OPINION

Distortions of history

There have always been plenty of people to slander, distort or exploit the message of the November 17, 1973 student-led Polytechnic revolt. Party mechanisms, organizations and individuals have attempted to belittle the spontaneous uprising of the Polytechnic’s besieged defenders down to their size. Others (revisionists or those with hubris) have done so in order to annihilate its significance, and others to exploit it, fashioning their absence or their reluctance at the time into a «leading role.» Every a posteriori reading comprises a self-seeking manipulation of an event that became a milestone because individual actors transcended their limits via a collective effort. Whether one reads or listens to the juntists, their supporters, and the judicial officials whom democracy has honored with senior posts asserting that «there were no casualties during the Polytechnic uprising and everything was a left-wing conspiracy,» or to self-styled «defenders of the people,» such as alleged November 17 gunman Dimitris Koufodinas, who, in an attempt at dark humor, claim to be celebrating the group’s nameday, one feels the same indignation. However, there is no connection whatsoever between the November 17 anniversary and a terrorist group that had for years used an historic anniversary to mask its baneful activity. These two worlds are not merely different – they are the exact opposites of each other. The students sang in the light of day, fought in the light of day, dreamed in the light of day and they were killed in the light of day. The terrorists were born in the dark, they laid their ambushes in the dark and killed in the dark – their mandate came not from the people but from their militaristic ideas. Koufodinas and his fellow defendants cannot possibly be celebrating. For he does not deserve to celebrate, he who has heavily and repeatedly offended the celebration.