It is remarkable how the new generation of Greece’s “urban guerrillas” have adopted their predecessors’ ambition to play a role in politics, to affect the “system’s” course by becoming part of it. Just as “Revolutionary Organization November 17” aped that which it purported to be fighting against (adopting the hard right’s traditional nationalism and bourgeois greed as their ideology, robbing banks to fund members’ acquisition of country villas), so “Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire” wants to force itself onto the battleground of our justice system, seeing itself as a serious player which could play a decisive role.
The group’s aspirations should be the business mainly of its few members. Unfortunately, though, its actions involve the rest of society, because terrorism is not the only threat that members of the judiciary face but the violence will compound the other problems. In claiming responsibility for a bomb blast outside the home of appeals court prosecutor Georgia Tsatani late Wednesday, the Cells said that this was because she has handled issues relating to jailed members. But, with public relations in mind, they also selected their target because she is involved in a highly publicized dispute with the alternate minister of justice. The self-appointed avengers adopt the claims of one side, they judge without a trial and impose the sentence that they decide. They do not see the irony of not offering their victims the rights that they are so quick to claim for themselves.
With their choice of targets, the bombers become part of a real and serious conflict in the judiciary. They may be a small and meaningless piece but they do have the potential to complicate an already difficult situation and serious divisions. November 17’s many crimes were aimed at changing the course of politics, society and the economy but all they did was kill people and destroy lives. In the same way, today’s terrorists will spread fear and sorrow and then disappear. It is up to the police to prevent worse developments. Tsatani’s charge that her police guard had been scaled down recently against her will is a disturbing sign of a lack of focus by the government.
The state and citizens must do all they can to calm the judicial system immediately. The government has to ensure its independence and credibility. If politicians and judicial officials had not accepted that the situation is becoming dangerous, the recent attack should wake them up. Seeing how divisions in public life encourage violence, those who try to manipulate institutions should understand that when they place their own interests above the common good, everyone loses. Democratic forces can prevail only when they are united.