For What It’s Worth: The Greek, U.S. Riots

June 7, 2020

Ten years ago in May, Athens was torn apart with vicious riots over austerity measures that were aimed squarely at workers, pensioners and the poor and designed to let politicians, oligarchs, tax cheats, the privileged and Parliament workers escape.

The worst was on May 5 and saw three workers at a former Marfin Bank branch killed when cowardly anarchists tossed in a Molotov Cocktail and ran like the rats they are, but not before preventing fire trucks from saving the victims, including a young pregnant mother.

As one of many journalists covering the event, I was there, trying to decide where it would be safe to report the news as riot police squared off against the fury of protesters, including the Boys in Hoods tossing rocks and firebombs.

This took place in Syntagma Square in front of the Parliament by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier usually guarded by two Evzones, and the best place seemed behind the police until the rocks and Molotov Cocktails started landing all around.

Running behind the anarchists and protesters wasn't such a good spot either because that's where the fusillade of tear gas and chemical weapons fired by the police landed, making eyes and noses feel like they were hit with lit matches.

Americans and the Diaspora watched in dismay, disbelieving what they were seeing. But now it has happened in the Disunited States of America, the land of the red and blue but mostly the white old men who run the country and the corporations.

This isn't Pete Seeger singing, but the real Voice of America, the disenfranchised and disillusioned who live the American Nightmare, their lives expendable at the bloodied hands of President Psycho, an evil weasel, gutless, heartless, remorseless, and conscienceless. A cowardly draft dodger who'd need diapers at the sound of a real shot.

By the time you read this there will sadly be near or more than 110,000 dead and two million cases of the COVID-19 pandemic – he likes those numbers as long as they don't count him and his family and rich friends who lock down in gated resorts.

Those numbers could have been far less if he had imposed the shutdown earlier nor pushed for it to be ended, both done in the name of saving an economy that is now in free-fall and so bad he won't allow data to be released, although more than 40 million have applied for unemployment benefits this year, more than there would have been if he'd locked down.

Then came the Murder by Knee of George Floyd, a black man pinned to the ground by one of those brownshirt type cops – this one in Minneapolis – who have a badge and a gun but not a brain and think they can get away with murder because they usually do.

Sounding just like Eric Garner, a black man on Staten Island, New York choked to death by a cop in 2014, Floyd gasped, “I can't breathe,” until he couldn't even gasp anymore while the killer cop Derek Chauvin used his knee to hold him down by the neck.

This was the flash point for America, especially Americans who are like the Greeks in 2010 that included anarchists but mostly people whose pensions were being cut, salaries slashed, jobs disappearing, and hopes up in smoke.

The near Civil War in the former USA is the most dangerous time for the country since the real Civil War because of the volatile mix of Trumpite Trolls with automatic weapons, the fury of protesters mixed with agitators, rogue cops, and President Psycho egging them on.

Hiding in the White House and tweeting calls to arms and violence, while Twitter allows it, he has almost single-handedly torn apart the country and threatened to unleash vicious dogs, ominous weapons and the U.S. Army – Army, not The National Guard – on Americans.

You think the Greatest Generation, people like my and your dads and uncles who fought the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II would turn their guns on their countrymen and their country? They'd point them at him instead.

Chauvin did what he did because of the poisoned atmosphere that – like Climate Change – is real, and now covers the DSA like a fog and a shroud. And now it's Greeks watching the fury in the streets of Chicago, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and more than 100 cities, who can't believe what they're seeing, the miasma a deranged President wrought.

But the echo resounds here in Athens and Greece too because the victims here were like the victims there, powerless people who are interchangeable and don't count except as votes.

It really is hopeless now, not because of President Psycho but the people who believe what he does, the legions of brainless robots who read from his script because they have no original thoughts and parrot “fake news,” go after journalists who bring the real news they don't want to hear, the blood not just on his hands now but theirs too.

If you call anti-Fascists terrorists and denounce them, that – by definition – makes you a Fascist, just like Golden Dawn in Greece, the pale silhouette of President Psycho's troupe.

Now that he has Americans at each other's throats, still dying from COVID-19, out of work, and scared witless, all he has to do is call off the elections.


My fellow TNH colleague Theodore Kalmoukos often uses the word “tragicomedy” to describe phenomena that are pitiful and laughable all at once.

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