The Greeks, Kosovo, Etc.
This is a sequel to the
ZNet Commentary of May 2
FIRST: The Port of Salonica "saga".
- As already mentioned, during the night of April 27 to April 28, '99, Greek demonstrators forced a train carrying British troops and tanks to Macedonia to return to the terminus of the port of Salonica and not leave for Macedonia.
The next day, April 29, NATO decided to move the troops and the tanks by means of
trucks and trailer flatcars. The convoy started moving around 5 am, while the city was
asleep. To facilitate the movement of the military vehicles NATO had already long ago
marked the route leading out of the city by means of special traffic signs (depicting a
white arrow and a white bottle). The NATO soldiers followed the signs and ended up at...
the outdoor vegetable wholesale market of the city! The market was full of wholesalers and
retailers, buying their greens. At first the Greeks were surprised, but later were joined
by the NATO soldiers themselves in their laughter for the joke played on NATO. Simple: the
demonstrators had moved the NATO traffic signs and redirected the route towards the
market. Next day the representative of the wholesalers, speaking during the TV evening
news, jokingly declared that the NATO soldiers were not pelted with tomatoes because
tomatoes are quite expensive.
(Source: Reported as seen by me on Greek TV.)
Note: The incident was reported by the Guardian, of London, on April 30 and the Guardian report was posted in the Newsgroup: soc.religion.quaker, (!), by Fred Williams, again on April 30. I found it through Deja, while searching for messages on Chomsky. One more thing, by the few TV glimpses of the faces of the British, German, and French NATO soldiers behind the glass windows of their cars, one cannot say, approximately, what these young men feel. My estimate is that there is a mixture of surprise, admiration for the demonstrators and fear. Of course I could be wrong.
- A few days later, on May 3, a young woman stopped her car in front of some NATO trucks that were sneaking out of the port of Salonica, in the middle of the night, and stopped a convoy moving to Macedonia. This is what we saw on our TV screens: There, in front of the huge NATO trucks, was a big Mercedes positioned almost perpendicularly to the direction of movement of the trucks. The driver of the Mercedes, a trim, tall and elegantly dressed beautiful young woman was out of the car and was shouting to a group of about 10 to 15 Greek policemen that were all around her. She was alone. Some of the policemen were trying to move the Mercedes out of the way, but the damn thing would not budge. The woman could be heard repeatedly shouting to the policemen: "Do you understand what you are doing?' and "What kind of people are you?" We watched this go on for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then the ranking officer of the policemen is heard shouting: "Arrest her!" About 6 to 8 policemen jump and grab the woman, who starts screaming and resisting as much as she could. However, by now there were quite a few citizens standing on the sidewalks, watching. Seeing what was happening they started making the charachteristic noise which to the Greeks means a threatening warning (a continuous guttural eh,eh,eh...). The ranking officer shouts to his brave underlings to release the woman. They release her and she moves towards the citizens for protection.
Next day we learned from the papers, that the woman, Alexandra Evangeliou, 30 years old, the daughter of a local businessman, is a teacher specializing in teaching children with special needs. As she was returning home form the theater, she got stuck in a queue of cars that were stopped by the police to let a NATO convoy pass. Gradually the drivers ahead of her started making a U-turn and leave. So, she found herself at the head of the queue, She said: "I did not hesitate even for a second... They are decieving us. This was the least I could do, while innocent people, innocent children, are killed daily in Yugoslavia." Finally, we learned that she was not arrested.
My comments (as a Greek by birth): Before the bombing, most people would not believe that a person, as the one that appeared on the TV screen, would act like a radical of what is usually called the "extreme left", by putting herself in the hands of the Greek police, which is as bad as the Turkish police, both being the products of U.S. training. The motive for her act seems to be only moral. If she could turn into a "lefty," then this could explain the 98% poll result of Greeks against the war. Also, it shows that the US/NATO elites are not that bright, since they ended up with 10 million rabidly anti-American Greeks in their hands (and maybe more millions of Macedonians, Bulgarians, etc). Also, it seems that the radicalization of the (rather well-off) young woman was not the only charachteristic case (see below).
- A few days later, on May 4, around noon, K.T. . a 29 year old man from Salonica, stopped
at a Salonica traffic light with his motorbike, waiting for the light to turn green.
Suddenly, he dismounted his bike, walked towards a NATO jeep that was also at the traffic
light and using his helmet as a hammer broke the glass window of the vehicle. Of the two
NATO German soldiers in the car, the driver, Torsten Klem, 23 , was slightly hurt on the
hand by a piece of glass. K.T. was arrested by the police.
(Source; The daily ELEFTHEROTYPIA, May5, 99, p.5.)
- The same day, in the Port of Volos, an important Greek city, stevedore D. M. plunged into the sea, swam in front of the cruise ship "Pacific Princess" that was about to sail out of port, carrying 400 tourists, from Britain and other north European countries, and unfurled a sign in protest of the NATO/US bombing. He delayed the sailing of the ship for about 20 minutes. When D. M. finally got out of the sea he was arrested by the police. (Source: The same as the previous one.)
- Liana Kanelli, an ambitious young woman, in 1975 as she, at 21, was starting her career in journalism, was proclaimed by the then Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis to be the "Girl of New Democracy." N.D. being the conservative party that he had created, after the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974, and which N.D. was governing in Greece at that time. In the next decade Kanelli evolved into a kind of a Greek "Barbara Walters." Two days ago. on May 6, Kanelli, now 45, announced from the podium of a rally, in the center of Salonica, of thousands of members of the Greek Communist Party who were protesting against the bombing, that she will be a candidate with the Greek Communist Party in the coming June elections for the European Parliament. The rather accurate analogy to Barbara Walters, helps a non-Greek understand to what level of radicalization Clinton's bombing drove the populations of this area. Again, this would have been unbelievable 40 days ago.
- Alexander Lycouresos, the most prominent criminal lawyer of Greece, a politically rather
conservative person, on May 3, 1999, filed a charge with the International Court at The
Hague against the "political and military leadership of NATO for war crimes, that
were perpetrated through the bombings from March 24 to May 1, 1999." Leading the
signatures of most of the Greek intellectuals under the 38 page charge is the signature of
Mikis Theodorakis. Lycouresos is going to meet the two assistants of the prosecutor at The
Hague on May 12.
(Source: ELEFTHJEROTYPIA, May 7, 99, p.5)
- Eight members of the Areios Pagos (the Supreme Court) of Greece joined 20 colleagues of
theirs of the State Council to "warn" the Greek government of the possible legal
consequences for its members in the case of "the use of the Greek soil by foreign
troops and the possible participation of the Greek armed forces in the context of serving
non peacful goals or aggression plans against third sovereign states."
(Source, The same as the previous one).
My comment: This is REALLY unbelievable! Judges, especially Greek Supreme Court judges, are mostly reactionary persons. Now, they are threatening the sacrosanct STATE! Could it be that there is a Nuremberg Trial fallout settling here, even a half century after the trial?
In the May 2 commentary there is the expression: "under virtual U.S. occupation." A bit of elaboration on this matter seems to be in order here. (However, having reached and passed the limit of 1500 words, this should be done in an additional Commentary.)
Nikos Raptis is the author of the books: "Let Us Talk about Earthquakes. Floods and...the Streetcar" and "The Nightmare of the Nukes" (both in Greek). He, also, translated into Greek and published Noam Chomsky's "Year 501" and "Rethinking Camelot." He lives in Athens, Greece.