Another Merry Week in Greece: A diary in fragmented parts to come

published originally at Critical Legal Thinking
by Athina Papanagiotou and Thanos Zartaloudis • 17 December 2014

04.12.2014 | Thanatopolitics is an everyday spectacle

The head of the Hellenic Police decides to ban public gatherings for two days (05.12 and 06.12). The formal cause of this decision was the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister in Athens.

The Athenians are becoming accustomed to such ban orders. On the 6th of December 2008 a policeman had assassinated a 16 years old boy, Alexis Grigoropoulos. The teenager died in the arms of his friend, Nikos Romanos. Nikos Romanos, an anarchist prisoner is, on this day, on hunger strike, for 25 days, demanding an educational leave from the prison he is held in, in order to be able to attend his University courses. The solidarity movement for his cause strengthens by the day. Romanos, convicted of an armed bank robbery (and pending alleged terrorist links investigations), becomes the center-​stage for all parties to stress their ideological footprints. A stage, for thanatopolitics. This soil is watered by tragedies, staged and real.

06.12.2014 | Parkour parachutist regiments attacking us from everywhere

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In Athens and smaller cities across Greece, police wildly attacks demonstrators, who protest for Romanos’ rights and also in memory of Grigoropoulos. Raw violence against protesters is once more the norm, wanton arrests as well as planted evidence by the Greek police that were recorded and reported by journalists and demonstrators to no effect. Although the abuse of power and the cruelty of police were profound in evidence even of officially released videos by the Police, the Greek Mass Media continue to deny or restrict coverage.

Instead, on a tragicomic turn of fate, one (Ant1 Television Channel) of their televised presentations talked about the attacks of anarchists and protesters against the police by focusing on what they described as,

a flying army squad of anarchists, or better… a parachutist regiment, which attacked police by performing skilled parkour on the terraces of buildings. […] while throwing hundreds, or maybe… thousands, of Molotov bombs.1

Blatant propaganda, hilarious joke or mere spectacle, which does not aim to convince anyone, but instead to occupy every possible opportunity for reflection, that could possibly produce an even momentary affirmation of the possibility of questioning the media, the politicians and engaging in some form of action against it all.

07.12.2014 | Hunger striking at the heart of Athens

In Syntagma square, situated directly opposite the Greek Parliament, hundreds of Syrian refugees have camped out. Some of them refuse to eat and go on hunger strike, demanding political asylum somewhere else in Europe, in order not to be entrapped in the uncertain, inhumane and dangerous swirl that is the asylum procedure of the (Greek) asylum system. In the heart of Athens, they ask civilized Europe for the protection of their dignity. Europe is where it is not, a fundamental, initial alienation at its very heart. An MP of the Syriza Party joins out of solidarity the hunger strikers, whether for genuine reasons or not, but the propaganda machine did indulge everyone watching for a few days as to whether the plastic bag he had next to him while lying on the ground with the protesters contained food or cigarettes… Once more we were served important matters to consider…and Christmas, after all, must go on.

08.12.2014 | Calife A La Place Du Calife

The Greek government announced the engagement of the constitutional procedure for the presidential election on the 17th of December. Suspicions are rumored as to how this was perhaps under a direct order of the TROIΚA. Whether true or not the damage is done. The current parliament appears not to be able to elect a President, a fact that would lead to snap elections shortly after. The candidate is Mr. Stavros Dimas. Another indifferent and harmless presidential candidate. It is not just Christmas but many other shows that must go on.

The speculative markets reacted almost automatically, if not suspiciously preemptively, leading the Athens Stock Exchange to extended losses. MPs and Ministers begin the dance of terror. For some, an invincible argument to give in to the pressure of yet another sacred Grexit. Or as a Greek adage says: Fear protects the unguarded. Better fear than not! The Greek Prime Minister said, basically: Fear, Fear, Fear. Does one always have to choose between fears?

10.12.2014 | Who’s Bad?

The Greek parliament gives a controversial legal solution on the demand of Nikos Romanos, a 21 years old anarchist inmate, who was by now on the 31st day of hunger strike. Electronic tagging as proposed is formally now a part of the Greek Correctional System. Instead of interpreting and applying fairly the current Greek Correctional Code, a new Bill was seen as necessary to be passed to give…yet another unclear solution. Romanos stops his hunger strike. The Greek Media have spent the whole week asking: is Romanos a monster or not? Should he not be buried in a wonderful Greek prison that functions also as a state of the art 19th century museum?

11.12.2014 | Yes, Minister

The Prosecutor proposed that former Finance Minister of Greece, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, appears before the Special Supreme Court, charged with misconduct and document falsification. He is accused for removing files from the C. Lagarde List of tax evaders to protect his listed relatives, before passing it on to other members of the then government. He was the one who signed the first memorandum between Greece and IMF and the mastermind executor of the first austerity measures. The same year, the Financial Times ranked him as the eighth best European Finance Minister, because:

He stayed cool while negotiating harsh fiscal and structural reforms […] but the 49 years old has failed to reorganize the tax system.2

The latter is true. The cool finance minister failed to recognize the significance of taxation as to his family and friends. It is, incidentally, people like that who, for the most part, have been governing Greece since the 1980s, at least.

All Photos: © Orestis Seferoglou / Photo-​journalist

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