Socrates & Democratic(?) or Anarchist(?) Riots in Greece
“I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world” – Socrates
We the citizens of the “third world” have been reading that Greece is the cradle of modern democracy. The phrase “Greek Civilization” evokes in us the images of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, & Olympics. However, the ongoing riots there over the police killing of a teenager enlighten one with the hidden & ugly facets of western democracy. The “masked looters” have unmasked not only the corrupt Greek government & politicians, but perhaps the Hellenic civilization itself is not as idyllic as it seems from far way.
If you go by the statistics, the Greeks are not poor & uncivilized people by any standard, & there seems to be little reason for ethnic conflicts. Greek’s GDP per capita stands at $30,500 in comparison to Nepal’s $1,100, & one fifth of Greek labor force are immigrants. The Greek economy grew by nearly 4.0% per year between 2003 and 2007. The country has more than 96 % of literacy rate. The Greek society is largely homogeneous – with 98% of the population being orthodox Greek, & 99 % speak the national Greek language. What really ails the Greeks then?
A BBC report suggested that the protesters must be a group of “communists” & “anti-globalization anarchists”. Others claim them to be poor & unemployed anti-establishment groups of youths. The opposition parties have demanded a fresh election, blaming underlying social inequalities & the government’s policies for the violence. On the other hand, Amnesty International has accused Greek police of disproportionate use for force against the protesters, claiming that the police & government “engaged in punitive violence against peaceful demonstrators”. The protesters have declared the youth killed in the police shoot out a martyr. Don’t all these events sound like coming from a war torn poor country from the third world?
Greek seems to he a politically polarized country between the “socialists’ & the “capitalists”. All these events shatter one’s romantic perception of an idyllic world in the West. In fact, the mode of violence & the underlying causes & politics are no different from what we’re witnessing here in Nepal, except that unlike the European Greece, Nepal is a poor country – insignificant for making any news item in the world media.
Oh, sorry, I forgot, perhaps the “great” warrior Alexander was also from Greece!