The Political Exploitation of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising

This year, the anniversary of the revolt of the students – and others – at the Athens Polytechnic against the Junta of the colonels, which led to the overthrow of the dictator George Papadopoulos and the subsequent rise to power of the paranoid Dimitrios Ioannidis, commander of the notorious Greek Military Police (ESA), corresponded with an outbreak of the Coronavirus in Athens, which forced the government to impose restrictive measures.

It would be logical then, to assume – on the basis of common sense and simple logic that dictated these measures given the experience we have now gained that rallies are COVID superspreaders – that the large demonstrations of the past would not take place this year. It should have been unimaginable.

But this does not seem to interest the left-wing parties, which are ironically imitating Trump on this issue.

Those who took part wanted the commemorations to become demonstrations. To prove – why do they think this is necessary? – how democratic and anti-Junta they are.

I am literally outraged by such political exploitation of the Polytechnic uprising.

I am outraged by the ‘logic’ with which some ‘leftists’ for years now have been trying to prove that they are more democratic and more patriotic than the rest of us.

I am outraged by the desecration of the sacrifices of the students and others of the Polytechnic, of those heroes.

First of all, did only leftists take part in the Polytechnic uprising?

Certainly not.

And, really, did only leftists take part in the struggle against the Junta inside and outside Greece? Certainly not.

So why are they always claiming primacy? Why do they consider themselves to have a monopoly on supporting democracy and patriotism?

You know what, though?

Even if that were the case, true patriots and real heroes would not try to profit from their deeds and legacies.

In fact, very often the real heroes do not even talk about their feats.

Newspapers are full of such examples. Americans who fought, who were wounded in various wars, rarely speak. Often even their families do not know what they went through.

Because the love for the homeland and democracy has to do not with other people, but with ourselves – with what is on our own hearts.  People sacrifice for the sake of their homeland because they believe in their country, not to gain praise. That is how they discharge their debt.

And so, it’s finally time, after 47 years, the commemoration of the 1974 Athens Polytechnic Uprising to become a proper, dignified event honoring the creme de la creme of the then-youth which risked everything for freedom, democracy and their country. It should be that way instead of an event that has been perverted into becoming a political sideshow of opportunism and pseudo-patriotism.


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