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Soft spot for apartheid

Giorgos Mitralias
Thursday, May 23, 2024

If some people think they can repeat what they’ve seen in other countries and occupy universities, pitch tents and make a mess, they’re deeply mistaken”. This – so eminently delicate – statement by the Greek Prime Minister, which followed the brutal “evacuation” of the law faculty on Tuesday May 14 (28 arrests), can only surprise the uninformed: the Greek state and its governments have always had a soft spot for anything to do with apartheid and apartheid regimes!

Today Israel, formerly South Africa and Rhodesia. And not only for reasons of ideological affinity, but above all because the (material) interests of the various Greek elites demand it. Moreover, this obvious “weakness” for these monstrous regimes has almost always led the Greek state and its governments to defy the recommendations and decisions of the so-called “international community” (UN, etc.) and to violate the economic blockades (embargos) imposed on these regimes, while calling those who respected and wanted to apply these decisions of the international community “anarchists” or even “terrorists”. In other words, much as Mr. Mitsotakis does today…

At that time, not so long ago as it lasted practically until the end of the apartheid regimes, the infamous Greek shipowners, perpetuating a long tradition of their congeners, blithely violated the embargo imposed by the UN on Ian Smith’s racist Rhodesia. And, on the other hand, the Greek state and its capitalists turned into a veritable “laundry” for South African exports, “in order to obtain the Greek stamp and no longer be subject to the UN embargo”. And this story continues today, with the blessing of Mr. Mitsotakis’ current Greek government, which celebrates the successes of these same shipowners, or their descendants, who are making billions by violating and/or taking advantage of ongoing embargoes, “to transport Russian oil“. Thus, according to a very instructive Forbes article published on May 16, “sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine sent tanker values soaring, boosting the fortunes of these maritime moguls to record highs and minting at least seven new 10-figure fortunes”.

So, given that 9 out of 10 of the Greek media are owned by these same billionaire shipowners, it’s more than “normal” that they fully support Mr. Mitsotakis’ repressive obsessions against those students who persist in trying to prevent these gentlemen’s unsavory dealings with genocidal, war-mongering celebrities like Vladimir Putin and Bibi Netanyahu from going around in circles…

Back then, it was the UN and its embargo, and the international campaign to boycott racist South Africa. Today, it’s the students of the world, those who – according to Mr. Mitsotakis – “occupy universities, pitch tents and make a mess”, because they’re waging a similar campaign and want to impose a similar embargo on apartheid Israel. But how? By hitting the racists where it hurts most, in their wallets. And despite fierce repression, with already notable successes.

Excerpted: ‘From South Africa to Israel, the Greek State Has Always Had a Soft Spot for Apartheid’. Courtesy: Counterpunch.org