Dienstag, 2. Februar 2010
Letter by Vassilis Palaeokostas
Vassilis Palaeokostas, Greece's legendary fugitive social bandit and helicopter jailbreaker, offers a penetrating critique of power and servitude from the deep underground.
On Sunday 31/1/10 Eleftherotypia, the liberal left greek daily, published the first ever letter to come from the hand of Vassilis Palaeokostas, greece's legendary social bandit whose double jailbreak from Koridalos prison with a helicopter has made him a symbol of freedom. The letter comes on the eve of the trial of the Milonas case, relating to the abduction of north greece's richest industrialist and head of the industrial board two years ago. Two anarchists/ revolutionaries, Polykarpos (Polys) Georgiadis, and Vagelis Chrisochoidis are sitting on trial accused as accomplishes of the fugitive Palaeokostas ("providing refuge"). It must be noted that V. Palaeokostas is accused of bank robberies during which no one has ever been harmed, including cops. He and his brother Nikos (also a legendary social bandit) are reputed for helping the poor in the destitute rural areas of mountainous greece. They form a living continuation of the social banditry that flourished during the Ottoman Empire and the first 100 years of the greek state and are subjects of solidarity by the anarchist movement. The translation of the letter is based on the one provided by rioter.info, with some linguistic corrections: "On the occasion of the upcoming trial on the kidnapping of the industrialist G. Mylonas, that begins on Tuesday February 2, I would like to clarify certain issues. Through different periods of my life I have been a first line fugitive, nearly 12 years in total an escapee (I hope there’s more of that coming) and 8 years a prisoner. During all those years that I have lived hunted by the official state, there has not been even one snitch [Denunziant] to deliver me to the hands of my prosecutors. Even though, during my first escape in August 1991, there was a large reward for that, from the - generous to snitches - Greek state. On the contrary, I met people with truth, honor in their words, and dignity. People that opened their door for me, provided cover and help, often without even minding the risk they took for themselves. People that helped me in hard times for me (as in a prison escape) endangering their own lives, people that prove that in this country there aren’t only resigned, submissive fellows, but also many (so many I am surprised) people that honor the traditions of honor and solidarity to the hunted. Proud people that despise snitching, servitude and the constable [use of word for the police current under the junta]. I publicly express my gratitude to all those remarkable persons for their valuable help and for giving me the joy of having met them. Two of them are Vaggelis Chrisohoides and Polys Georgiades, each one of them stood by me in his own way, at the time I needed them, without expecting personal gains, but only acted upon their conscience. Declaring my solidarity to these two young men, who the state strangles everyday knowing their only "crime" was their solidarity to the hunted, I would expect to see for once the magnitude the Republic of Greece takes prides in. Because its pettiness I consider myself more than competent to describe: it’s an Abyss. I will say nothing more. I only address those that care to retain some garment of justice and dignity. And everyone should do what his sense of honor and his conscience tells him to do. On 4/14/09, afternoon around 20:00 while driving on the central coastal road of Alepohori, suddenly three cars blocked my way and another two stuck on the back of my own car. Among them was a black Audi A4, a Peugot Rally and an Opel Athens Taxi. Each one of them with three persons (15 in total), all in plain clothes. All of them got instantaneously out, pointing at me, the drivers with H&K MP5 sub-machine guns with double cartridge, nad the other with Glock and H&K U.S.P semi-automatic handguns. I instantly understood these armed mercenaries of the Greek state where on a prowl for blood. This same moment on my right, through an invisible from the main road, alley, comes another car with the driver standing aghast and stopping on the crossroad with the main road. Without second though I turned the wheels right and let it rip. Slightly hitting the other car (given the alley could barely take my jeap), I got right in the alley without knowing where it gets to. From my initial speeding to getting 20-30 meters in the alley, bullets where dancing on my car’s cabin. Those guys opened fire with their machine guns and handguns aiming right at me (the only thing undamaged was my car’s tires). From my considerable experience in intense conditions, I am more than certain that they shot more than 150 bullets in 15 seconds (the whole scene didn’t last any longer). Most probably, some of them also found the unwary civilian’s car, while he was inside it. These unscrupulous, blind shooters of the Greek Police where determined to carry out fully the order they had take from their natural and political leaders. Trace and kill. In this case, they can blame their bad luck, since luck is female and cares for the daring [transl. see latin: "Fortuna favet fortibus" - "Das Glück ist mit den Mutigen"]. The reason I refer to this incident is to show the contemptible way the Mass Media report such cases. The car I was riding and left 100 meters from the scene, because the alley was a dead-end, was full of bullets. This fact was not reported and the car never appeared anywhere, it magically disappeared. Just like the other car (hit and possibly riddled with bullet holes), together with its misfortunate owner, the only witness that actually took part in the scene, without his will of course, watching the whole thing from start to end. So, instead of inquiring all these important facts to show what exactly happened in that scene, the daring and ingenious reporters of the Greek Mass Media gathered inside the room I was living in, and in exclusive reporting were waving around my unwashed underpants, informing by means of flaming howls the uncomfortable, ignorant, petrified tv-viewer. This fact clearly reveals the "journalist community’s" will to silence and cover-up, which essentially consents to the criminal activity of police desperados and those who give them orders, in full cooperation with them. "We will allow you to enter the house for an exclusive report, but you ‘ll keep your mouth shut about everything else". Such was the filthy deal between the two sides. The media would get their money, since underpants are worth more in their stockmarket of values than the life of their owner. As long as he is "notorious". And finally, who cares about how the police acts? If the police and its leadership holds that a man must be killed just because he is wanted, why should we disagree? They brag: whenever we need information, the police’s head officer obliges. While, the hunted man has no phone. And even if he has one, it will be turned off or without a signal. This is the way our daring and independant journalists think. My congratulations, the future belongs to you. May I suggest the two organizations, police and media, could even integrate in one, for functional reasons. It’s both innovative and carries many advantages. Then, it won’t be for nothing that you elected a police correspondent as president of ESIEA (journalists-editors union). If only these ingenious reporters, showed the same eagerness they manifested towards my underpants, for performing a diligent control [on the state i.e. the supposed role of the media according to the constitution], denouncing to the Greek citizens that: * 13.000 humans are in a state of captivity (under the pretext of illegality), subjected along with their families to total exploitation by the official state. Who after passing the symplegades [deadly clashing rocks in the Argonauts myth] of a corrupt police and an even worst justice system, end up with heavy penalties in medieval conditions, by which this rotten system strives to control and then annihilate whatever dares to make a mockery of it. * The armed guardians of the Greek state kill in cold-blood citizens (preferably the young) in the middle of the street, in front of the citizen’s own eyes. Humiliating and torturing to death people in the police stations. Setting up wilfully indictments sending “guilty” humans in jail for years. Setting a whole network of criminal activities not controlled by anyone. * If they really cared to exercise some control over the modern Pirates of the political system, that helped by the gimmickery of the election system and the blessings of the Mass Media take over the Parliament, turning it into the headquarters of full domination on their voters citizens. Into a nest of intertwining interests, dealing transactions, bribes. Into a “terrorist hideout” where the loots from pillaging are divided around. A loot every citizen dares to question, becoming an obstacle in their plans will feel upon him the brutal democratic violence of a blood-thirsty repressive organization. He will feel the revengefulness, the revanchism, and the deep hatred the Greek state has for all those that rejected the status of an obidient citizen that understand his personal liberty as a necessity to do what he’s told to, but remain human with free will and claim an opinion on what’s going on around them with their own actions. * If they revealed the great responsibility of this criminal organization for the establishment of a police state in Greece, through which they exercise an unbearable psychological violence to the citizen with hundreds of road blocks with cops armed-to-the-teeth with “survivor”-style weaponry, and the same menacing, numb look they had back in the junta days. The thousands of policemen one faces wherever he turns the eye (not to count the undercover ones). The dozens of head-hunters that prowl the mountains acting on their own taste, reminding of the begining of the 20th century, though with a modern name. * If they denounce these and innumerable other things that de facto cancel the "social state" and "justice state" notions, as their role supposes, then today’s regime, they eagerly guard and name democracy, would be incomparably more humain, qualitative, and certainly more just. You ‘d now say I am not the most adequate person to give recommendations, even less for matters of the regime. That’s correct. In the place democracy was born, they can do whatever they want with her [i.e. democracy], even burry her if they so wish. It’s a good thing to die in the place you where born. But, they shouldn’t feel angry when the kids throw stones to her. They see her old and rotten, it’s stones she’s gonna get. Primitive as they might be, these insticts are unmistakable. Because the kids are more honest and upstanding than the grown-ups. Nobody would want to grow up just to find a dead body in the closet that his parents have been hiding so as to exploit her pension. They desire something more than a body in formol, and be sure they ‘re gonna get it, no matter how many dreads you put in their street. On what concerns me, it is my absolute belief and surely of thousands others conscious people, that the damage caused to the social body by one shiny tv-presenter in a single news bulletin (preferably the 8 o’ clock one), cannot be equaled by me even if they give me 10 lives to spare. What’s the damage my old shot-gun [transl. use of term for 18th to early 19th century guns of the mountain bandits and guerrillas]. I have never turned it against an other human, much less against another human’s mind. Now my question is why it is I with my old shot-gun the prosecuted one who risks his life at the hands of an enraged death-squad, while my judges and my hunters are those who with their lucrative superweapons degenerate and sterilize the spirit of a whole people, leading them to mental necrosis. a On second thoughts maybe the law on weapons should change. Whoever holds an old shot-gun should be prosecuted for a capital offence!!! Now, since it’s the first time I intervene with a public statement, I wouldn’t want it to end in a dispiriting way. So, let me add an allegoric enigma-quiz, I find it won’t trouble you much to solve. What is the name, of a deputy sheriff of some mountainous and remote village of Utah, USA, overjoyed to his award winning by the FBI, for heroically and always risking his life arrested and gave to justice some dangerous elements to the order of his village? Who, apart of that precious award, also fed the ambition to have his triumphous achievement turn into a big Hollywood move, with George Clooney acting as him, something that pissed off his american patrons so that they exiled him, reducing him to the ranks of minister of “Citizens Protection” of some independent Balkan state. Who, to my exclusive information keeps fantacising about and anxiously sweeping for new "troublemakers"! To make it even easier for you, I can also add some of his favorite words: Democracy, Revolutionary Fund, Ghetto, Communicating Vessels, Destabilization, Zero Tolerance, Organized Crime, They will be arrested and prosecuted. He is also a devoted fan of snitching and loves "rats" and his hobbies include setting prices for the heads of wanted. Keeping in mind though, that one of his many qualities is revanchism, I come to clarify that any similarity to real persons or events is totally unintended. Every police reporter that solves the quiz, enters a lottery for an exclusive interview. My militant regards to all those that don’t surrender the weapons the chose to fight with, for the life they dream of. PS. Some oil guys, they do rust. signature and fingerprint Vassilis Palaeokostas”