Photographer's Note

Greece, the cradle of Democracy? That was a looong time ago! I am sure that if our ancestors could see the situation today, they would surely be ashamed of us. Greece, today, is the worst example of non democratic western type democracy a deeply corrupt and rotten state, where a strange and unique complex of bankers, stockbrockers, bent politicians, bribed superior judges and (worst of all) priests-monks who behave like unhesitating businessmen, rule the country by looting every day more and more of public property, leaving more than 1/3 of the greek people in poverty.

Just trying to write some things that could explain to our foreing friends what lead to this general explosion, here in Greece, in a few words. The cold blooded murder of a 15 year old student, Alexis, by some pigs- cops was only the spark

Let me start with some numbers, trying to avoid a sentimental aproach. In the last elections, New Democracy (ND), a central right party, won by 41,83%, that through an unfair electoral system, gives a majority of 152 members in the greek parliament. But, counting also the persentage of abstence, the invalid and white votes, the real persentage of ND in the last elections was 30,25 %. That means that this government has the aproval of less than 1/3 of the greek citizens, that means that less of 1/3 of the greek population rules. Don't let me misunderstood, the same thing happened with the others, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), a socialdemocrat party,that ruled this country before. Do you call this Democracy?

Just two cases proving that Greece is a banana republic both happened in the last 4 years. First of all, the discovery (by accident) of a wide network of spies, that used one of the major mobile telephony networks of Greece, listening to the telephone calls of hundreds of greek civilian, including the discussions of the Prime Minister (!!!). The telecomunications center of the listeners was found, very close to the American Embassy in Athens. Noone was found guilty, noone was punished, there was just a man, an employee of the mobile phone company, who had found something strange, was found dead. He commited suicide, they said!
Second case, a group on British secret agents, kidnapped dozens of Pakistani immigrants in the centre of Athens. The Greek Minister of Public Order, didn't know a thing (!?). Nobody punished once again.
The Greek people, have a strong sense of dignity and, most important a collective memory and don't tolerate, things like that. They remember very well the role of Great Britain in the years before and during the Civil War, especially in the |Dekemvriana (December 1944) and also their role in the tragedy of Cyprus. The Greek people remember very well the role of the American government in the Military Junta (1967-1974), and in Cyprus, as well (I wonder, will ever Henry Kissinger, sit on the bench?).

The last years, the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger. More that 1/3 of the greek population, has severe problems in surving. The prices of the basic goods are almost equal as the other European countries, while the salaries are on the half of the salaries of the European citizens. There is a whole generation, called the Generation of 700 Euros (the minimum salary is 680 Euros), young people that after years of studies and years of unemployment, they finally find a job with the minimum salary, and they see a black future in front of them, while at the same time, the see the banks making huuuge profits year after year. The greek banks, have double loan Rate interest than the European average. And not, just that, the Greek Government, in order to back them, during this global economic crisis, is giving to the bankers a bonus of Euros! Do you still wonder, why banks are among the main targets of those protesting, fighting (and destroying) out there in the streets?

During the years of PASOK government the greek people were used in economic-political scandals. New Democracy, took power, with main slogan , the fight against corruption, promising transparency, modesty and humillity (now if it isn't a joke, then what?). They managed to create as many scandals as the others in half the time!!! They are even worse!!! Scandals in the Ministry of Culture, with the General Secretary of the ministry attempting suicide, scandals concerning bribed superior judges (that a few months later, decided for themselves to double their salaries) and last but not least, the greatest scandal of them all, concerning the Vatopedi Monastery in the holy mountain of Athos (Aghion Oros), with half a dozen of ministers from both governments of New Democracy and PASOK involved, the greatest loot in the greek history. A monastery transformed into the largest Real Estate Agency in Greece (probably even in Europe), and monks and priests becoming bankers, brokers and home selling agents, selling the property of the Greek State, (which is the property of the Greek people).
IMPORTANT NOTE. Τhe minister involved in the scandal of the Ministry of Culture, is also involved in the scandal of the monastery, through his wife, who is the notary of the Monastery. He is the same minister that admited, having created an Off Shore company, in order to avoid paying his taxes in the Greek State!!! It may be legal, but is it moral???
The relationship between the Greek Orthodox Church and the state is a whole chapter. The Greek Church owns almost half the country, half of its territory, since the years of the Ottoman empire! The Sultan in order to maintain good relationships with the priests (that always had a huge influence on greek people) kept conceiding grounds to the monasteries. And today the monasteries use 200-300 years old contracts with the Sultan, maintining huge properties, leaving their believers in poverty. Another aspect, is the constitutional connection between State and Religion! Did you know that the Constitution declares as Official Religion of the State, the Christian Orthodoxy!!! Does it happen in any other developed country of the western world? As far as I know, it only happens in some islamic countries. And not just that! The majority of the articles of the Constitution can be reformed, except of the Foundamental articles. Well the one that declares our Official religion is among the Foundamental and cannot be reformed!

One of the main reasons that lead tens of thousands of people in the streets, is that they don't trust the system of justice in Greece, not only because judges are involved in the scandals (see above), but also because they have a strange idea about equality of rights. One example: When a member of the terrorist organisation 17th of November was arrested, after having a detonator exploding in his hands (Be careful, I am not saying that he was innocent, he was found guilty and now doing time in prison), he was interrogated in the hospital a couple of days after the explosion, almost blind with the fingers of his hand amputeed, and under the infuence of heavy drugs! The General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, who attemted suicide after the scandal came up(at least, he had the guts!), but survived, was interrogated about after 5 months in hospital! It's not just that! People know very well that the violent behaviour of the cops is never punished (and I can remember, at least 4 examples, in the last year)!
The police, now that's the story! First of all, I have to say that Greece must be among the countries with the largest persentage of cops per civilian! Most of them are appointed in the frame of a salesman-client relationship between the politicians and the citizens, established by a sick political system! The citizens say to the politicians: Me and my whole family, will vote for you if you find a job for my son/daughter or even worse the politician says : Vote for me, and I 'll take good care of your son/daughter. This is what here in Greece is called rusfeti (surely our Turk friends could explain better the meaning of the word). Most of the cops, are totally useless persons who are uncapable of finding a decent, peaceful job, practically unlettered, totally untrained for the job, that suddenly, because of the political friends of daddy, find themselves with a weapon in their hands, with an authority that makes them feel like Inspector Callaghan! They are proud of being the houndogs of the rich, they are the bosses in the neighborhoods and they have the right to shoot in cold blood a 15 year old child, beating till death a studend, torturing dozens of poor immigrants on a daily basis! DEAR COPS, DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND FIND A DECENT JOB, WHY DON'T YOU BECOME DUSTMEN AND BE REALLY USEFUL TO THE SOCIETY?

Not many have thought another aspect. Till now, there were some unwritten laws, in street fighting between the cops and the protesters! The one side, was using dangerous chemical gases (prohibited in war, by the Geneva Treaty!), helmets, shields, rubber bullets and electoshock guns! The other side, was using stones, Molotov cocktails and masks!There was some kind of balance in the weaponry of both sides. By shooting in cold blood, the rules have changed. The anarchists in their reunions, strongly debated about the use of guns (believe me, they, too, have guns, mostly stolen from cops or after invasions in police stations), about killing cops as retaliation, but, thank God, they finally decided to obey to the previous law, although broken by the cops. Can you imagine what would have happened otherwise?
About the anarchists, the Known-unknown wearing masks. It is true that sometimes 500-1000 anarchists have provoked riots in the streets of Athens (although many times behind the masks are hidden undercover cops), but this is not the case! Tens of thousands of people in each and every Greek town went out on the streets. This was a general and spontaneous uprising! I even saw, 70 year old ladies throughing flower pots (!) from the balconies on the fourth or fifth floor against the cops! Every reaction is fully justified, when an innocent 15 year old child is murdered, and cannot be compared with the centre of Athens and other greek towns in flames. There is a war going on out there and has collateral damages. You don't mind this term when the Americans kill thousands of innocent civilians, women and children in Iraq, Afganistan or Serbia, does it bother you now that we are talking about banks and shops? Those who saw their shops in flames should be compensated immediately by the Greek government, the real responsible for this situation. I am really afraid that this is not the last time that we see such things, and that Greece is not the last country where we see such reaction, as France wasn't the last country 3 years ago! If it takes the whole country in flames in order to have hope for a better tomorrow, for a new beginning, then, let there be ashes!

There are some people saying that these riots are embarassing and affecting the image of Greece in the outside world. That's bulls**t! I am very proud of these images that show to the world that Greeks still have the courage to fight for their rights, to fight for a better future! LONG LIVE THE DISOBEDIENT, FIGHTING AND REBELLIOUS SPIRIT OF THE GREEKS!

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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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