Thursday, 16 September 2010


Note to our non-Greek readers: the writing is a play on a popular football fans' chant welcoming new players to their teams' colours. It normally scans as "X, you're to die for in the [team colour] shirt".

This version reads: "Panagopoulos, you're to die for in a torn up shirt". The reference is to the recent assault by a group of anarchists on the head of Greece's tertiary private sector union, Giannis Panagopoulos (more graphic photos here). Embarassingly this is a distant relative of mine.

Now normally unionistas and anarchists bashing each other senseless would be great news. Unfortunately the two sides are no longer fighting in order to make a point but for actual power, as they have both grown much more influential over the last year.

To illustrate, this was written on the wall of Emporiki Bank (now the toxic property of Credit Agricole and incidentally my father's employer for decades before he retired some twenty years ago). On the other side the same people had written: "Σπάστε, Κάψτε, Τελειώσατε" which translates to "Break, Burn, Done!", a boasting reference to the burning alive of three Marfin Bank employees, one of them pregnant, during the May riots. 

As I never tire of repeating, these people are not the vanguard of the oppressed. They are bored, privately educated nihilists who holiday in Mykonos. I would not be surprised if it emerged that I've gone to school with some of them. And in Greece they are not universally reviled as scum and murderers - some idiots cherish them.

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