To the Editor:
On the night of May 30, 1941, a young Manolis Glezos along with Apostolos Santas secretly climbed atop the Acropolis in Athens and cut down the Nazi swastika flag. “It was a large flag and when it fell it covered us. We got it off us, hugged and danced a little, right on the spot," Glezos remarked.
This symbolic action helped spark a resistance movement under the leadership of EAM and its guerrilla force of ELAS which fought back the Nazi's and later, under the DSE, the monarcho-fascist gangs and their imperialist backers. Manolis Glezos was a pillar of the heroic anti-fascist resistance in Greece during World War II and the Greek Civil War. He continued to struggle against the Monarchy and later the Junta (1967-1974). Imprisoned and tortured under the Germans, Italians, and right-wing Greek regimes, Glezos told the Financial Times in 2016, “They say to survive in prison you should love yourself, eat and read. Well, I never loved myself, I didn’t care about food – but I constantly read.”
Glezos was awarded the International Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union in 1963 and was even featured on a Soviet postage stamp in 1959.
He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece after KKE's 8th Congress in 1961. He later left KKE and joined PASOK and later SYRIZA, becoming the oldest MEP at 91 in 2014. Even into his 90's he was active in demonstrations against austerity and the ‘troika’, even getting tear gassed in front of the Hellenic Parliament, as well as campaigning for Germany to pay war reparations to Greece. An internationalist, he campaigned for a free Palestine and was honored for his many years of solidarity and activism at an event organized by Samidoun in December 2017 in Athens. In an interview with The Guardian in 2014, Glezos said “You think the man sitting opposite you is Manolis but you are wrong. I am not him. And I am not him because I have not forgotten that every time someone was about to be executed, they said: ‘Don’t forget me. When you say good morning, think of me. When you raise a glass, say my name.’ And that is what I am doing talking to you, or doing any of this. The man you see before you is all those people. And all this is about not forgetting them.”
Christopher J. Helali