The depraved murder of American biologist Dr. Suzanne Eaton has brought to light the specter of crime and delinquency on Crete, with a prominent Cretan sending an open letter to Greek society condemning the atmosphere of impunity which reigns on the island.
“Our society has failed,” is the disturbing epilogue of the letter by Cretan Haris Stratidakis, who has a PhD in Pedagogy and is an historian and a writer. The letter, which was sent to rethemnosnews.gr, has created an uproar in social media with the harsh truths it describes.
It is a letter of indignation over the heinous crime and the impunity with which it and other crimes have been committed on the Greek island.
Yiannis Paraskakis, the 27-year-old confessed rapist and murderer — and son of a prominent member of Chania society — allegedly confessed that once in a while “there is a mania I can’t control and I want to do some evil.”
After his confession, two foreign women came forward and told police that he had hit them with his car, probably with the motive to rape them, as he did with the American biologist.
Dr. Eaton’s confessed rapist and murderer even uploaded onto the internet a video of himself exploring the cave in which he later hid the body of his victim.
Dr. Stratidakis cites several examples of delinquency, violence and criminal acts on Crete, events that in most cases are considered “normal” or even just as “traditional Cretan” behavior. Many of those go unpunished, he writes.
“There are many such incidents. In the same area, a man killed the chairman of the local council some time ago because he did not accept the encroachment of public property. A little further east, a captain killed his brother, who had returned from living abroad, because he claimed his property that was encroached by his brother,” he recounts.
“In my own prefecture in Rethymno, the bodies of two immigrant women from Bulgaria are still missing over a year now. A casual search in the newspapers and on the internet shows that the problem with women, especially “unprotected” women, can no longer be hidden,” Stratidakis writes.
He continues: “In Lasithi, a gymnast raped the 14-year-old female athlete he was training, in Heraklion, a 48-year-old father raped his daughter.”
“This is certainly not our Crete, where women are treated as animals, abductions are frequent, hashish plantations are plenty, the life and honor of immigrants are depreciated. There is the Crete of all the above but also of the total violation of the law, the right of the boss above all, male chauvinism, drunkenness, bullying, and the politicians who cover for them,” Stratidakis states forcefully.
“Such things happen in other parts of Greece as well, but nowhere else you will find a young man who hits with his car a scientist so he can rape her. Nowhere in Greece do we see the same traffic violations with the consent of local authorities as is happening on our island,” he maintains.
“Nowhere in our country we see shepherds who trespass other people’s land to graze their sheep, nowhere else you see sheep graze on lawns around the pools of hotels, nowhere else they shoot a former prefect or blow his house up because he did not do someone a favor,” Stratidakis says.
“All these cannot be accidental, along with dozens other things. Unless we want to turn a blind eye. Until we see that someone encroaches our own land, or our own wife and daughter are raped and murdered. It seems that something went wrong on our island with some of its supposed ‘values,’ he adds.
Stratidakis concludes his letter on a starkly condemnatory note, saying “More likely, our society has failed.”