Greece's "Alternative" Bookburners
Posted on: 2008-12-08 20:03:36
They burn books in Democracy's Cradle
Western Voices staff/Hellenic Lines
Photo: Today's "anarchists" burn books, in the service of corporations and governments.
The news is full of images and reports of widespread violence consuming many cities in Greece. While the rioting was sparked by white "anarchist" anger over a police shooting of a teenage thug who was part of a gang throwing bottles at cop cars in Athens, there's something the "mainstream" media isn't telling you. According to Western Voices World News sources in Europe, which will soon be confirmed by "mainstream" media outlets, the rioters are largely Third World immigrants angered at the "slow" process of the highly overburdened Greek asylum processing system. "Asylum seekers," Third Worlders who have learned to claim political persecution back home in order to extend their stay in Greece, are using the chaos to loot Greek property and express their anger at a system that doesn't give them what they want.
The "anarchists," like all leftists, are mere stooges, who think that the violence validates their primitive, outdated pseudo-political "beliefs." The "center left" PASOK opposition, who nearly ruined Greece when in power for three decades, are calling for "peaceful protest" to bring down the conservative government, while the Communist Party, still ideologically disoriented since the collapse of the Soviet Union, hopes to capitalize on the chaos.
But the main driver of the violence, besides the immigrants who could care less about politics, are the "anarchists," whose "scene" is attractive to privileged white kids because it requires none of the ideological rigor or commitment of Marxism, and few of the social costs of nationalism, which is the only political movement capable of changing society in the age of globalism. Instead, "anarchists" are able to don the mantle of "radicalism," complete with music, uniformly lame hairstyles, and regulated clothing conventions, without any real risk. In fact, even calling these spoiled clowns "anarchists" is highly generous; many of the founders of real, historical anarchism, like Bakunin, as well as Proudhon (the first person to ever refer to himself as an anarchist), would be jailed today for "racist" and "anti-Semitic" "hate speech" under draconian European "hate laws." (So, for that matter, would that old bore, Karl Marx).
Today's anarchists, especially in Greece, are really only liberals with too much hair gel. Their core beliefs are crushingly conventional, especially in the areas of race and alternative thinking. These "antifa" conformists actually serve as auxiliaries of the prevailing paradigm, as seen in their approach to freedom of speech. While governments increasingly prosecute and jail independent, politically incorrect authors, researchers, publishers and booksellers, the "anarchists" just burn them out.
From our friends at Hellenic Lines:
Attacks on publishers & book-burnings in Athens.
Open letter by Aristide Caratzas
Melissa International Ltd
To: Ms Ana Maria Cabanellas
International Publishers Association
3 Avenue de Miremont
1206 Geneva, Switzerland
Dear Ms Cabanellas,
We would like to bring to your attention and would be grateful for your reaction to the fact that there has been a series of attacks on book publishers and their bookstores in Athens, Greece, the first on 5 June, in each case resulting in the destruction of these establishments and the burning of tens of thousands of books (see the attached Informational Appendices: 1 for a description of the events, 2 for a sampling of the kind of destruction, and 3 for a list of the five establishments that were attacked and burned).
Relating to these organized and brutal attacks it is remarkable that,
* the police did not act, certainly it has not arrested and charged any of those responsible;
* the government appears to have taken no other action to find the culprits, and has not even made statement to condemn these acts; the main opposition party also has not condemned these actions, even though one of its prominent MPs (and former Minister of Education) recently was attacked by what appears to have been a person linked to the book-burners;
* the mainstream press, print or television, has given little or no coverage to the events;
* the human rights NGOs, that are otherwise quite vocal in any number of issues, have chosen to be quiet on this attack on the freedom of the press and public expression; and,
* the publishers’ and booksellers’ associations have ignored these attacks (the only comment an official of one of the publishers’ association could muster to this writer was that the victims were not sufficiently careful about the safety of their property).
All of the above groups appear seemingly oblivious to the implication that their silence effectively signifies their acceptance of these violent criminal acts, and of the corollary, that not all are entitled to equal protection under the law of their basic human rights and freedoms.
We are writing to you out of frustration and genuine concern about the implications for civil society not only Greece, but also of Europe in its entirety, of the acceptance of criminal attacks, book-burning and intimidation as forms of legitimate “political expression”. These violent actions against books remind on of the Heinrich Heine’s often quoted, "In a place where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings" (Dort, wo man Bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen).
We ask that you contact the Greek Minister of Interior, the Honorable Prokopis Pavlopoulos, if only to ask him why the Hellenic Police and other institutions charged with maintaining public safety under his command have not been providing for the tangible protection of the freedoms of speech, of the press and of public expression.
It would also be helpful if you sent copies of the above communication to the Minister of Education, the Honorable Euripides Stylianidis, and to the Minister of Culture, the Honorable Michael Liapis. Contact information for all three ministers is to be found in the attached Informational Appendix.
A note explaining my motivation: I am an independent academic publisher based in New York over the last 33 years, a lifelong bibliophile committed to the unencumbered presentation of ideas, knowledge and information in book form with skill and good taste.
And I happen to be Greek, with a deep sense that the ideas and values developed in great part by my forebears, among the main ones are those relating to the dignity of the human being and to the very concept of freedom, became foundational for European culture; I am thus especially outraged that my fellow Greeks who are in a position to react institutionally, by their silence and inaction, passively accept the most barbaric and destructive of behaviors.
I have taken the liberty to send a copy of this letter to your Mr Alexis Krikorian, Director, Freedom to Publish. Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to you response.
Aristide D. Caratzas
Informational Appendix 1
The Burning of Four Athenian Bookstores and the Paralysis of Values
A Description of Events
1. On June 5 at 7:30 PM a group of thirty or thirty-five self-described “anarchists” wearing masks and hoods attacked the bookstore of Editions Pelasgos in the center of Athens, forced the owner Giannis Giannakenas and a customer out of the space, and emptied cans of gasoline and threw Molotov cocktails, incinerating the entire place and destroying it entirely.
2. On June 5, after the attack on Editions Pelasgos, the same group of hooded thugs walked about 200 meters and attacked the bookstore of the Georgiadis Editions, spraying it with flammables and throwing Molotov cocktails, also destroying it completely. The hooded thugs were so confident that there would be no police or other reaction that one of them directed traffic away from the front of the store so that his associates could complete their work of de- struction undisturbed. The publisher, Spyridon Adonis Georgiadis is a Member of Parliament elected in Athens, and this was the eleventh attack on his premises.
3. On June 21 at 1:00 PM – at a time when the area was bustling with activity - a group of about fifteen to twenty hooded thugs attacked the bookstore “Nea Thesis”, about 200 meters from the establishments that were attacked on June 5, and barely over 100 meters from the police precinct of the Exarcheia district of Athens. The thugs forced the wife of the owner and the employees out by beating a couple of them and threatening further violence, then poured flammable liquid in the store and incinerated it. The owner is Giannis Schoinas and he suffered a total loss.
4. On July 4 a fourth bookstore, “Eleutheri Skepsis”, a short distance from the establishments attacked during the previous weeks, also was attacked by a mob of a couple of dozen hooded thugs. The store also was gutted by fire, with the loss of thousands of books.
It is disquieting to note the following additional information about the four bookstore (and book) burnings:
# The four bookstores are identified with views on the political right, three relatively mainline right, the fourth with the extreme right.
# Each of the attacks described above lasted a minimum of 15-20 minutes, i.e. plenty of time for the police and authorities to respond. Yet in each instance the police and the authorities responded 30 minutes or so after the fact. The undersigned was an eyewitness of this practice when an attack on two publisher booths last Fall (2007) during the bi-annual book fair at Dionysiou Areopagitou, by a group of hooded or masked thugs led by a tall, thin young man who did not bother to cover his face; probably this group included many the same people that carried out the book-burnings. The group attacked the stands, and the people manning them, with clubs; the overturned the tables, tearing books apart and otherwise creating mayhem. Fifteen minutes later they left. A police squad appeared in force 30 minutes later, helmeted and with shields; even though I provided information to the lead police officer and offered to testify as a witness providing all personal relevant information, I was never called.
# The government, the opposition parties and the authorities have done or said little or nothing to condemn these attacks. This passive behavior in part can be explained by the fact that the publishers and bookstores attacked belong to persons aligned politically with the right wing (and in one case, extreme right wing).
# The mainline press given little or no coverage to these events. The only exception is to be found in an extensive and convoluted article dated June 20 in the newspaper Avgi, by a certain Demosthenis Papadatos-Anagnostopoulos, who, referring to the bookstore attacks, states that (presumably speaking for his partisans, unless it is a royal “we”) “nor do we believe that our freedom ends where that of the others’ begins... and we understand that for elementary social self-defense specific ‘amounts’ of violence are required”. In other words, indirectly supported the bookstore attacks. This newspaper, with miniscule circulation, is aligned with SYRIZA, a splinter leftist party, which routinely gives politically supports the hooded thugs.
# The publishers and booksellers associations in Greece have made no statements to support their colleagues or otherwise to condemn these attacks. The officials of these associations seem oblivious to the fact that the freedom of expression of opposing views is something that needs to be defended, if they hope to preserve their own freedoms. It appears that the officials are too cowardly to understand that burning books of those we may not agree with, creates the precedents and conditions to justify the banning and burning of all books—including those they publish or sell. This assessment should be borne in mind especially when international professional associations in publishing and bookselling meet and deal with their Greek counterparts.
Informational Appendix 2
A Sampling of the Destruction Depicted
The photographs on this page were taken by me at the bookshop of Editions Pelasgos at 14 Charilaou Trikoupi Street on 6 June at about 5:00 PM, one day after the attack; the space is no more than 65-75 square meters and, as can be seen in the images, was destroyed completely. Barely 20 hours after the attack a strong smell of gasoline still pervaded the space. It is also noteworthy that there was no police cordon or other barrier that would restrict access to the property after the commission of a crime.
Informational Appendix 3
The List of the Publishers Attacked
Ioannis Giannakenas, Publisher 14
Athens 106 79
Web Site: http://www.hellasbooks.gr
Leonidas Georgiades, Publisher
Athens 106 81
Web Site: http://www.georgiadesbooks.com
Nea Thesis Editions
Ioannis Schoinas, Publisher
Athens 106 80
Vladimiros Psiakis, Publisher
Web Site: http://www.eleftheriskepsis.gr
Informational Appendix 4
Relevant Greek Government Ministers
The Honorable Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Minister of Interior
Telephone: 210-698-8152 or 210-698-8154
The Honorable Euripides Stylianidis
Minister of National Education
The Honorable Michael Liapis
Minister of Culture
Telephone: 210-820-1648 or 210-820-1649
Traditional Greek anarchism at least had the (albeit highly questionable) "honor" of opposing authority for real, not serving as its auxiliaries. In 1913, Alexandros Schinas shot his own monarch, King George I of Greece, in the back (some things never change). Under intense interrogation, Schinas never broke or named his accomplices. He was a highly twisted, but committed, ideologue, who sacrificed his life for ideas that were literally subversive and genuinely threatened the prevailing social order of his day. Comparing a man like Schinas to the squalid tourism of today's pro-corporate, pro-statist, pro-immigration bozo battalions who play at "anarchism" is a comparison between night and day.