OPINION

The Polytechnic flag

The Polytechnic flag, and all it symbolizes, has never been at risk from its detractors or those who deny there were victims, those who, with a disregard for historical fact, perpetuate the dictators’ claim that «by the grace of God, no one was killed.» Many of them, ultra-nationalists and defenders of the »Greek Orthodox» junta, later donned the garb of democrats. The Polytechnic flag is threatened by those who were politically absent from that uprising and those who are ideologically opposed to the freedom of thought for which it stood, who hastened, after the event, to capitalize on it for their own ends. It is threatened by those who try to «give the right meaning» to an event that they had tried to falsify. In November 1983, 10 years after those fateful events, the poet Manolis Anagnostakis gave voice to his anger with the words: «I fear those people who for seven years pretended not to know and one day.. .came out into the squares waving flags and shouting… ‘Give the junta to the people’… I fear those who closed their door to the people selling coupons; now you see them at the Polytechnic, laying carnations and crying.» The restoration of democracy produced many such people, heroes from the safety of distance, among them the usurpers of memory and ideas. It is a usurpation of memory for the PASOK youth movement to have hung on to the blood-spattered Polytechnic flag for decades, ever since the party first came to power. With the excuse that the student movement was in disarray (for which its own student group, PASP, must bear much of the blame), these arrogant people kept the symbol of the uprising in their own hands. Even now that the official commemoration committee has requested its return to the Polytechnic, PASP refuses to do what is self-evident. Even though the party appears to agree to the request. You can honor a symbol in many ways, but not by insulting it.