Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The idiocy of prejudice meets the prejudice of idiots

24.06.2006: At least four policemen torture two migrants inside the police station of Omonia in central Athens. They force them to beat each other while one of the policemen repeatedly instructs them to "hit harder" and beats both.

short transcription of the video

(Bald police officer, to the left):

- Harder, harder. Hit him harder, I'm telling you.
Sit down. You (points to the person to the right) will be number One. And you (points to the person to the left) will be number Two. Whoever hears their number beats up the other one. Do you understand? (Smacks one of the two). Do you understand? What number are you again?


-...and what number are you?


- Allright. Number One. (He smacks his friend).
Number Two. (He does the same).
Number One, five times. Quick, quick!
Number Two. Hit him better. And again... Now sit down. Number One, five times. That's good. Number two, don't turn your head. Sit down. Number two, five times. Faster number Two, faster! Hit harder. Harder!

Now I want you to face each other. Don't stand up, stay like you are, sitting. You will each hit each other with your hands.

-(Police officer in the back) Let's add some some sound. You will both say "what a wanker I was, to go rob that old lady".

-(Bald police officer to the left): Each of you, before hitting the other, will say "I am a wanker".

-(Detainee to the left): I am a wanker (Slaps his friend. Detainee to the right does the same).

-(Officer) Very nice. Don't stop! Harder, hit him harder! Swap over and continue. Now say, "I'm a big wanker" and continue slapping each other. (They both do so. Officer filming the torture laughs).

A couple of days ago I wrote about a case of police brutality (click here) that was captured by somebody's mobile phone camera. It was a shocking example of the casual violence that police in Greece dish out, especially against minority groups, immigrants and anyone suspected of left-wing views.

The video which was posted on YouTube, of course generated many comments, a lot of which expressed the horror and revulsion many ordinary Greeks feel. On the other hand there were plenty of comments expressing satisfaction at what those arrested had suffered.E.g.

1 "albanians scums" (sic) "

2 "etsi kala tous kanoun..gamo tin alvania tous...


"They did right. F#ck their Albania"

3 "Katadikazw tin praksi mono giati den egine gia timwria alla gia proswpiki ikanopoiisi..Omws eleos!!!!den dikaiologoume kai tous egklimaties!!!!
skeftite mono na isastan ta thumata!"


"I condemn their actions but only because they did it for personal satisfaction and not to punish. But good grief, we don't justify criminals!!! Just imagine if you were the victims?"

4 "Wraios tropos na pernaei i wra pantws"


"Anyhow, a great way to spend your time"

5 "exw xeskistei sto gelio , exw liwsei leme .Ti gelio einai afto ? axaxaxaxaxaxa . esy eisai to noumero 1 k sy to 2 xaxaxaxaxaxaxa."


6 "I've sha@t myself with laughter. I split my sides. What fun is this? Hahahahahaha. You're number 1, you're number 2. Hahahahaha."

7 "albians shut the fuck up! we are giving you food so , about what revenge are u talking?? WE MUST F@CK ALL ALBANIAS AND LET THEM LEAVE OUR COUNTRY!F@CKING ALBANIAS!" (sic)

This is just a small, if vile taste of the hundreds of comments that have been left on the site in favour of beatings and torture. As you can see there is a huge problem with racial prejudice that rarely gets the attention the mainstream media. Almost invariably it is the immigrant, for example who is demonised as a "criminal", "dirty", "unGreek", "untrustworthy".

If anyone else tells me one more time that there is no problem with racism here in Greece I need only show them this Youtube page.


The Albanian Bulletin said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'm not surprised at all about these comments.

melusina said...

I kinda hoped people would stop posting this video, I know it was removed originally from YouTube, but I guess people just like to watch people getting tortured too much (like that sick stuff they kept showing over and over from the U.S. soldiers torturing those prisoners in Iraq). I don't know, I realize there is something to be said for the proof of the racism, but there is also something to be said for the sickness that people want to watch it - and watch it over and over. I hate it. I can't even stand hearing it in the background when my husband is watching the news. Ugh.

I don't think anyone denies there is a problem with racism in Greece. But I've seen all kinds of comments related to the video that were terribly racist against Greeks, and gotten a few on my blog from time to time, that were violently anti-Greek. So I think the problem isn't just Greece, or the U.S., or wherever - the problem is the entire world.

Intolerance breeds intolerance and it is just a vicious cycle that is growing bigger and bigger, and incidents like this don't help. But I think this is also an example of a bigger problem facing many countries today - the misuse/abuse of power by cops, military, etc. It is getting to be such a huge problem, and yes, it is probably linked to racism, but I just want to know what happened to all the decent people?

teacher dude said...

I disagree with your point about showing the video. The brighter the light shone under this particular rock the more likely something positive will come of this sick affair.

Also what disgusted me about the comments, apart from the crude racial stereotyping, was the fact that so few of those writing seemed to be concerned with "trivialities' such as due process, human rights, the Greek constitution and the European bill of rights. None of this mattered to them.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserves neither."

Benjamin Franklin

itelli said...

I am not gonna justify or excuse anyone here. But it seems to me that, other than the majority of conscious nationalists, racists, fundamentalists, and simply mean bastards, there are also two more kinds (which occasionally fuse into one):

the idiots - those who actually did think it was funny because that does not amount to torture - in their eyes. Let's say, they don't have the necessary "democratic reflexes" because it never happened to them, and it never will (or so they think). For them, racism is committed only when u r in Alabama and u beat up black people (or should i say afro-americans?), while u r wearing white robes and hoods and there are crosses burning in the background.

the uneducated (in humanistic terms): those who, either at school or in the family, were never taught to care for people, because that's what God is for. They just look out for themselves. Do u think that just because someone lives in Athens or Thessaloniki is less of a villager?

Having said that, i know it might be more disheartening to see that among the nationalists, racists, fascists, etc there are some very well educated people. But Greece is not an exception to that. Nor is it an exception to racism.

I did like ur post. But I am not sure that directing your/our anger at some individual's comments is useless, if u think there will always be all of the above categories. On the other hand, i am not sure either that in a country so thoroughly corrupt, stricter mechanisms of checks and balances is also useless, because... who will guard the guardians?

teacher dude said...

Things do change. All it takes is for enough people to want it.

melusina said...

I don't know, I do think there is something for showing the proof, but I think it is overplayed and there is a point where I feel the dignity of the victims here gets really trounced upon. It is a double edged sword, I guess.

In the end, it is has brought out so much ugliness in people, it just makes me more depressed about the state of the world.

teacher dude said...

The video didn't create this uglinesss, it has been there roting away for a long time.

I was reading an interview with the cop shown in the video in yesterday' Thema (Θεμα) newspaper. He whined about how he'd ben set up, that everyone else did it, that the guys deserved it etc, etc.

Not once in the whole three page spread did he express remorse about his actions. Indeed, he said that he had treated the suspects with a certain degree of humanity as he cold have done a lot worse!!!

There is an culture of endemic racism, corruption and random violence in the police force that needs to dealt with.

melusina said...

He was set up. Treated him with humanity. Yea, ok. Abuse of power, racism, corruption, violence - in the police, or other areas of "authority" (military) is a definite problem. Certainly here in Greece but also in the U.S. and other parts of the world. I guess we are living out those harsh police state type predictions of the future.