Greece, Riots and John Lennon

Article published on Dec. 11, 2008
community published
Article published on Dec. 11, 2008
I would like to clarify a point about recent events: As bullets can not be answer to words, likewise you can not honor someone’s memory with stones and Molotov. As I see ostracized bullet to Alexis’ chest, a straight one to Greek society’s heart: I am continually trying to understand riots motive but they refuse to talk.
I approached them today with two friends having a camera but they insisted on turning off the camera. Actually there are no cameramen during their march. They do not want journalists among them because they believe journalists are alternating facts. I give them reason. But I would like also to know about their anger. I ask to see them in private but the answer was vague. Facing today’s march, I witnessed anger and rage against the policemen. They throw pieces of marbles and stones. They scream and yell. Their faces are covered. I want to understand them. Being a young nowadays do not mean at all being carefree and cool. I agree, but to start as a teenager with violence is very dangerous. During the protest a heard a passer-by say “How can you call yourself Greek when you try to put fire to the National Library, to the Archeological Museum, no matter the age.”

I would like also to clarify something about the recent events in Greece: They have NOTHING to do with the international economic crisis. On the contrary, as wisely pointed out by Nikos Xidakis in “Kathimerini” newspaper (9.12.08) as society “we just offer material, as much as we‘ve got, no matter what! This is all we got. We are spiritually and ethically orphans”. I can understand the youngsters. I am one of them! As society, as parents, as professors we do not encourage the pursuit of any calling in writing, music, dance, painting, any creative art, any spiritual advancement or any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower…and lower is violence. Alexis Grigoropoulos was unlucky but one could say that he was born lucky. He was coming from a wealthy family, schooled at one of the best private schools in Greece but somehow this was not enough for him. Unfortunately the same night before he was shot dead, he was reported as participating in violent events at a polo game.

I have lived abroad and teenagers and students do not enjoy all that goods from family as we do in Greece. They do not grow up with expectations from family, society and university to find them a job in the public sector as soon as they graduate, to live in the security of the public sector, buy them a car, pay for their vacations, in other words they live with less “acquis” than we do. We have been hypnotized from the cradle, we have been made to fear to dream, we have been made to fear to dare and we feel that deep in our soul. Because the last thing when you TRULY DARE in your life is a hood to cover your face. Then we protest for the wrong reasons, serving the political interests of others, charged with our education, in a way to prepare us to become exemplary employees and not to be free thinkers. “Carry their bag” until they have the generosity to treat us as equals. The only possible way for many –for those not exposed to intellectual art or culture- seems protest or vandalism of what they can not create. But vandalism and free thinking are mutually exclusive. It goes without saying that this principle applies to drugs, alcohol, shopping, depression, gossip, TV.

How can we make the world a better place? For me real revolution passes by decent hard work and when I say work I mean the active exercise of one’s faculties in conformity with virtue (Aristotle). John Lennon once wrote: Well, you think you‘re so clever And CLASSLESS and free But you‘re all fucking peasants As far as I can see