OPINION

Political motives?

That the subject of terrorism will provoke sharp reactions is perhaps unavoidable, but when public debate degenerates into demonization and cursing, it bodes ill for democracy. It is not the journalist’s job to tell the anti-terrorism squad whom they should arrest. Equally, broadcasting a torrent of abuse can hardly be considered informative. The attempt to present November 17 as a common organized crime gang is insufferable propaganda. Terrorism is a serious crime, but a political one. The existence of political motives behind N17’s acts does not make them any less criminal. N17’s founders were both fanatics and idealists, who saw their violent attacks as sacrifices for a «higher purpose.» But in fact, terrorism is the expression of an immoral political illiteracy that invariably yields the opposite of what it seeks. It boosts the mechanisms of repression and restricts political freedom, and it provokes the transformation of the self-styled «urban guerrilla» into the professional terrorist, and sometimes petty criminal. … The prime minister made a mistake when he bowed to right-wing pressure and responded – to claims of socialist beliefs expressed by N17 frontman Dimitris Koufodinas – by comparing the group to the Mafia. Terrorists invoking socialism do not necessarily share a political affinity with socialist parties. PASOK has more in common with New Democracy than with November 17.