A shield against violence

COMMENT

The reasonable and democratic-minded people of this country need to put up a shield against unchecked hatred and violence. Regrettably, public life has come to be dominated by both.

The terrorist attack on ex-prime minister Lucas Papademos was just the tip of the iceberg. A new generation of terrorists is being bred in and out of Greek prisons. Guerrilla groups are escalating their activity, forging links with organized crime and even seeking to recruit desperate refugee children. Organized groups occasionally raid state buildings without punishment. University departments are at the mercy of vandals. Greece has become a destination for “revolutionary tourism.” Officials shrug their shoulders – violence has become the new norm. Wiser observers know the extent of the damage that can be incurred on the country's interests.

That said, violence is fueled by hatred – a hatred that is systematically cultivated by a specific set of politicians, media and people in social networks. We all have an obligation to eradicate this disease. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must drain his government of partisan vitriol and divisive language.

The hatred that we have seen sweeping the social media here in the wake of the Papademos attack is a sad indicator of precipitous decadence. In the past, reckless calls against the country’s ostensible “traitors” and “dictators” managed to attract votes and TV audiences, for they captivated the ears of an increasingly poor and desperate society. At the same time, they were an excuse for sick minds looking for an opportunity to unleash their violent fury.

There must be zero tolerance for hate speech and violence. Or it will be too late.

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