OPINION

Choosing political will or tolerance

We should really see things for what they are. We have two distinct problems: a new cycle of terrorist attacks on the one hand and street violence by youths on the other. Virtually every evening, police stations, banks and stores are coming under attack as university faculty buildings are destroyed right in front of on-duty officers. One thing is certain: there is no other European country with such a widespread problem of low-intensity domestic terrorism. Of course, there are some people who insist on accusing anyone who condemns this phenomenon of scaremongering. But there is a real paradox here and a tragic irony. Greece’s political Left has undergone a brave struggle to change the country over its long history, and workers and students are both better off as a result. The youths who insist on wreaking havoc every night will leave nothing but wreckage behind them, and perhaps make a few glaziers and private security firms very rich. The paradox is that their actions merely succeed in awakening the most conservative sentiments in society, which is tired of the abuse of the sacred institution of university asylum. These youths’ insistence on violence will lead the country to implement the strictest counter-terrorism measures of the past 30 years; it will lead to surveillance cameras being reinstalled and to guards being assigned in front of university faculties. And this simply makes sense. The average citizen is fed up with paying for the damage caused by a few vandals and wants more effective measures to tackle the situation. The terror group November 17 reached the same deadlock. Its aim had been, ostensibly, the country’s liberation from the guardianship of foreign agencies. And what did it achieve? The greatest imaginable level of penetration of Greece by the CIA, FBI and Scotland Yard. After the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974, Greece managed to operate like a European country and was able to restrict the operation of any foreign secret service within its borders. N17 succeeded in bringing back the agents. Today we are at a crucial crossroads. The obvious course of action demands the highest level of political will and constant political supervision of security services. The other option is for Greece to accept that it is a country whose political system allows an armed «movement» to do what it wants under the pretext of being a tolerant state. That is also a solution but it leaves Greece open to blackmail by the USA and other regimes. The only way for our country to become truly independent and impervious to outside pressures is for it to put its own house in order.