Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

Nothing normal about it

COMMENT

TAGS: Crime, Politics, Society

A voice on a video of the latest attack by the anti-establishment group Rouvikonas on the office of a notary can be heard saying, “Let’s go, let’s go!” The commanding tone suggests that the assailants were doing a job that had to be wrapped up. The group was indeed in great form: They swung sledgehammers at windows and computers, and then left the building.

On that same video, we also hear the voice of an employee at the firm, almost pleading with the attackers – “Guys, we don’t do foreclosure auctions.” “We have even issued an announcement,” the man adds in a futile attempt to prevent the unavoidable. We also hear the response of one of the “guys” – “Come off it; you’ve done dozens” – as he smashes a last piece of glass on his way out.

If you take away the fear of the people working in the office, the cynicism of the “guys” and the fact that such incidents have become an almost daily occurrence, there is something almost funny about the scene, like a skit from a bad comedy. It is a scene of destruction without obstacles or filters: The state tolerates it, the justice system shrinks from it, society is cast in the role of audience and Rouvikonas continues on its merry way.

The dialogue between the attackers and their victims also tells us that attacks on notary offices have become almost inevitable, expected in a fated sort of manner. The worker’s reaction also suggests acceptance, albeit subconsciously, of what was not said: “If we did carry out auctions, your attack would be justified. But we don’t, so why?”

When violence becomes routine and keeps pushing the line of what is legal and what is not even further toward the latter, then there is only worse to come. What will prevent the next “discussion” between attacker and victim, or will the next incident spiral out of control? Nothing – not when the state machine, which should be the guarantor of normalcy, turns a blind eye, and not when a part of ruling SYRIZA and society sees nothing wrong with these “raids.” The more the government shifts the boundaries of the law, the more room lawlessness has to grow.

At the start of the week, the prime minister said in a video address that Greece is going “from fear to normalcy” and that we are on course to becoming a “normal country.” This is what probably prompted Rouvikonas to make its own video: the possibility that it will be exempted from whatever the prime minister thinks is normal.

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