‘I kill, therefore I am’

The ongoing trial of suspected November 17 guerrillas is about to touch the essence of the phenomenon and the reasons why it lasted 27 years. Objections on the nature of the crimes and the competence of the tribunal have intensified a debate which has accompanied the activity of urban guerrilla groups and which had helped to uphold their myth and existence. From the very beginning, the activity of the paranoid and arrogant gunmen was veiled with a mantle of political legitimization that underpinned their activity for so many years. Today, 27 years on, everyone realizes that our democracy was sick all along. It conferred with them, and it did not safeguard its fundamental principles that allow each one of us to express and promote his political ideas in a peaceful manner with respect for human rights. Inside a democracy, no one can claim they lack the means and power to express their opinion. In that sense, a political crime is unthinkable and unacceptable; it does not suit people’s way of life and the democratic tradition. In that sense, we cannot accept the November 17 terrorists as being politically motivated. Their ideas would have had no social effect whatsoever had they been promoted through parliamentary, peaceful means. The killings, the blood and the bombs were a means of confirming their existence, and nothing more. «I kill, therefore I exist.» This was the terrorists’ dogma; but such dogma is not political. It straddles the fence of psychopathology. Regardless of the objectives, the discussion about the November 17 crimes is misleading and problematic, as it was in the early post-1974 period. Regardless of the objectives, branding these crimes «political» is dubious. It legitimates the gunmen and, most crucially, it is not pedagogically wise as it undermines peaceful coexistence – the most precious of all democratic goods.

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