COMMENT

The law of the gang

By Paschos Mandravelis

Is there no judge left in Athens? Is there no prosecutor? The reason for this question is that there appear to be gangs of criminals that drive around the city beating, stabbing and killing fellow humans and yet no state authority seems willing or able to do anything about it.

The Greek press is rife with reports of ?attacks carried out by members of Golden Dawn,? the country?s neofascist political party. However no prosecutor seems to be looking into the allegations.

If the accusations are true, then we are faced with a very serious crime that invites very serious penalties, that of setting up a criminal organization. The punishment is prescribed by that same law that was employed to crack down on leftist crimes.

If the allegations are false, then Golden Dawn chief Nikos Michaloliakos and his lot need to do something to fix their image. For it would be unacceptable for a group of criminals to style themselves as a ?social movement,? as it were, and tarnish the image of a parliamentary party.

This country has never been middle of the road. From the shallow progressivism that held officials to inaction toward illegal immigrants we now are at the other end of the spectrum: the fascism of indifference when these people are being murdered.

The reason for this may rest with the fact that we do not care that much about legality. We did not care when these people sneaked into the country without permission. Similarly, we do not care when some other people beat them up. Meanwhile, state authorities are also failing to fulfill their duty.

After the fall of the military dictatorship in the early 1970s, we gradually got used to leftist wrongdoing under a political cloak. Some went as far as to express their admiration for the crimes of the November 17 guerrillas. Now we are expected to get used to lawbreaking and criminality from the far right.

It seems that this country will never be able to enjoy a rule of law where offenders are punished regardless of the color of their flag and their supposedly higher ideals. We fail to understand that breaching the law, wherever it comes from, harms society?s well-being. Do we have to experience the law of the gang in order to appreciate the rule of law?

We need a prosecutor who will perform his duty, which is to enforce the law, a prosecutor who will investigate whether police officers have ties with Golden Dawn, a prosecutor who will strengthen law enforcement on the streets. The country cannot be held to ransom by gangs who claim to be defending their own understanding of legality.

Online