This attack on the public broadcaster, documented in Part I of this article is nothing to do with saving money or reducing inefficiency: it is about destroying yet another critic of the government and cutting off people’s access to information. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that successive governments have staffed the organization with its own cronies, and there was always a case for streamlining the organisation. However, ERT was practically the only mainstream news outlet in Greece that had some form of balance, mainly because it has to adhere to the principles of equal time for political parties.
The other sign of a distinct shift towards authoritarianism is the way that Samaras pushed through this legislation. He used an act usually reserved for national emergencies to issue this decree without a parliamentary vote. This article of the constitution is meant for war, natural disasters, or other such crises, not for a Prime Minister to abuse whenever he feels like it. Unless, of course, the present national crisis counts as an emergency that justifies this action. If that is the case, all of Samaras’ talk of the Greekovery and reassurances that the economic crisis is almost over are a huge pile of foetid, steaming goatshite. Surely Smartass would never tell lies and talk out of both sides of his mouth. After all, he’s a Greek politician, a species of beast that is known for its noble, self-sacrificing nature and eternal quest for truth.
I jest, of course, because he is a lying, corrupt sack of shit (Sue me, Samararse) His party is pretty good at threatening journalists for telling the truth and questioning his almighty wisdom, as the actions of Nikos Denidas, Public Order Minister shows. (An incompetent prick of the highest order, with a lower IQ than that of the tomato he ate for dinner). He attempted to sue the Guardian for their reporting about police brutality against immigrants, before pressuring ERT to sack two journalists who dared to question this. The fool then authorised a little Photoshop magic to make the injuries against the immigrants magically disappear.
Returning to the heroic figure of Samaras, he did not consult the other partners of the coalition, pushed though the act in less than six hours, before threatening to send in the police to forcibly remove ERT workers trying to continue broadcasting. He threatened workers still occupying the ERT building, stating that they would be arrested if they continued to broadcast, as well as having their compensation packages revoked and losing their right to reapply for positions with the new state broadcaster, if and when that arises (probably staffed with dear old Smartass’ friends). Despite this, they continue to broadcast, showing integrity, a concept that Samaras cannot understand.
Indeed, many other broadcasters have let ERT journalists use their frequencies to keep the news rolling. In response, the Greek Ministry of Finance has now sent out emails warning that their licences to broadcast will be revoked if they continue (under the convenient excuse of ‘misuse of the ERT logo’. Police have been instructed to arrest any journalists approaching the ERT building and confiscate their equipment, leaving only strangulated gasps as the spirit of free speech dies. The strangest thing is that the ERT workers are now working for free, which suggests that the whole decision has very little to do with money. Indeed, why is the government preventing private broadcasters sending out whatever programming they wish? What are they afraid of? This is censorship, pure and simple.
Interestingly, the minister largely responsible for this decision, Kedikoglou (would it surprise you if I pointed out that he is a prick of the highest order – you may have noticed that there is a common thread here) has claimed that waste, corruption and mismanagement are to blame. Certainly, successive governments have been happy to parachute their supporters into ERT. Even more interestingly, Kedikoglou (who used to work as a journalist for ERT and never felt like reporting this corruption while he suckled from the ERT golden tit) seems to have forgotten the letter submitted by a number of ERT employees protesting about the 23 employees hired by himself in the last year. Nepotism at his finest, but it obviously does not apply to him because his shit doesn’t stink. What a hypocritical bastard.
The government claims that the station will reopen, as a streamlined, better value organization. I call bullshit – politicians lie, and Sammy Boy is performing wonders on the ‘being a lying, cheating, piece of shit’ front. No wonder the Troika loves him, their little drooling, slightly smelly, senile old lapdog. The man is a fucking liar, with few morals, and he is only interested in serving his own selfish agenda. PASOK’s Venizelos is a fat, useless fucker, but he is a veritable saint when compared to the New Democracy idiot.
Whilst I am no great fan of Orthodox Churchianity, even Bishop Ieronymos has condemned the move, stating that “Healing an organisation is one thing, but killing it abruptly and violently is totally different.” This closure is not only a blatant disregard for the electorate and Greek culture, but it really is a sign of creeping fascism in Greece. The Golden Shower must be very happy.
The Greeks are Overreacting Again
Ultimately, this is a worrying shift towards fascism. Uncle Sammy is unashamedly right wing and would love to see nothing better than fascism based upon an oligarchic class of industrialists/big business. If elections are called, I would not be surprised if he starts making overtures towards Golden Dawn. You think that this is crazy? Samaras invited politicians from the right wing ultra-nationalist LAOS party into his government, including a neo-Nazi, Voridis, who used to love trawling about town beating up students with an axe. Probably a lovely man once you get past the Nazism, propensity to violence, and hatred of anyone who doesn’t think exactly like him.
This leads us on to the next problem: I hear many people, when some Greeks express their concerns about slipping into a fascist state, argue that they are overreacting, or don’t understand what fascism is about. Indeed, I have seen one comment where the commenter argued that, by saying such things, the Greeks are devaluing the experiences of people who actually lived under fascism.
What the fuck does s/he think that the Greeks were doing between 1967 and 1974 – sitting on a beach drinking Ouzo? Dancing? They lived under a particularly vicious fascist regime, which happily tortured its way across Greece and made people disappear, as if by magic. They were just your normal, merry bunch of friendly neighbourhood fascists, performing all sorts of cuddly acts and spreading happiness and joy amongst the Hellenes. Indeed, they even banned dancing: that might seem like a small thing, but stopping a Greek from dancing is like taking away an Englishman’s right to play cricket or an American’s right to play baseball.
So, for those of you who think that Greeks don’t understand anything about Fascism, let’s use an 80 year old Greek lady as an example. In her lifetime, she has seen:
Metaxism: Between 13 April 1936 and 29 January 1941, Ioannis Metaxas served as interim Prime Minister of Greece, and set about suspending the Greek parliament and the constitution. This dictator liked to portray himself as the ‘saviour of the nation,’ and set about burning books, as well as changing school text books to fit in with his fascist ideology.
World War Two: Greece was occupied by the Nazis between 1941 and 1944. During this time, an estimated 400,000 Greeks died of starvation or were killed by the German occupiers. When I say die of starvation, I mean that people were dying in the streets of Athens (It won’t be long until that happens again, which will make Uncle Sammy and Auntie Angie very happy). The Greeks set up resistance movements but the Nazis, in their tried and trusted fashion, committed reprisals and shot people in the head. Greeks of all ages (including children under 10) joined the resistance and died defending their country against the occupiers. Many brave Greeks risked their own lives to smuggle Jews out of the country.
Civil War: We now move on to the civil war. Worried that Greece would turn towards the Soviets, and afraid that such an important geopolitical and strategic location would be lost, Churchill provided funds for the fascists to wage civil war. During this bleak period, 80 000 Greeks died and 700 000 were left homeless. My neighbour’s brother was beheaded by the fascists, just one of many such barbaric acts committed in the country. Thanks, Winnie.
Fascist Regime: April 19, 1967 – to 1974. A right wing coup, drawing upon the political instability seen after the civil war, seized power. Incidentally, they were backed by the CIA, who showed them how to torture and kill people. Thanks, US Government – your American Exceptionalism shines through, once again. As President Johnson stated to the Greek Ambassador during the problems with Cyprus:
“Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If those two fleas continue itching the elephant they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk. Whacked good….We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about Democracy, Parliament and Constitutions, he, his Parliament and his Constitution may not last very long.”
During this period, from Wikipedia:
Examples of the types of torture commonly used include (amongst others):
- Beating the soles of people’s feet with sticks and pieces of metal pipe
- Sexual torture such as shoving objects into people’s vagina/anus and twisting them violently, or hoses shoved into the anus and forcing water in at high pressure
- Choking people and shoving rags soaked in urine and excrement down their throats
- Ripping out hair from the head and pubic regions
- Jumping on people’s stomachs
- Pulling out toenails and fingernails
8000 were arrested: You can also ask Mikis Theodorakis about the years he spent in exile.
Creeping Fascism in Greece
To all of you who claim that the Greeks don’t understand fascism, why don’t you come here and tell my neighbours that they know nothing about it. All I can say at the moment is that many elderly people are very frightened and very concerned that Greece is going to see people like the Colonels return. Yesterday, the day after the news of ERT closing down, I went to see my friend Sam in the local shop – he is a quiet, brooding, intelligent man with a philosophical nature. I could see by the look on his face that the bloke is fucking terrified. This is not an overreaction or the Greeks seeking sympathy: this is genuine fear built upon what they have endured before.
In other words, try thinking before opening your fat mouth and uttering meaningless words on a topic about which you know very little. Finally, for those who say that Greeks should become more like ‘good, productive Germans.’ That proved a little difficult when people were occupied by other things, such as avoiding torture or trying to find enough food to eat. Perhaps, if other countries had not interfered, Greece might have had a chance.