Sitcom terrorism

The police crackdown on alleged ELA terrorists over the weekend was a complete denigration of the idea of suspects’ detention. Only the perversely sarcastic mind of a scriptwriter or director, in comedies starring Peter Sellers or Louis de Funes, could conjure up the image of a presumed retired terrorist saying on national television that he is about to meet the public order minister, then boarding a ship to Piraeus under the escort of television cameras, before finally being arrested at a train station amid dozens of reporters. A similar farce was staged in Kolonaki where armed policemen in full military outfit imitated «Miami Vice» or «Robocop» in surrounding the «wild terrorist» under the close eye of a group of television cameras. Let alone the fact that the alleged terrorist frequented the central coffee shops, knowing that his name had for weeks, if not months, circulated in the office of the very last reporter while his arrest was expected at any time. We understand that the historic crackdown on ELA, an urban guerrilla group which has been defunct for eight years, is very different from the dismantling of November 17. Without doubt, the chasm separating the terrorist activity of the two groups is huge. But this does not justify the complete vulgarization of the detention process of persons accused of involvement in terrorist acts. The continued trivialization is not only due to television channels which, it must be said, do not hesitate to participate in all sorts of circuses, whether these are reality shows or much-hyped arrests at a suburban railway station. Nevertheless, most of the blame lies with the Public Order Ministry and the police authorities, which have for months leaked to the press the names of the people who have been detained and those whose names are next on the list. When the responsible political elite turns the dismantling of terrorism into a sitcom, it makes one feel cheap to attack television channels for offering a spectacle of bad taste. It has once again been proved that we have reached a point in this country where no issue, no matter how serious, can resist the pressure of vulgarization, which appears to be coming from all sides.