Athens: Nightmare before Christmas

, by Sarantis Michalopoulos

Athens: Nightmare before Christmas

During the last days Athens has faced an unprecedented threat in its interior. A series of riots have broken out all over Greece having as an epicenter the Greek capital.

The superficial reason for the elation of violence was the unjustifiable shooting of a 15 year old boy by a policeman in the centre of Athens. Since then, the country has surrendered in the hands of uncontrollable social groups which have been weakening the Greek infrastructure for days, the blind violence the international media are concerned about.

Analysts mention that this destruction is considered to be the biggest one, since the demonstrations of 1974, where Greeks protested against the dictatorship. The Greek press has termed it “Black Christmas”, but objectively speaking no one is really interested in this Christmas. On the other hand, where we all have to focus our attention on is avoiding the “Black Future”.

Extreme isolated social groups taking advantage of the child’s assassination provoked irrevocable damage to the biggest cities in Greece. By using the unfair assassination as a legitimizing basis, these groups ruined the local market of many cities in the name of “State violence”. As a result, hundreds of employees were made redundant and a great number of stores were burnt.

The centre of Athens looks like a bombarded landscape, definitely unapproachable and inaccessible. The message for a collective and massive fight against the political power, the state as an entity and the police, was quickly dispatched through the anarchist sites on the net. Anarchist groups all over Greece were promptly activated and took immediate action. The Government adopted a “defensive attitude” and at the same time the Opposition tried to fill the power gap by demanding elections, aiming to acquire political benefits from the fragile situation.

A humiliating attitude of all political sides towards the peril which was emerging on the surface of the Greek society. Consequently, Greek everyday life was inevitably unprotected, and the public opinion silently watched our heritage being cruelly destroyed and burnt by indescribable extreme elements.

The reason for this article is not exclusively to describe the events that took place in Greece. On the contrary, it is high time we raise the alarm on the European level. Comparing the riots in Greece with the ones in France in 2005, we can notice plenty of similarities. The violence escalated at an alarmingly high speed all over France and at the same time dangerous social groups joined the general revolt.

This is not the European youth, this is a new kind of urban terrorism

Urban violence is something granted. The existent “revolutionary” attitude of life has its roots in many European social nets. The fact that the press aims to distort the truth, by declaring that these extreme elements represent the young people, is the most hazardous phenomenon. This is not the European youth, this is a new kind of urban terrorism, which in the eyes of a journalist the youth has to be blamed for.

It is common knowledge that the bulk of the global political ideologies was born in Europe, starting from democracy to counteractive and violent anarchism. The European political systems have created mechanisms which allow the co-existance and survival among various contrasting ideologies simultaneously and in the same political scene in terms of pluralism. Nevertheless, this period of time is unsuitable and seems to be incapable to support it.

The economic crisis in Europe may provoke the revival of violence as in Greece, a crisis that basically feeds subversive powers and social groups. The circle of violence may expand to other European societies with marginal parliamentary majority and it is also possible that some government tries to transfer its political costs and responsibility from the national level to the European Union. A relative tolerance to such dangerous political movements may put into question the health of the European political life.

The economic crisis in Europe may provoke the revival of violence that feeds subversive powers

The threat of instability of social coherence is more than ever obvious. The polarization of a social net provokes identity issues and, above all, given democratic values are reconsidered. As Isocrates said: “Our Democracy is killing itself, because the rights for freedom and equality are abused, because it taught its citizens that insolence is considered to be a right, illegality a freedom, impudence an equality and anarchy a happiness”.

The continuation of tolerance towards these elements creates obstacles for innovative political initiatives on a European level. If the European social nets are not steady, how can we dream of common policies? Upon what will we base the materialization our political goals on a national-supranational level? What will ensure the smooth future of the European integration process? How will the euro-skeptic political parties be convinced to participate in the European dialogue while they put into question its existence?

We do want to struggle for better standards of life, nevertheless our rage is turned into creativity and not pointless blind violence. The molotov’s rule is nothing more than a “cheap tactic” of specific minorities with a dramatic impact for the future of the democratic regime.

Image: Riots in Greece; source:

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