It has been at least 20 years now that every November 17 is the day when Greeks wait to see the tally of destruction in its aftermath. The news reports and images of the 2016 Polytechneio uprising memory day are exactly the same as those of 2015, and 2008, and 2001, and 1998 and so on.
The day that has been branded as the celebration of the struggles for democracy has become a tiresome repetitive thing. Violence will break out during or after the rally to the U.S. Embassy, television will focus on the ensuing riot and that’s it. See you next year.
The videos and the pictures are all the same: A fire burning, the backs of riot policemen and a few hooded figures further back in the frame. Only the year changes; and the upgrade of riot police uniforms.
So, this celebration of democracy has turned into the repetition of an absurd play. People against police, for no reason. Unfortunately, the meaning of democracy has been so twisted in recent years that it has become synonymous with lawlessness. For instance, destruction of public and private property is no longer a crime as long as those who do it claim it is a political act, and it is undemocratic to be arrested. So, November 17, the day we supposedly celebrate democracy, it is a free for all. Destroy all you want, it’s on the house.
One wonders what all this violence and blind destruction has to do with the commemoration of those brave students who defied the bullets of the military dictators that fateful night of November 17, 1973. Nothing.
And this is exactly what those few hundred nihilistic, self-professed anarchists believe in. Nothing.
And what have the left, right or center administrations done all these years to stop these mindless vandals? Nothing.
Yet, despite their vain belief that with their acts they fight the State, capitalism, racism, fascism, the rich, globalization or what have you, these hooded hooligans serve in essence the thing they claim to hate the most: The State.
Their destructive acts are the convenient circuses for corrupt or incompetent administrations that have robbed all bread and there is none left for the people. Ordinary citizens can fume over the nasty hooligans they watch on television throwing molotov cocktails at apathetic riot police. And forget about the taxes, the home auctions, the collapsing health system, the shortage of teachers in schools and their overall impoverishment by an inefficient, bureaucratic state that happens to be one of the least friendly to the people it supposedly serves.