SOLIDARITY WITH SOTIRIS MARANGOS ON TRIAL FOR DEMONSTRATING HIS SOLIDARITY TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
A few leagues over the sea from Cyprus the physical and cultural extermination of a whole people is being put into act by one of the most sophisticated and well equipped armies in the world. The latter (with weapons ranging from exploding chocolate bars to tanks and bombs) has been terrorising and murdering unarmed men women and children for years, bulldozing their homes and schools, rounding up thousands of young men into concentration camps without any hope of release. This crazed massacre began when the population of Palestine were suddenly pushed the out of their homes and their land to make room for ‘the chosen race’, anyone of Jewish religion no matter which part of the world they came from. The settlers, themselves victims of racism and persecution, had the way paved for them by Britain in the Balfour Treaty. Many were later ‘victims of history’, survivors of the holocaust which their Zionist leaders had turned a blind eye to in exchange for a return to the promised land.
The immediate reaction of the local Arab inhabitants to this incursion was not one of hostility. They accepted the newcomers to share and work their land in a more or less communitarian fashion. But Palestine, now Israel, is an essential strategic point in the middle east for interests that will stop at nothing in order to maintain power and plunder the world’s resources, particularly oil. The USA backed the Zionist, Statist element of the Jewish people and set about financing an arsenal of war that has transformed peaceful settlers into ruthless colonisers, extending their borders and pushing the Palestinians into the desert. Those of them who were allowed to remain within the ‘promised land’ or to enter it daily through a number of check points manned by brutal Israeli soldiers have become an underclass, useful only as a source of cheap labour for the Israeli economy. Pushed beyond the limits of endurance the Palestinian people, particularly young boys armed with nothing but stones, began to rebel against the murder and humiliation. In response, the Israeli State has accentuated military measures in an attempt to eradicate the rebellion of the oppressed. But the Palestinian youths have nothing to lose. Possessing nothing but their dignity, with no future but the struggle for survival and that of their families, they carry on fighting relentlessly. Attempts to quell the rebellion by setting up a Palestinian State with its own repressive structures under Arafat have failed. A third oppressor did not lose time in appearing on the scene: militant Islam in the form of Hamas and El Fatah. These ruthless organisations began recruiting young boys who in their short lives have seen thousands of their own people massacred in broad daylight. With the Koran in one hand and a belt of explosives in the other, they have succeeded in conditioning many of the latter to carry out suicide attacks against the Israeli population as they go about their daily activity in buses, cafes, in the market places. The horror of this is familiar to all of us through the media. The latter, faithful to their paymasters, give detailed photographic coverage of these tragic events thereby pulling a smokescreen over our eyes and supplying us with prefabricated opinions. We fall prey to their deliberate bias, jump up and bite the bait screaming ‘terrorist’ ‘kill them all’ at the first sight of blood. Meanwhile the real terrorists, the States (all States) with their armies and projects of war enjoy the consensus of the ignorant horde we have become, endorsing, or at best ignoring the daily terror exercised against the whole of the Palestinian people to name but one example.
The disgusting level that this indifference concerning the fate of the Palestinian people has reached was exemplified in the Israeli ambassador to Cyprus’ decision to gaily throw a party to celebrate the anniversary of his bloodthirsty State, inviting many local worthies and businessmen. The Cypriot State, busily engaged in changing its image from ‘banana republic’ to that of ‘the Switzerland of the Mediterranean’ with an eye to entrance into the European Union, got round this tricky question (after all, business is business) by advising the Ambassador to have his party at home instead of in the Hilton as he had desired. The more prominent politicians, Clerides in the lead, decided to decline the invitation.
That night the guests who did turn up to the celebration of slaughter were surprised to find a reception committee awaiting them in front of the Ambassador’s residence. A large crowd of protestors, their hearts brimming with anger and indignance at this disgusting parade of insensibility and self interest in the worst sense, shouted slogans and tried to prevent guests from entering. Also present were the inevitable and well equipped riot police, guard dogs of the interests of capital.always ready to attack any place, any time, in exchange for a pat on the back from their masters. And this they did, brutally beating demonstrators who, naturally, did what they could to defend themselves.
In the scuffles that ensued, a number of people were taken to the police station and severely beaten. One, anarchist George Karakasian, was so badly beaten that he was taken to hospital by the police themselves. When he called next day for further treatment, his medical records had ‘disappeared’. He has since completed four months of a seven month sentence concerning these events after being accused of ‘assaulting a police officer’ and refusing to take an apologetic attitude or ask the court for leniency, affirming his solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In the meantime the media, true to their nature as police informers, handed over a video recording of events to the police and further arrests were made.
Anarchist Sotiris Marangos was one of those arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer. He trial has dragged on for several months during which time a dissonant chorus of cops have recanted accounts worthy of a comic opera in their unconcealed attempt to have Sotiris sentenced for what in fact was a crowd situation on a dark night .
We are not here to enter into the minutiae of judicial wrangling over people’s destiny. We know the idea of ‘ justice’ that festers behind the closed doors of a squalid courtroom. Centuries of prison have been dealt out to the dispossessed from within these walls in the interests of the maintenance of power and privilege.
On the contrary, we are here to demonstrate our solidarity with Sotitiris the comrade, the individual who lives according to his ideas with coherence and passion and whom we want with us in the multifarious facets of an exaggerated practice of freedom.
In Sotiri’s own words: The most beautiful moment is when the clash against all the things that oppress us expresses our passion for equality and solidarity. This passion cannot be destroyed. The insurrectional flame, the will for life, will pass through the rubble of the prisons and the courts, because they can’t capture a free man by putting him in a cell. Even the most inhuman power of authority is not enough to erase what we have in us. It cannot crush what we are fighting for, what pushes us and what we are pushing for, all of us: the social revolution, when the free expression of human nature won’t just be an abstract concept but will take life from the same passion that fires us to fight.
Solidarity with Sotiris Marangos
in Nicosia main Court 28/01/03!
Solidarity with the Palestinian insurrection!