The Tragic Nikos and Elli Era
It is reasonable to expect that the Wikileaks will influence somewhat the ordinary Americans. However, even the hundreds of thousands of pages of shame will not reveal the historic "roots" of the deeds done, in the name of these same ordinary Americans, during the last half century, by some of their hometown neighbors, in the employ of the US leaders.
Take Robert (Bob) Driscoll. He worked, probably for the State Department or the then "young" CIA, in Athens, Greece, during the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Let us follow this tragic story.
In my last ZNet Commentary of September 26, 2010 as a "Post Script" I mentioned:
"Also, I would suggest that he [US journalist Michael Lewis, of 'Vanity Fair'] should try to read the book by Elli Pappa, 'Account of a Passage', published posthumously a few days ago. Elli was not executed by the CIA in 1952, because in prison she had a 7-month old baby. The father of the baby was Nikos Belogiannis, an intellectual of the Greek left, who was executed, although he was innocent, and whose face was secured for posterity through a sketch by Picasso. All honest people in the world will learn a lot from Elli's 'Passage' ".
Elli Pappa was born in 1920 ["Elli" from now on]. The surname "Pappa" is met in Homer and means "father", as uttered by infants. Later on, it was used to denote the Orthodox Christian priests in the form of "papas". The name is known to the entire world, thanks to the "Pap smear", the cancer detection test devised by Papanicolaou. Also, widely known is Papadopoulos (meaning the son of the priest), the dictator "chosen" by the CIA to control the Greeks for the benefit of Johnson and Nixon in 1967. A great percentage of the Greek names have the prefix "papa". In the Athens phone directory there are about 90,000 such entries.
Nikos Belogianni was born in Peloponese, the southern part of Greece, in 1915 ["Nikos" from now on]. His parents were poor and had only partial Elementary School education. To better the economic situation of the family, his father, after the birth of Nikos, immigrated to the USA where he worked for a few years and with the money he earned he built a small hotel in his home town. Most Greeks think that the family surname "Belogiannis" means the "handsome Giannis" (Italian "bello" plus "John"). However, the name is a compound of the Turkish word "bela" which means "trouble", and "Giannis" ("troublesome John") and was given to one of Nikos' forebears during the Turkish occupation of Greece.
Nikos, at the age of 17, in 1932, joined the Communist Youth of his home town. The same year he entered the Law School at the University of Athens. Two years later he joined the Greek Communist Party (KKE), was expelled from the university and was exiled to the small Aegean island of Ios. In 1936, at the age of 21, he was tried in absentia, while on the island, and was condemned to 2 years in prison, but he was pardoned, released and drafted in the army. Two years later, in 1938, he was condemned to 5 years in prison and 2 years of exile, "for propagating communist ideas".
When the Nazis occupied Greece in 1941 Nikos was still in prison. The British, the enemies [!] of the Nazis, ordered the then Greek government to hand the communist prisoners to the Nazis! In 1943, Nikos escapes and joins the Greek Resistance against the Nazis. He was 28 years old.
He fights the Nazis on the mountains in the area of Sparta. He evolves into an expert in military strategy and tactics and becomes a leading officer in the Resistance. He is described as a joyful and cheerful person. His comrades-in-arms give him the nickname "The Eagle".
After the Nazi occupation and the defeat of the Greek Resistance fighters by the... British "liberators" in 1945, Nikos is publishing a magazine and a newspaper for the KKE. He also, manages to write two books: "Economic Development of Greece" and "The history of the Modern Greek Language". He is 30 years old.
By the end of 1946, Nikos is back on the Greek mountains fighting the British and US supported "regular" Greek army of 200,000 with an army of only 10,000 rebels, in what is called the Greek "civil war". As expected, the rebels are defeated in 1949. Nikos is the last to leave the country in rearguard action and finds refuge in the countries of the Eastern Block.
Not more than a year later, in April 1950, Nikos returned to Greece with a false passport on assignment by the exiled KKE leadership to organize the, by then illegal, communist party in Athens.
To have a better grasp of what follows in this article the reader should bear in mind some information and some facts that have been rather ignored up to now:
The contribution of the late Philip Agee in understanding what is going on in the world is as important as that of Daniel Ellsberg, of the Pentagon Papers, and that of the Wikileaks of Julian Assange. Agee's book "Inside the Company; CIA Diary" (Penguin Books, 1975), was [and is] a unique "guide" into the evil world of the CIA, this murderous entity.
- "Penetration of communist parties...are standard bread-and-butter operations of practically every CIA station" (p. 59).
- "PRIORITY A: Effect agent and/or technical penetration of the highest possible level of the Communist Party of Ecuador" (p. 114).
- "Quito [Ecuador], 20 November 1961. The station programs for penetrating the PCE [Communist Party of Ecuador] is suddenly in better shape than ever...This gives us three agents on the eight member committee..." (p. 212). The agents: Basantes, Cardenas, and Luis Vargas.
The Nikos and Elli story that follows confirms Agee's words in the most tragic way.
Also, if the US had CIA agents in the highest levels of the communist parties of the world and could affect the decisions at such a level, then what the hell was the "Cold War"? Was the US government theatrically fighting her own self? For what reason? Oil?
But, let us go on with the story as narrated by Elli in her posthumous book:
After Nikos arrived in Athens he had to contact the underground mechanism of the party so that he could find a place to hide. Elli writes: "Ever since the spring of 1950 we expected the arrival 'of a comrade from abroad'...By now it was the beginning of June, when Ploumbidis [see below] told me that the comrade we were expecting had arrived and that he had fixed a meeting with him so that I could take him to the house of Koulis... The meeting was to take place early in the afternoon at a spacious vacant plot at Kypseli..."
[Note: In 1950, Elli was 30 years old. I was 20 and I was a student of civil engineering at the Athens Polytechnic. The vacant plot that she mentions at Kypseli, a neighborhood of Athens, was about 200 yards from my home and at that time of the day I probably was returning home from the Polytechnic. In the present article I intend to add 'Notes' as this one, so that the reader could compare the drama of Nikos and Elli with the ordinary life going on around them.]
Elli goes on: "[T]o recognize me I was wearing a white dress with a red belt. I saw him from afar... he was wearing a dark suit.. which did not look very 'Greek'... My first thought was that he had to get a new suit. My second thought when he came closer, let me also admit it, was that he had a radiant smile. And the third was... Phaedra [the teenage daughter of Koulis]. 'He is a handsome man let us hope that Phaedra will not fall in love with him', I told myself... worrying, very... altruistically that this could complicate things" [The self-sarcastic 3 dots belong to Elli's original text] .
At this point it is appropriate to give a short account of Ellis' life up to the point that she met Nikos.
Elli was born in Smyrna in the Greek community of Asia Minor. She was the last of five children, born on the eve of what is known as the "Catastrophe" of Smyrna (see my ZNet Commentary "Greece: 'The Odd Man Out'", of April 2002). As an infant, in 1922, she was brought by her refugee family to Pireus, the port of Athens, where she grew up in an atmosphere of revolutionary leftism. At the age of 10 she declares that she will quit the elementary school and will go to work at a factory, where she belongs as a prole. She was dissuaded by the argument that there are many uneducated people in the social struggle. What was needed was educated people. In high school she becomes active in the Left, although there is a fascist dictatorship in Greece, since 1936.
Elli was 21 years old when the Nazis occupied Greece in 1941. [Note: I was 11 years old]. She went through the years of starvation as the rest of the Greek people.
Elli writes: "My mother died in 1943... I rented a room at... the area of 'Kypriadi'... (Once, as I remember, the rations [food allotment] was a can full of hazel-nuts and resins that were brought by 'Kurtulus'. I got it and started on foot for Kallithea [about 8 miles away]. By the time I reached my destination I had eaten the entire contents.)"
[Note: "During the Nazi occupation...the people in Athens were dying of starvation in the hundreds of thousands. Then a ship with cereals arrived at the port of Pireus... that helped stop the deaths. It was a Turkish ship by the name of 'Kurtulus'...I was one of the saved. I was 11 years old". (Excerpt from my ZNet Commentary "Of Turks and of Greeks" of May 26, 2010).
At that time in Ellis' narration, the building of my high school was occupied by a company of Nazi soldiers, among them the 'execution squad' that each morning left to do its Christian duty. So, we were obliged to move to an other building at a Christian Catholic school that the Nazis had left intact (out of Christian respect) about 2 miles away at the area of 'Kypriadi'. Thus, each day I had to walk to that school, probably very close to Ellis' rented room.
About the same time, I had the unbelievable luck to be given by the Red Cross two Swiss cans of thick condensed sugared milk, as a lady governmental doctor had found something in my lungs. What I read in the document, handed to me by her, was something illegible that seemed like the word 'cavity'. (The usual tuberculosis terrible situation.) So having decided that I had tuberculosis, I climbed on the outside of a street car, just opposite the Hilton hotel of today, for a free ride home. I cannot remember where I had found a nail with which I had opened two holes at the top of one of the cans and by the time I reached home I had sipped the 'entire contents' of the can. Of course I did not have tuberculosis, but something rather harmless. This was about 67 years ago".]
Elli was already taking part in the Resistance against the Nazis, having joined the Communist Party. After the Nazis left, the British on December 3, 1944 attack the anti-Nazi Resistance fighters in Athens and defeat them after a vicious fight of one month. Elli, finds herself a refugee in northern Greece.
She returned to Athens after the 1944 December defeat and together with Kostas Axelos were assigned by the party to organize a study group for theoretical instruction of the party members. She was 25. Elli writes: "We, those two kids, ought to have had big marxist audacity. God knows how we managed. Yet our study group had a good reputation. Axelos, after escaping from Greece, ended up in France where today is considered a significant philosopher.
After 1947, Elli went underground as the communist party was declared illegal. She worked in Athens for the party. She writes: "His [Michael's] job was appropriate for the printing unit that we planned. He found the ideal spot. A big yard fenced with a stone wall all around at a, then deserted, place above Koliatsou square, with a squat house of two rooms and a toilet... The printing unit was so well hidden [under the toilet], that when it was discovered and the general, head of the British Military Mission, 'visited' it, he said it was worth one thousand guerillas". That was in 1948. Elli was 28.
[Note: Koliatsou square is close to my parental home, the house I grew up. By Ellis' description the place of the printing unit must have been no more than 200 yards from an abandoned quarry. I was just finishing high school and was preparing for the (illogically) difficult entrance exams of the Polytechnic. To relax and take my mind off the exams, I used to throw the discus at the abandoned quarry, late in the afternoon almost daily, oblivious of what was happening so close by. I was 18.]
Elli goes on: "At night we had to stand guard...I asked not to have the 2 am to 4 am watch and the men gallantly accepted that. I never understood what was the use of that guard...Then I was instructed to leave the printing unit. I left...I went on foot [4 street car stops away] to the place of...Maritsa and Alekos' small basement apartment at Saint Meletios. They greeted me eagerly as always.These two kids were obliged to shut themselves in the basement...they could not open even the shutters to have some fresh air in...At night I was sleeping on the floor. In the single room of the apartment there was no second bed..."
This kind of life, dedicated to the party, went on up to the day Elli met Nikos at the vacant plot in the summer of 1950, to which we return:
Nikos and Elli are attracted to each other and they become a couple.
Nikos is arrested about seven months later, on December 20, 1950. Seven days later, Elli is, also, arrested. She is pregnant.
Elli stays in solitary confinement for seven and a half months in a bare concrete 6 feet by 5 feet basement cell in the security police. Nikos stays in an adjacent cell for ten months. Cell number 13, the solitary in the solitary, is even smaller. There one could only stand or sit on the floor.
Elli writes: "I wish I knew who built those cells".
[Note: During the 1967-1974 military dictatorship, offered to the Greeks by the US, the security police approached a civil engineering colleague of mine, who was building multi-story apartment buildings, to build a building for them and they gave him the specs for the construction of the concrete solitary confinement cells in the basement. My colleague, a politically very conservative person, to his credit, declined to accept the job.]
Elli: "The cold was bitter. It was December, I was not heavily dressed. They took away even my stockings...so that I did not commit suicide. The cold concrete all around [seemed] like a tomb. Finally they threw to me a tattered piece of a blanket, that was covered with filth and blood which stunk terribly. I could not bring myself to lie down. However, finally I touched it with my hands. I noticed that one of the former users had used strips of a handkerchief to make kind of [sleeping] bag. I crept inside, I even fell asleep!"
Describing the way Nikos and Elli communicated in the solitary she writes: "Nikos found a newspaper piece like the ones that the guards used as toilet paper...Nikos washed the piece and wrote on it 'Lia did not talk' [when tortured]... This is what he usually did when there was something of interest. (At first I abhorred this, but he asked me to take the pieces and wash them). Those pieces of paper were the principal source of information for us".
Then, early after the arrest of Elli, in her life enters the emissary of the US elite; of that benevolent part of humanity. It was the eve of Christmas of 1950. Elli writes: "Krondiris [the Greek security pig] took me for interrogation in the presence of Bob Driscoll , the super security cop..."
Elli goes on: "Robert (Bob to his 'friends') Driscoll appeared at my cell one morning and in impeccable Greek told me that he 'belonged to the UN'. I told him, if he belonged to the UN, then he should listen to what we have to say about what is happening at the solitary. He left without answering. I saw him again after a few days, during the night of the interrogation. It was then that he made me the monumental proposal: 'All we ask of you is to declare that the KKE [Greek Communist Party] is not a marxist party'. And he added: 'We will send you to America, you will leave Greece'. I restricted my reaction to an ironic grimace, which thwarted any inclination on his part to insist... I never learned Driscoll's past and where he learned to speak Greek so well. I suspected that maybe he had Greek-American origins. At that time the American agencies were recruiting Greek-Americans for [Greece] their colony, which they turned into a proving ground for their cold war methods including the 'psychological war' which was tested at that time in the solitary of the [Greek] Security, with significant success I would say. Nikos and I counted eight cases of nervous and psychological breakdown in the cells of the Security..."
We should not ignore that these things were happening in 1950, sixty years ago. Also, we should not forget that they have been going on to this day all over the world. Finally, we should not pretend that ordinary Americans, though they do not know the details presented here, did not have or do not have even a vague idea that this things happened and are still happening.
Elli, a very intelligent person, could infer from Driscoll's words about her theoretical work in the party, that the Intelligence agency he was serving had numerous informers in the mechanism of the KKE. Not a very positive development for Driscoll's professional assessment by his bosses.
The day Elli was arrested and before she was taken to the solitary, she had the chance to enrich her knowledge on one of the most noble practices of the western civilization: defenestration.
She writes: "For quite a while I was left alone in an office. The door to the adjacent office was left open and two men, not visible to me, were conversing. Suddenly, one of them in a loud voice says: 'You know, we left her alone and the window is also open. She might jump out of it...' The other: 'So what, why should you care?' ' Hell, I do not care for her. What bothers me is that we might get into trouble ourselves...' Only then I did notice that the window was left open...
A few days later Nikos sent me the - washed - clipping from a newspaper which mentioned that the body of Lia Flora, an excellent fighter was found at the bottom of the light-well of the Security building. No one ever learned how she was defenestrated".
It seems that Robert Driscoll, of "Main Street" USA, had been a very effective and talented "choreographer" of defenestration.
However, Driscoll's scientific work did not include only the verification of Galileo's laws of falling bodies.
Elli writes: "The next time I met Driscoll was a real 'show', so that they could test the 'truth machine'... I was taken to an upper floor...he knocked at the door on the right, the door was opened by a type in a white coat, like a doctor, thin, blond, with scanty hair and bleached blue eyes. Driscoll introduced him to me: 'The gentleman is a German scientist'... 'Now you will sit on that seat...and the gentleman will position these wires, I shall put questions to you and you will answer with a yes or no'. I told him,'what if I do not wish to sit'?...'I will use force'. That was it. I told him that I was a Greek woman in my own country, and that he was a foreigner, an American, that he had no right on me. Saying this, I jumped to the door opened it and run down the corridor. Driscoll, taken aback, run after me. He reached me at the staircase. I continued to descend. He did the same. He did not say a word.
When Driscoll passed by my cell again I asked him what happened to the German with the truth machine. He said, 'He was not a German'. [I said], 'how come? You presented him to me as a German scientist'. 'You are wrong'".
Nikos Belogiannis and Elli Papa
[At the court-martial]
On August 22, 1951 Elli is taken to an Athens maternity hospital to give birth to her child. She was put on a bed in a ward with about twenty other women, giving birth or ready to do so.
Elli writes: "At a bed opposite mine the doctors...rushed raised the legs of the woman and the delivery was on. There in front of everyone. I always thought that the birth was a private matter, a secret between the mother and the child... At the nick of time there appeared in the ward my two policemen-guards. They wished to be sure that I was not going to...escape. [Again the three dots of sarcasm belong to Elli.]
They brought a stretcher...and put it down on the floor by my bed. I leaned over to see - and I saw. On the stretcher was a woman with blood all over her and at her side... was a strange creature...'The woman is a prostitute. A syphilitic. And she gave birth to a monster', a midwife whispered to me.
Elli gives birth to a boy. She retunes with the baby to the prison. She bathed the baby with cold water, even in the freezing winter days.
On October 19, 1951, Nikos and Elli (with 91 others) stand trial at the Athens court-martial. The presiding judge, a colonel, addresses the defendants with expressions as: "Shut up!", "You are all animals", etc. Nikos and Elli are condemned to death.
On March 15, 1952, Nikos and Elli (with 27 others) go through an "additional" trial in Athens. They both are condemned to death, once more.
On March 30, 1952, a Sunday, at 4 a.m. Nikos Belogiannis is executed by a firing squad of 24 Greek soldiers.
During the first trial after Nikos finishes his defense speech a woman codefendant hands him a red carnation. Since then, this red carnation has become a universal symbol for the social struggles of all peoples, as shown years later in Portugal. The last phrase of Nikos' defense: "But, I am certain, that a day will come, that the same judges who now judge me, will ask to be pardoned by the Greek people".
After the death penalty verdict, Nikos Ploumbidis, the hierarchically upper member of the communist party in Athens, sent a letter to the Greek government admitting that he and not Belogiannis was responsible for all that Bellogiannis was accused. He offers to surrender, if Belogiannis is not executed. The leadership of the party accuses Ploumbidis as an informer of the British and the Americans and declares the letter as fake. Thus, the right of Belogiannis for a new trial is annulled.
Ploumbidis is considered one of the most tragic and honest Greeks of recent history. He was a teacher by profession, he dedicated his entire life to social struggles, he was at the last stage of tuberculosis, he was 50 years old and decided to save the life of Belogiannis who was 37 and healthy. He was arrested in November of 1952 and was executed in August 1954.
Elli writes: "In the morning the chief warden full of joy came to our cells. 'You are saved', he said holding the newspaper with Ploumbidis' letter... Next day... early in the morning... the chief warden came again and brought us the bad tidings... the KKE had declare the letter as fake (although he [Ploumbidis] had placed his inked fingerprint on it)... The only thing I knew was that at that moment both of us [Belogiannis and Elli] heard the order 'Fire!' The leadership [of KKE] wanted the death of Nikos [Belogiannis].
Nikos Ploumbidis [1905-1954]
Elli stayed in prison for 13 years, She was released in 1963. During the 1967 US sponsored military dictatorship she was arrested and sent in exile on the infamous island of Giaros. She was released in 1968 for health reasons.
Ellis' contribution to the Left of the world, through her authentic writing, is precious.
The most important part of that contribution, in my opinion, is the uncovering of the extent of the penetration of the CIA into the highest level of the communist parties of the world, as revealed by Agee and others. Elli with great anger names the names of the worst such cases in Greece:
- "LYKOGIANNIS: As the private secretary of the leader, he was installed in the office of Zachariadis [the leader]... Thus, he not only knew all the activities of the general secretary, but he was present in his meetings and his conversations, and obviously he had knowledge even of his private life. Under the pretext that he was writing the history of the KKE he laid his hands on the entire archive of the Party. He was a tight-lipped man... he did not easily even bid good day... he walked as if he was sliding... After the Party was declared illegal we were told to "be careful"... because he was seen wearing a uniform of the royal army... From then on, no one ever saw him or heard anything about him
- "VAVOUDIS [the 'deaf']: [T]he Vavoudis chapter is one of the darkest in the history of the Party, it should be opened from the beginning and researched according to the strictest methods of historiography". Elli, is certain that Vavoudis was assigned to push the Greeks to have what is called the "civil war" after 1945. During the December 1944 fighting in Athens against the British. The Party asked the Bulgarian leader Georgi Dimitrov, the star defendant at the Hitler Reichstag fire trial in which he was acquitted, if he could help with military material the Greeks. Dimitrov replied that he could not. This was hidden by Vavoudis. If that was known, the civil war would not have happened and the course of history in Greece would have been different. Driscoll and his Greek "servants", knowing that she would be executed, during her interrogation sadistically let her understand that Vavoudis was their man.
- "VLANTAS: "The main question... is how come after the fall of the  dictatorship of the colonels, he, the great "communist leader" found himself a close collaborator of Mitsotakis." Mitsotakis, a close friend of the Bush family, is the most despised and reviled Greek politician with an unbelievable history of working for the benefit of the US.
So it was not only Agee's Ecuador with its Basantes, Cardenas, and Vargas. It was also Greece with its Lykogiannis, Vavoudis, and Vlantas. Of course, Greece and Ecuador were not the "chosen peoples" for the CIA. The same holds for France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, etc. The history "created" at that time by "Wild" Bill Donovan of the OSS and Irving Brown of the US "syndicalism" is still there and affects the life of all these peoples.
Elli writes: "The relationship to the [Communist] Party was a clearly metaphysical one". It seems that this explains why intelligent people as Elli and Nikos and so many others could not "see" the Stalinist hell, while an 11-year-old on the sidewalks of Manhattan, Noam Chomsky, during the same period could clearly see that. Elli came to the conclusion that she "kept seeing the tree and ignored the forest".
However, Elli as an honest person kept her eyes open and kept "seeing" things. She writes: 'In prison the worst torture is not the imprisonment per se. You know how to deal with this. The worst thing is the mud-slinging by supposed comrades. With whom you are obliged to coexist". Also, Elli was disgusted by the behavior of the male "comrades". Her anger in this matter comes out when she writes about a "comrade" who intending to diminish a female comrade says: "What do you expect of a woman who talks to you and looks you straight in the eyes..."
One of the most powerful passages on printed paper, that, at least, I have seen is this: Elli writes: "Many times I feel, [or better] I am certain, that if they kept us in the solitary of the Security up to this day, for all of 45 years we [Nikos and Elli] could survive; even more: We would be happy. Because in there, that they confined us, to crush us, we managed to have a complete life. Yet, I have to accept that we were privileged... We had our love". [p. 100]
In the solitary, Elli and Nikos planed what they called their "if-we-stay-alive" life. She writes: "Among those [plans] rose the ambitious one to write the History of the Greek Thought!... I was allotted the Antiquity and Nikos was allotted [the period] from the Byzantium and after".
Elli offers an unbelievable piece of information. She writes: "I did not know that in my dark cell I could train my eyesight so much as to read in the darkness".
Again in the solitary, they talked about the content a life should have. Nikos wrote: "I think that life should have these three components: the great, the beautiful, and the thrilling... The great is to struggle for a better life, to struggle at the frontline for that... The beautiful is... music, the flowers, poetry... The thrilling is this that we have. A love like ours..."
In 1955, while still in prison, Elli starts writing a letter addressed to her son, 4 years old by now, so that he can read it when he will be 16 years old. The last page of the letter is written in May 1962. Her son, who has the same name as his father, Nikos Belogiannis, 49 years old by now, what was in the letter he heard from his mother after she was released from prison.
After the 1967 dictatorship, on the anniversary of the execution of Nikos Belogiannis the KKE organized a gathering in a theater to honor him. They invited only my son. With great difficulty I persuaded him to attend. Elli writes: "I passed by the theater to get an idea of what was happening... Their vulgar shouting sounds in my ears to this day: 'Tonight we honor Nikos Belogiannis!'... I leaned on the wall of the National Library [opposite the theater] and I cried bitterly". She added: "Now they have a 'useful hero", Bellogianns, and a 'useful informer', Ploumbidis".
Elli's book has two sentences uttered by Nikos as he was going to be executed:
- "Stay away from... symbols and organizations"
[My interpretation: The symbols he meant were: the hammer and sickle, the swastika, the cross, the flags, and so on. By "organizations" he meant the hierarchical structure of parties, etc]
- "And to think that we are going to die for a mistake".
[What he meant was that it was a mistake that the Left abstained from the elections of 1946. When the Left with legal means could have change the history of Greece.]
What Driscoll, the Stalinists, etc could not foresee, was that the prison could teach Elli, a metaphysically dedicated communist, about the problems of authority. She writes: "The problems of daily routine in the prison are tremendous... It was then that in my consciousness entered the problem of authority and it started to occupy my mind very seriously".
In 1992 Elli wrote a book. The title of the book: "The Commune of 1871; The Revolution of the Twenty-First Century". Let us hope that she was right!
Elli died in Athens on October 27, 2009. She was 89 years old.
1. On October 10, 2010, in Amfissa, a small town close to Delphi, a Greek court condemned to life the policeman who killed 15-year-old Alexis on December 6, 2008. Another policeman was condemned to 15 years, as an accomplice. The presiding judge, Angelina Papavasiliou, an always elegantly dressed and gracefully poised lady, one of the judges and a juror disagreed with the decision and asked for more lenient verdict. One judge and three jurors (all women) were the majority for the final verdict.
The mother of the policeman who got 15 years pleaded with the court not to send her son to prison. Then, Alexis' very old grandmother approached the mother of the policeman and showed her the photo of Alexis saying; "This is the one you killed". At that point a policeman in the court room eyeing the grandmother scornfully started shouting "Throw her out. I am the one who is the boss around here". Also, the rest of the policemen were heard using bad language about the judge and the jurors of the majority.
My estimate: The "socialist" Greek government imposed these rather harsh verdicts to keep the young Greeks out of the streets, expecting that on appeal the pigs will get a better chance. We shall see.
2. The death of Alexis, besides the judicial difficulties for the authorities, had some very unpleasant results for them. In the news we hear that the anti-terrorist police (or something) estimate that the murder of Alexis has forced some young men to use violence. The police estimate them in the dozens if not hundreds. Some of them sent the exploding letters to Sarkozy and to Merkel.
3. I asked the "Benaki Museum" people, the publisher of Elli's book, if they plan to have an English translation. The answer was: not for the time being.