Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Children of the Greek Revolution

The letter bombs sent to embassies in Athens and heads of state throughout Europe last week halted Greek mail and international delivery services and sparked opportunistic street demonstrations. Bomb squads cordoned off streets, choking Athens with apocalyptic traffic jams. Militants have staged about one attack per month over the past 14 months, but the embassy bombings marked a broader, more coordinated level of violence -- and the first time in the history of Greek terrorism that foreign leaders have been targeted, lending credence to the theory among terrorism experts that Greek militants are looking for collaborators outside the country, as well as to enhance their reputation internationally.

Athens police have questioned two Greeks suspected to be responsible for the latest bombings, both unemployed men in their early 20s and alleged to be members of a Greek terrorist group that also committed several nonlethal attacks last year. A suspicious package delivered to the Hungarian Embassy on Tuesday was found to have contained only documents, and Athens has by and large returned to normality. Meanwhile, jaded Athenians grappled for explanations: Why is it that disaffected French students go on strike while middle-class Greek students bomb embassies?

Although Greek terrorism has been occasionally erupting for decades, its inchoate ideological inspiration has made it difficult for many Greeks to understand what motivates the increasing violence of the country's militant youth. At times accompanied by anti-capitalist sloganeering and anarchist proclamations, Greek terrorism has also been perpetrated with no defined message at all. "We have problems with authority," said Paraskos Mantagos, a senior investment manager at a large Greek bank, from his home in Athens. He paused, and then let out a long breath. "I haven't grasped what is going on, to be honest. It's almost like a fashion."

Elaine Papoulias, director of the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, notes that it's a byproduct of Greece's unique political culture. "In France, political parties do not permeate every social and economic fabric in life as they do in Greece," said Papoulias in an interview. "The turn to violence in some ways can be seen as a rejection of this system where politics is ubiquitous and dictates what job you have, what cafes you frequent, what football teams you support, what newspapers you read. Violence has become a means of political expression and a way to clearly reject participation in traditional modes of political life, be it voting, joining a party or trade union."

Excellent article from Foreign Policy magazine.



Search This Blog

Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP