The shadow of injustice

The attempted murder of Constantina Kuneva in December 2008 has haunted Greece over the past year-and-a-half. Yesterday’s proposal by a prosecutor that the file be closed raises the danger that the acid that was used against the brave union leader will mark our difficult age as well: Her scars and the impunity of those who tried to kill her will hang like a shadow over a society that will suffer greatly in the coming years. Kuneva paid a very high price for daring to speak for the people on the lowest rung of employment – the cleaners (immigrant and Greek) who are paid by the hour; if the prosecutor’s proposal is accepted, Kuneva’s unidentified attackers will find worthy accomplices in the chronic inefficiency of our police and judicial authorities. This will not be the first time that a major case leads to a dead end. Nor does it have the international and political ramifications of other scandals that rocked the nation before being forgotten without anyone paying for them. This may seem a simple, personal case, but the attack against Kuneva is important because it shows how unprotected people are. When Prime Minister George Papandreou himself has said that when he was an immigrant in Sweden he did the work that the Bulgarian immigrant Kuneva did in Greece, when Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has declared it a personal objective to solve the case, we cannot accept the file closing. The only way out is to intensify the investigation, cover the ground lost in the first weeks after the attack (when there was no serious police work) and the file must remain open until there is a breakthrough. When the new poverty begins to spread, more and more people will seek work in the economy’s gray areas. Law-abiding employers will struggle under higher taxes and lower revenues and will be forced to lay off workers – many of whom will turn to illegal employment and exploitation. That is why justice in Kuneva’s case is necessary, not only for ethical reasons and personal justification but because this will be a most important signal that this country will not allow its people to be the victims of violence and injustice.

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