Thursday, November 17, 2011

Retweet: Anniversary of Athens Polytechnic student uprising puts focus back on Greece for a day

The media world's attention has swiftly changed its focus from Greece to Italy. Only a couple of weeks ago the media watched as the markets swooned as investors feared that Greece would default on its debt obligations.

But a new bailout package, combined with a change of prime minister and the news from Italy has al but kept Greece out of the headlines this past week or so.

This week, however, is the 38th anniversary of the student uprisings at the National Technical University of Athens, known as Athens Polytechnic. Greece was in the sixth year of dictatorship by a military junta when, on November 14, 1973, students went on strike in protest against the regime. On November 17th the government sent a tank into the university to break up the protests. Although no students were killed in the incident, 24 others were killed outside of the Athens Polytechnic campus.

Today, there are marches in Greece commemorating the events that took place 38 years ago. George Gilson, writing the Press Watch column for the Athens News writes about how many Greek citizens view current events influenced by the past.
Today, a large segment of the press and Greek people view the dictatorship of the markets and German hegemony in Europe as an equally great threat to liberty. The tanks have simply been replaced by financial instruments with greater precision and firepower.

Even the most peremptory glance at the Greek and international press will show that a critical mass of citizens are concerned that democracy is in retreat, both on the national and European level.
It is easy for the media to move on – both Greece and Italy now have governments run by technocrats with backgrounds in the financial community – but on the ground the issues have not changed.