September 28, 2022

News Cymru

Two sides to every headline

Usually the 28th of October is day of celebration for the whole of Greece with the largest event being the military parade in Thessaloniki. In 2011 however things were different.

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In 2011, “Oxi” day was a scene of mass demonstrations and mass public disobedience and shows of disrespect to the ruling class throughout Greece.

In my mind, the 28th of October was thee day for the people of Greece to voice their dissent over what looks to be a takeover of the country by foreigners.

Considering the thousands of Greeks that died in the WW2 to defend Greece from foreign occupation it was entirely appropriate for Greek to voice their dissent on this day.

Those brave men and women who fought for Greece in WW2 were the Greek citizens, the people who are protesting on the 28th of October are also Greek citizens. They are the same people, they are Greeks.

But unfortunately the Greek people have come under widespread condemnation by the political class in Greece for the resistance to what they see as a country given up its soverigny to foreign countries and foreign entities.

The PASOK regime are constantly reminding the Greek population that the measures in Greece are out of their control, that the austerity measures in Greece are not of their doing, that the PASOK regime is being forced into these austerity measures by foreign countries and yet when the Greek people protest at the relinquishing of control of their own country to foreigners the PASOK regime says their actions are uncalled for.

Athens News covers reaction by some of the political class

Re George Papandreou the article says

Arriving at Agios Nikolaos, eastern Crete in order to attend a Socialist International committee meeting, Papandreou condemned the incidents in Thessaloniki and elsewhere as an expression of autocracy, saying that all Greek society condemns such actions.
“Autocracy is the attempt by some people to impose their opinions, interrupting parades,” he said, noting that those responsible were seeking to divide the Greek people and to harm democracy and the country’s democratic traditions. (AMNA)

The “Citizens Protection Minister” who only a few months ago stated that he should be protected from the citizens

Citizen protection minister Christos Papoutsis on Friday condemned those responsible for the incidents that marred parades celebrating the October 28 national holiday, saying their actions were an attack on democracy.
“On the day to commemorate and respect the heroes that fell for Freedom and Democracy, a small handful with a stunted sense of social and political responsibility chose to organise their action and acts in an attempt to humiliate the institutions, the Nation and the people,” he said.
He described those behind the incidents as ‘Fascist minorities’ seeking to impose their opinion and presence by force and to incite division at a time when the people needed unity.
“They chose to insult the President of the Republic, the chief institution of the Constitution,” he added, noting that current president Karolos Papoulias had been associated with the people’s struggles for freedom, democracy, national dignity and social justice throughout his life. (AMNA)
The incidents at parades throughout the country on Friday were a sign of the “great popular rage and opposition to the government’s policy,” the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement later in the day.
It stressed that it was the inalienable right of people to demonstrate their opposition and fight with the terms of a mass movement to overthrow a policy and authority that was sacrificing them for the interests of those that exploit them.
According to the Democratic Left, however, the prevention of the parades were “actions that ruined the country’s public image” and were an insult to an important national holiday symbolising the fight against Fascism. (AMNA)
The leader of the opposition in Greece  also commented
At the same time, he criticised those responsible for the incidents and said they had hurt the country’s national pride.
“Those rejoicing at having injured our national holiday should know that they themselves hurt our national pride, they have themselves blackened the image of all Greeks, themselves insulted the memory of our heroes,” he said.
And arguably the most respected man in Greek politics, the President of Democracy, Karolos Papoulias was visibly shocked by the scenes he saw in Thessaloniki
“I am deeply saddened. They should be ashamed. I came here to honour Thessaloniki and some people did not want the parade to take place. I fought for my country at 15. They cannot call me a traitor,” an emotional Papoulias told reporters shortly before he left the parade.

The majority of the statements show a number of things, either

1. The political class in Greece is in complete denial

and/or

2. The political class in Greece have not been listening when Papandreou and Venizelos come out and say they are not in control of the country

and/or

3. The are fully aware of the truth but insist on continuing the charade in the hope the Greeks will “get on board” and “pull together for the sake of the country”

and/or

4. Insist  on regurgitating the government propaganda in the hope the citizens will come quietly

Whichever of the points are true none of them are excusable in a supposedly democratic society.

If I can go back and analyse each of the comments.

First of all Papandreou

He says, “all Greek society condemns such actions”, this would definitely be in the “living in denial” camp, obviously all of Greek society does not object to the demonstrations because if they did there would be no-one demonstrating and in fact you can go one step further, if  “all of’ Greek society” condemns such actions, where were the Greek citizens to clear the way for the parades?

From the videos I have seen the exact opposite of Papandreou’s reality is true, all Greek society supports such actions and the only thing being condemned is his political regime

Papandreou went on “Autocracy is the attempt by some people to impose their opinions, interrupting parades,” he said, noting that those responsible were seeking to divide the Greek people and to harm democracy and the country’s democratic traditions. (AMNA)

Either Papandreou is completely and utterly out of touch with the world around him or he does not understand the definition of Autocracy.

Never in the history of the world could mass popular demonstrations by the people ever be called Autocratic. His actions on the other hand, whereby he passes bills which are without doubt,  against the wishes of the majority of Greeks he is supposed to represent, he is the definition of an autocratic leader.

Papandreou also somehow believes the peaceful demonstration is somehow damaging to democracy and also damaging to the countries democratic traditions.

For Papandreou to say such things shows not only open dishonesty and /or misunderstanding of the word “democracy” but also that he wishes to manipulate people’s perception in a way that tries to deny that the feelings of the people have value. By denigrating people’s feelings he is trying to emasculate the population and to crush their resistance.

Christos Papoutsis comments also denigrates people’s feeling and opinions

He is quoted as saying “a small handful with a stunted sense of social and political responsibility chose to organise their action and acts in an attempt to humiliate the institutions, the Nation and the people,” he said.

Video coverage of the protests show this was by far from a small handful of people. While he is correct that the goals of the protests were to humiliate Greek institutions and specifically the political institutions the protests did not, in any sane persons mind, humiliate the Greek people or the nation of Greece, in fact the opposite.

The people who died fighting for Greece in WW2, the people who are honoured on the 28th of October would be the same people protesting and blocking the marches today.

Perhaps the most striking images from the day was the shock expressed on the face of the President. He has clearly been unaware of the feelings of the Greek people with regards to the current economic climate. While I do not believe the protesters were implicating him in the current austerity measures I believe they were giving the President a wake up call with regards to what is happening in the country, a wake up call which he looks like he needed.

Perhaps the President will make some sort of official statement regarding the protests in Thessaloniki, time will tell.

For me the most striking thing that validated all the protests on the 28th of Ocotber 2011 came from Manolis Glezos

However, the protests were applauded by WWII resistance hero Manolis Glezos. The former leftist politician

“What happened in Thessaloniki restores the true meaning of October 28,” he told ANT-1 TV. “Seventy one years ago our people said ‘no’ to subjugation and today the people are saying ‘no’ to our country becoming a protectorate.”

 

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