Fighting the technocrats of violence

Some people here dream of turmoil similar to the violent riots that swept Athens in December 2008. Those champions of violence have not changed their habits — and they see the current crisis as a first-class opportunity to turn the capital, and the whole country, into a complete mess. Their ambition is fueled by three facts:

First, a considerable segment of society is under great strain because of growing poverty and unemployment. Second, there is a large number of migrants out there who have nothing to lose and who would be glad to take part in a re-enactment of the 2008 riots. Third, many a youth sees Molotov cocktails as an antidote to boredom. The technocrats of violence are doing their best to spread their know-how.

But people’s frustration over cuts and unemployment is one thing and the violence orchestrated by the same old anti-establishment groups quite another. Those who take joy in the news that a certain politician was attacked by an angry crowd fail to see that violence is blind to political affiliation.

Instead of acting like spectators at the Colosseum, with one group pitted against the other, they should take some time to ponder what our society will look like if we let things continue as they are: left-wing gangs fighting against right-wing gangs, desperate migrants holding sit-in demonstrations in front of Athens University or on the Acropolis, and the country plunging deeper into chaos.

A small but very determined minority wants to pull the country into the abyss. The vast majority of the population should be equally determined to stop this from happening. We must strive to maintain our status among the world’s top 29 wealthiest countries and not slide to the level of our southern neighbors.

The nihilists of violence have one key weapon: fear. And fear cannot be tackled with police measures alone. For years we have cultivated this anything-goes culture. Anyone who dared talk about law and order was rebuffed as a right-wing nutcase.

We do love this country and we want to solve the problems that beset it. We sympathize with the immigrants but we feel sorry that Greece cannot afford to make up for the injustices of the capitalist system or the civil war in Sudan.

We must not allow fear to dominate our cities and our universities. And we cannot allow anyone to drag us down to the hedonism of a repeat of December 2008, a spectacle of fire and violence.