Posts tagged ‘Manolis Glezos’

Greeks greet Merkel with protests and rallies

Ms.Merkel’s 6 hour visit to the Greek capital has added fuel to the ongoing conflict between Government and working people.
The General Confederation of Greek Workers (private sector) together with the Civil Servants Central Union have called for a rally today, Monday, at 6pm.
Ms Merkel’s arrival will be hailed with several protests all over the country. In the uproar caused there is confusion about who is going where. SYRIZA, the main opposition party, is calling its members and supporters to take part in the Monday 8 October rally (Syntagma Square – 18.00)but also to renew their protest – demonstration on Tuesday, at 13.00 during the Merkel – Samaras meeting.

On Tuesday there will also be a work stoppage from 11.oo to 13.00 in protest for the austerity measures and the Merkel visit.
It has already been announce by Police Headquarters that the Metro Station in Syntagma will be closed both days.
On the other hand, the Independent Greeks right wing party President Panayotis Kamenos stated that: “Ms Merkel’s visit should be accompanied by the appearance of a Greek flag on every Greek home to stress that Greece is an independent country and this independence is not negotiable. “We shall wait for her outside the German Embassy at 18.00”, he added, “to send her the message that she must first deliver the Christoforakos lists, she must first divulge the names of the bribed politicians, first she must repay the War loan and the reparations and then we can negotiate on an equal footing”.
Manolis Glezos, Resistance veteran and Chairman of the Committee for the German World War II Reparations published an “open letter” to the German Chancellor inviting her to visit Kessariani and the executions’site and asking her to remember her country’s obligations and not only the obligations of Greece towards her country.

Lakis Santas – an unwilling hero and a warm, loving 89 year old teenager

Apostolos Santas – Lakis for his friends but mark the name: it means an apostle – owes his fame to the fact that, together with his friend Manolis Glezos, they managed to lower the German flag from the Acropolis on May 31 1941. This is considered the first resistance act against the Nazi occupation in the whole of Europe.
After this act the young law student joined the resistance and fought against the fascist occupation for as long as it lasted. After the end of the civil war he was sent to the prison camps of Ikaria and Makronisos. I am not sure how it happened but he escaped and reached Italy and then fled to Canada as a political refugee.
What always impressed me about Santas was that he never tried to “exchange” his fame with any appointments, honours or special favours. He earned his living and kept away from active politics. Young people sought him out and listened to his stories and he generously let them claim his time and talked honestly, bravely, about the time of the resistance and the civil war. Lakis was a born narrator and he was often invited to schools to give a speech on that period. His one and only book is a testament to his abilities as a narrator but also to his generous personality.
I shall never forget his speech on the day we honoured the resistance heroes of our region: it was full of the present and the future but with the experiences of the past absorbed and turned into ideas and new concepts.
I feel grateful and richer to have met him.

The “secret” war of Keratea – government versus the people of Lavreotiki

Keratea is a quiet, sleepy little town lying to the south east of Athens. Surrounded by fields, low hills, olive groves and orchards it has a charming serene quality which has attracted, in addition to its original inhabitants, a large number of Athenians who commute every day just to escape the noise and the pollution of the metropolis.

Unfortunately, this idyllic atmosphere was shattered last year by events that were unheard of in the post junta Greek history.

This peaceful, fertile, historical area, a region full of ancient relics and rich in minerals of all sorts, was chosen for the creation of a landfill!

In reality the problem started long ago but was kept under wraps by all the governments since they knew that their choice was, to say the least, doubtful and a law suit against them would have been won by the inhabitants of the area if it was tried fairly: The area is of great archaeological value and is protected as a region of great natural beauty. In addition, it is situated right on a seismic fault which makes it totally unsuitable for such use.

Unfortunately, Keratea was called upon to pay for the sins of all the post junta governments who never had any environmental sensitivities and therefore never properly planned the disposal of waste of the greater Athens area. The arbitrary decision made by the government was directly challenged by the municipality of Lavreotiki which, according to the new Kallicratis law, is now made up of Keratea and Lavrio, the other historical town of the region. The citizens of Keratea, most of them descendants of the Albanian warriors who followed the Turkish troops and settled in various parts of Greece, refused to accept a decision that was made behind closed doors and obviously in desperate hurry – the government was and still is afraid that it would have to pay fines for the old type landfills it has constructed all over Greece and on the other hand they do not want to lose the European Union funding which has a specific deadline.

On December 10 2010 riot police accompanied the bulldozers of the constructors and tried to forcefully enter the area allocated. The people of Keratea decided that they could not allow their livelihoods to be thus destroyed and barred the roads leading to the construction site. According to the inhabitant’s testimonies a real battle ensued with the police special forces at a disadvantage since they did not know the lay of the ground and could not move easily due to their heavy shields, helmets, clubs etc. The injured were numerous on both sides. Similar attacks, ambushes, skirmishes have been going on now for 120 days!! The municipality has a siren that announces the arrival of the police forces and the citizens barricade themselves. There are road blocks on both ends of the town of Keratea and the local businessmen are driven to distraction but still resolutely refuse to allow the construction of the landfill which would destroy them for good.

The most amazing thing is that while this has been going on for four months very little is known about it by the majority of Greek society. The internet community is informed by two blogs- antihyta and the Lavreotiki blog- but one must keep in mind that while there is a tremendous increase in the use of the internet it is not as common as it is in other parts of the world and therefore this strange “war” is being waged in absolute and very loud silence. The mainstream media report very little about it and reproduce the government arguments with very few exceptions. Please note that many of the larger .mass media owners are also constructors who undertake government contracts – can you see the lovely connection?

During the 8-10 April weekend the people of Keratea organized the Resistance Festival with the participation of poets, musicians, actors and singers in an area right infront of the construction site so that all those who participated from all over Greece could understand their reasons for refusing the construction.

Resistance veteran Manolis Glezos and the world famous composer Mikis Theodorakis both visited the Festival and expressed their support to the citizens of Lavreotiki. They joined their voices to that of the thousands of participants who streamed in on foot, on bicycles with their children, pets or instruments and wrote on placards and posters to express their solidarity with the stubborn and brave people of Keratea. Nikos Houndis, member of the European Parliament and left wing members of the Greek parliament discreetly attended the Festival.

Contractors and connected interests keep away from the archaelogical site YOU WILL NOT PASS

As I finished my post I checked the antihyta blog. Apparently a “police parade” is hapenning right now.

The government would be well advised – especially since it was the first one to introduce an Environment Ministry – to stop this unconstitutional invasion and discuss more modern and less destructive methods of disposal of waste. The technology is there. All they have to do is show the same bravery as the people of Keratea, assume the political cost and plan a project that will be beneficial to the Greek people instead of the various, well-connected, contractors – constructors.

Keratea resistance festival

Keratea, south east of Athens, has been “chosen” as the site for the new landfill of Attica.

The inhabitants oppose this arbitrary decision and a “silent” war has started between special forces and the citizens of the small town.
This weekend the people of Keratea staged a three day Resistance Festival. A playground and puppet show for the kids, a central stage for poetry readings, theatre performances and singing. All around handmade posters and various artifacts inspired by the resistance of the people of Keratea. Mikis Theodorakis, the famous composer, visited the Festival on Saturday while the resistance veteran Manolis Glezos addressed the Festival participants this afternoon.

I will give you more information on the story tomorrow. Today watch the video of the area to see why it was proclaimed an area of great natural beauty – proclaimed by a Greek government that is, officially and legally.