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Happy birthday, military junta!

on the greek riots | 22.04.2009 01:00 | Repression | World

a text on the anniversary of Greece's military junta

April 21, 2009. Today marks exactly fourty-two years since the commencing of Greece’s military junta, which officially ended in July 1974. “Officially” has to be stressed out even more on a day chosen by far-right leader Karatzaferis to suggest his party is now in an unofficial government coalition: This is so, he explained, because many recently introduced laws and acts of parliament echo his own long-standing positions.

For once, Karatzaferis is right – and why should he not be? After all, it is absurd to think that transition from one political regime to another can ever be absolute and total, especially so in the case of a bloodless political transition like that of Greece. What better person to confirm this than Christos Markoyannakis, the junta-appointed attorney general and present vice minister in charge of “public order”, a position that includes leadership of the country’s entire police force.

Throughout the post-dictatorial years (the so-called metapolitefsi), the dictatorship was depicted as somewhat of a seven-year moment of darkness, a long state of exception: it was presented as an image-less break from “normality”. Like watching a movie where the screen goes blank for a few minutes only to revert back to action, as if the break never happened. And so you, the viewer, are not to question what caused the technical problem and why no-one didn’t try to prevent it or at least, fix it earlier. What is important is that the show goes on.

The performers of the spectacle (call them military junta or parliamentary democracy) rest assured on that they deal with mere spectators and hence submissive, passive viewers by default. “What we were faced with”, said a junta censored cinematographer, “wasn’t at all the dictators themselves. It was the snuggled up petite bourgeoisie”.

For a moment, it seemed that the hordes of the snuggled up would join the revolted in December. Some, undoubtedly, did. And that’s exactly where things got truly dangerous. “When the cops kill your children, you will exit your cages”, went the anarchist slogan. Until then, until we all exit our cages, the junta lives. Happy birthday, military junta.

on the greek riots