A Kurdish Woman Said…

On November 1973 the US-sponsored military dictators in Greece used a tank to attack the Greek students that were in revolt against the dictatorship in the campus of the Polytechnic, the highest technical university of Greece. To this day the number of the dead and wounded during that night is not known. So, the “17th of November” has become a kind of a “National Holiday” for the Greeks. The most important  event of this annual commemoration has been an angry march of tens of thousands of Greeks from the Polytechnic campus to the US embassy in Athens. This has been going on for forty-one years.

Eight months later, on July 23 of 1974, the dictatorship was terminated by its instigator, the US, as it had accomplished its “task”. Five days later, on July 28 of 1974, Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA, now the leftist Prime Minister of Greece, was born. Most of us Greeks, wittingly or unwittingly, owe our attitude towards life to the events that started with the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation and peaked with the student revolt of November 1974 at the polytechnic. Tsipras is a “product” of the Polytechnic revolt.

At this point it is necessary to attempt a very brief anatomy of the revolt and its participants. The revolt lasted for three days, from Wednesday morning to the midnight of Friday, November 1973.  There were between two to four thousand participants; students and at a later stage a small number of working people. The dominant student factions of the revolt were the Maoists, the later known as Euro Communists, and the Marxists-Leninists (two different groups). The “traditional” (Stalinist) Communists initially labeled the revolt as a provocation, but were forced to change their tune. Of course, as always, there were some “centrists” and a scattering of “rebellious conservatives”. As in most revolutions, so in the Polytechnic, the most precious part, the “anarchic” vision, was almost absent The subsequent history of the inevitable leaders of these student factions can offer an instructive lesson.

To replace the dictators the US Emperor “repatriated” from exile two “useful” Greeks: Karamanlis (uncle, also known as the “leader of the nation”!!!) and Andreas Papandreou (of Berkeley and son of a former Prime Minister). It was Papandreou who “recruited” the student leaders of the revolt and “nullified” them as humans, by turning them into parts of his governmental power. Most of them ended up as very rich men and women and corrupt  to the bone.

The silent majority of the revolted students, honest and sensitive young men and young women, in their early twenties, finished their studies and sank  into the mire of not only an Americanized consumer society but also in a  US-controlled Greek society and started making a living as doctors, engineers, pharmacists, etc., married, had children, and thus were neutralized as humans resisting the irrationality and evilness of our present societies. Yet, now, after forty years, in their sixties they still have the core of their Leftism, their honesty, their integrity, and their seriousness. But, what is more important is that their children now constitute what one might call the “Tsipras generation”. Which has instilled in them the legacy of the Greeks that originates from 1941 and the Nazis.

At his point I have to explain what I mean by the term “Americanization”. The evening news a few minutes ago, gave me an example. I have lived on this Greek soil for 85 years and I had travelled the usual road of the Greek elementary school, high school, and university, up to 1955. For my generation it was impossible for a pupil or student to oppress or harm mentally or physically a fellow-pupil or a fellow-student. A single glance from any of the members of the school-class would suffice to scare the shit out of the oppressor or oppressors. In fact, there was not a Greek word for such an oppressive behavior or act. Tonight It was announced in the news, that a twenty-year-old student, missing for more than a month, was found dead in an apparent suicide, as a result of oppressive behavior by his fellow-students. The word used in the news was the one that has entered “in tact” into the Greek language during the last two decades. The word: bulling. Written in Greek as “mpoulin”.

[Parenthesis: Since the first hours of the revolt, in front of the gate of the entrance to the Polytechnic, the gate that the tank crashed to enter the campus, I noticed a huge overweight man, around 250 pounds, loaded with cameras and their paraphernalia standing about seven yards away from the gate. On his face a hideous scowl of hate and anger. He stayed standing, watching the students, there for most of the three days of the revolt. Also, behind him on the opposite sidewalk I noticed a man, around his early forties, with prominent sideburns, who, also, stayed standing there for most of the three days. My guess, at the time, was that the fat man was an “observer” for the US Embassy in Athens and that the Greek with the “sideburns” was a security policeman in civilian cloths. Later in the evening as I was moving around the city I saw the tank ready to move towards the Polytechnic, a huge blinding searchlight on it. As the tank was passing in front of my wife and me in the deserted street we heard shouting from the opposite sidewalk and we saw a group of about fifteen men applauding. The men were the torturers from the nearby new building of the security police with its torture chambers at its basement. Among the group of men I saw the ”sideburns”. The young inexperienced and “innocent” students, I feel, were never aware of the two obnoxious pigs. End of the Parenthesis.]

The first anniversary for the commemoration of the revolt was to be held on November 17 of 1974, four months after the ending of the dictatorship. However, Karamanlis the Greek Prime Minister, or the US-proxy, ordered that instead the upcoming parliamentary elections should be held on that day. That was one of the most revolting insults hurtled by the US Emperor against us as humans. The postponed anniversary march to the US Embassy in Athens, took place a few days later. It is estimated that almost one million Greeks participated in that march. That is how this annual march has become a nightmare for the US Emperor for the last forty-one years.

In 1976, during the third anniversary, while waiting for the march to start, a few Kurdish men, who driven out of Turkey had found a refuge in Greece, handed leaflets to us. Printed on the leaflets was an invitation to the Greeks to visit and have a conversation with them at their meeting place a couple of blocks away from the Polytechnic. At that time the Kurds were Marxist-Leninist. A few days later I visited the place. There were five Kurds sitting around a table and they had a single plate with some beans boiled in plain water with not even some olive oil in it. Also, standing there was P. a tall Greek girl born in Istanbul, also driven out of Turkey as a Greek, whose mother tongue was Turkish! All of them were polite and we had a brief discussion on their situation. As a matter of fact years later P. and some friends of her asked me to furnish some articles by Noam Chomsky as they planned to publish a treatise on Noam.

During that 1976 march the Maoists had taken hundreds of eggs removed the albumen of the eggs with a syringe and filled the egg shell with red paint and during the march in front of the Embassy hurtled the eggs against the white marble sheathing of the façade of the Embassy, designed by Gropius, giving a lot of trouble and anger to its “residents”.

Now, thirty-nine years later, on March 2, 2015, there was an interview by Debbie Bookchin, the Daughter of Murray Bookchin, to Federico Venturini, titled “Bookchin: Living legacy of an American revolutionary”, published in ZNet. On the basis of that interview the next morning I sent a letter to the best newspaper in Greece,  “The Paper of the Editors” [“Ef-Syn” in Greek]. The letter was published on March 5. Here are some excerpts form that letter:

“The three Greeks who handed over Ocalan [the Kurdish revolutionary leader] to the Americans should read the following: … Ocalan started as a Marxist-Leninist, however at some point he discovered the books of Murray Bookchin, which he studied in depth. In them he realized that Bookchin with the ‘direct democracy’ of ancient Greece as a basis promoted and improved the ‘libertarian’ ideas of our time in planning a new society, the ‘society of the neighborhood’.

Result: Today the Kurds that defeated the Islamists at Kobane started to build and they built a society based on the ideas of Bookchin. The same has started to happen with the Kurds of Turkey.

It is possible, that the solution of the social problem of humanity has been launched.”

Two days later, on March 7, there was a two-page article by Dina Daskalopoulou in the same paper, “Ef-Syn”, about the humanitarian mission of the Greeks to Kobane. There is a brief description of the attempt for a new society known as the ”Experiment of Rojava” an area in northern Syria. That is, the Bookchin-Ocalan attempt as mentioned in the Venturini interview of Debbie Bookchin. The most important and vivid part of the article is the one referring to Fayza Abdi, a woman around her fifties, mother of four, a teacher of English, and co-president of the Legislative Council of Kobane.

Fayza Abdi, addressing the Greek women of the humanitarian mission, says: “We defeated an entire army of the jihadists. Have courage and fight too”.

Fayza Abdi

In this so “peaceful” times in Europe the Greek women have to fight against the German elites, who last week made a young mother in the city of Patras, in Peloponnese, ask for help because she was about to lose her child, as the child had nothing to eat but only some potatoes, for weeks. They have to fight, once more, the leaders of Germany. The Germany of Bach and Handel, the society which reached the peak in human creativity and culture during the 18th century and which degenerated into the Germany of Schaeuble and Merkel.

Will the Greek women of the “Tsipras generation” and Fayza Abdi defeat their Imperial tormentors? Yes, if their fight becomes ecumenical, to use a religious term.

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