On this day, 36 years ago, on November 17, 1973, an uprising by the youth of Greece against the brutal authoritarian dictatorship that ruled the country at the time was crushed by a barbaric military intervention. The center of the uprising was the campus of the Polytechnic, the National Technical University of Athens. On that night, the autocrats fearing the emancipatory student movement sent armoured tanks against unarmed students and many people were murdered by a barbarous police force, while many more were arrested, tortured and exiled.
Even today, the 17th of November is still commemorated by democratic Greeks who honour those brave youths who dared to rise up against fascism and brutality demanding “Bread, Education, Freedom”.
Now, I was looking at a reprint of a news report by the Guardian from the day after the events, back then in 1973 and I realized that this report could have been written verbatim for the events that followed the sham that was this year’s Iranian election. A regime very similar in its methods to the one that ruled Greece in the 1970ies has sway over Iran today. And the brave people of Iran who rose up against this corrupt and barbaric regime had to face repression that was very similar to what the democratic people in Greece had to face 36 years ago.
So in this day of remembrance of the struggles of the Greek people for freedom and democracy, we must extend a thought to the democratic movement of Iran. “Bread, Education, Freedom”: that’s a slogan that is sadly still relevant today.