By Dimitris Georgopoulos
Greek hunger striker, since 45 days now, Dimitris Koufontinas, 63 years old, has insisted to his doctors to remove the last instruments permitting him to survive. The doctors, after a quite intense dialogue with him, did not have any other choice than to abide by his will. His death is considered very probable in the coming hours or days.
The prisoner asked the people who are administrating his own blog to post the poem “Do remember me!” by one of the greatest Greek poets, Yannis Ritsos (http://kufontinas.blogspot.
In a personal appeal to Greek PM Mitsotakis, the famous cinema director Costa Gavras asked him to apply the law (thus saving the the life of Koufontinas, as the the demand of the striker is the application of the law regarding detention of prisoners like him, voted by the government to punish him!). Similar appeals have been issued by the writer Vassilis Vassilikos, fprmer Ambassador to UNESCO, the Greek section of Amnesty International, the Greek Union of Human Rights and hundreds of doctors, university professors, international personalities and six MEPs.
But all that did not have any influence on the new Greek government, elected as a result of the defeat by capitulation of (a fully unprepared to apply its promised) SYRIZA and its humiliation by Germany, EU and the Troika. The new Greek government follows an increasingly authoritarian policy, using a “civil war” language and returning rapidly to the worst traditions of the Greek right before 1974.
This government is also heavy influenced, in all its policies, by Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Greece and former Ambassador to Ukraine, during the coup d’ etat in Kiev and the civil was which erupted afterwards (the same was happening also with the previous SYRIZA government). Mr. Pyatt has been on record already criticizing strongly decisions by Greek courts relative to the conditions of detaining Koufontinas, which he found too soft. Mr. Pyatt is intervening publicly in all spheres of Greek public life, in a way no US Ambassador in history has ever done. According to an article in Covert Action Magazine, published last September, he is working on a project to create a new far right in Greece.
If Koufontinas dies, it will be the first time since the death of Republican Irish prisoners, forty years ago, that a hunger striker dies in any European country. His death will be one more expression of a general turn to unprecedented authoritarian methods in use now in a number of European countries.
Koufontinas belongs to the generation of young Greeks radicalized during the last years of the US-imposed military dictatorship in Greece (1967-74). After the fall of the junta he made he adhered to PAMK, a pupils organization created by PASOK. Unsatisfied by its course he will adhere later to the Far Left terrorist organization 17th of November. The organization was dismantled 20 years ago and defeated politically even earlier. When many of the members of his organization were arrested, he decided to present himself to the Police, for him to be able to defend his organization. Arrested, he was convicted to life sentence. After the ND government was elected in power, the new government adopted a legislation designed to make harder his condition as a prisoner and providing for his transfer to the Korydallos prison in Athens.
But the government did not apply even the law it voted in the Parliament to punish him. Instead, it ordered his transfer to the high security prison of Domokos, far away from his family and put him in a cell with two other smoker detainees. Then Koufontinas begun the hunger strike in order to ask for the government to apply the law which had voted (already to punish him!) and transfer him to the Korydallos prison as provided by it.
One wonders if the whole operation was designed from the very beginning as a way to push Koufontinas to death, in order to terrorize any remaining social resistance in Greece. But also in order to push a part of the Greek Youth to terrorism, in order to provide for the pretext to impose a much harder regime in Greece. Perhaps necessary to oppress possible social resistance, given the rapidly deteriorating economic situation, but and also to help transform Greece into a mere bastion of imperialistic interventions.