Letter from Athens: Attack on Thessaloniki Mayor Shows Hate Rising in Greece

The National Herald

Man arrested on charges of beating Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris escorted by the police at the court, May 23, 2018. (MotionTeam/Vasilis Ververidis)

Let’s start with the obvious: the cretinous, subhuman sludge primordial ooze of extreme-right wing thugs who en masse – these cowards never confront you one-on-one – attacked and beat Thessaloniki’s Socialist Mayor Yiannis Boutaris at a rally commemorating those killed in the Pontic Genocide, a World War I-era attack on ethnic Greeks living in Anatolia, should be tossed in jail and the keys thrown away.

Of course, calling for that means that under a pending bill sent to Parliament by the ruling Radical Left-Right SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis “Che” Tsipras they could get a reduced sentence if a public authority were to also suggest they are guilty before trial.

They are guilty.

Let’s go to the tape and you can see these low-life animals beating up a 75-year-old man who shouldn’t have been there in the first place, his declared love for Turkey and anti-nationalism raw meat for these lions, but that’s beside the point.

The violent incident just underscored how deeply divided Greece has become with SYRIZA condoning and encouraging violence, wanting terrorists and assassins released from jail, wanting no one jailed for anything unless it’s rival politicians that Tsipras claims - without a shred of proof or evidence - took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

With Tsipras anxious to give away the name Macedonia, an Ancient Greek province, to the abutting Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM,) his government has thrown gasoline on the fires already raging after he reneged on anti-austerity promises and favored the rich he said he would crush over the poor and workers he said he would protect.

There’s nothing as incendiary as injustice and that’s what’s happened in Greece even more now, with workers and pensioners being hammered by Tsipras, a phony lying hypocrite in a coalition with a party he despises, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Dependent Greeks of Defenseless Minister Panos “the Gambler” Kammenos, who’d rather be at a casino.

Tsipras and SYRIZA would be happy, if needed to stay in power, to lead a coalition with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, all of whose 16 Members of Parliament are in the third year of a trial on charges of running a criminal operation.

He’d also bring in the people who beat Boutaris, who, misguided as he is, at least has some decency and genuine passion and beliefs in his Leftist stances while Tsipras sold out his alleged principles to side with Capitalists and bankers.

All this swirling pot of rage has created an atmosphere in Greece where the infamous sense of zeelevounai - a kind of perverse Schadenfreude, deriving pleasure from another’s misfortune - has been intensified.

Greeks aren’t happy unless other Greeks they don’t like aren’t happy and are suffering, the reason why they have never been able to coalesce into a unified group for the common good. Americans are at their very best when things are at their very worse but Greeks, it seems, are at their very worst when things are at their very worst.

Boutaris is that rarest of politicians who actually says what he means and means what he says and that he’d - as he says - rather be useful instead of liked.

What he misses is the middle ground of people who are swayed the other way away from him and what he wants, when he goes way out on a limb and a tangent at the same time, praising Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was born in Thessaloniki and went on to rise to power and create the modern Turkish state with the slaughter of Greeks in Anatolia.

Boutaris doesn’t care if FYROM is allowed to steal the name of Macedonia - he wouldn’t care if its capital of Skopje changed its name to Thessaloniki because he, even more than Tsipras and SYRIZA, is the ultimate anti-nationalist.

He lives in the John Lennon dream world of Imagine, where there’s no countries, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too and he’d like to sing that along with Kumbaya except that’s not the way the real world works.

He knows the enemy, but not that sometimes it’s not those ugly fascists, but him, spilling ashes in other people’s parlors and self-righteously being hipper than thou, delighted in thinking he’s the smartest guy in the world and you’re all wrong.

What he did at the ceremony where was attacked was rather like walking into a biker bar or American Legion hall with an ISIS T-shirt on and wondering what the hell happened when you get cold cocked. If you don’t think so, try wearing a Yankees hat at Fenway Park in Boston - in the bleachers with the real fanatics.

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan coveting Greek islands – and Greek lands not too far from Thessaloniki –  and provoking Greece, it’s not a good idea to proselytize where nutcases are gathering.

He said he wants Thessaloniki to be the most democratic city in the world and those who don’t agree can vote him out but not by force.

"There can be no other way. Because tomorrow it will be someone else in my place. Somebody who will be beaten up for his ideas, his religion, his different sexual orientation, for the color of his skin,” he added. Or provoking people he shouldn’t taunt because they’re crazy. Stay away.