translations...

P.S.: We've even reached the point where a picture such as this one, published in the NY Times, doesn't even raise an eyebrow - what's wrong with it? The cop holds his truncheon wrong side up, a fact that created a steer in the past (& is explicitly prohibited, of course, as the handle of the truncheon has absolutely no protective coating...)!