Why I joined the demonstrations spurred by the rail disaster

Because although taking to the streets to express your grief, your anger and your questions may not bring back the young faces you saw in the photos that were published when devastated relatives were seeking for their loved ones, at least in that way you feel that you mourn them as if they were all our children.

Because my children, if they were in Greece, would have taken part in the demonstrations. I wanted to be there for them. So that they will never forget that saying, “Call me when you get there,” not only expresses a parent’s love for their child; it also expresses endless pain and grief.

Because I am sure that my dead father would be proud if he could see me from up there.

Because I neither fear nor resent walking alongside people with whom we may not agree on much, but I know that, at times like these, the few things that unite us are stronger than the many things that divide us.

Because I owed it to my students. After all, I like being among them, to be able to listen to their thoughts and their voices, to feel their passion. It makes me, a born-pessimist, feel more optimism about the future.

Because it infuriates me that since the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, young people in particular have been treated as immature and mischievous individuals who need surveillance, punishment and correction.

Because I hate to see precious resources being spent on hiring guards in uniforms to patrol university campuses (whatever happened to them by the way?) while the state is incapable of protecting young people traveling on a train.

Because I am angered by the fact that young people need to spill blood to ensure they don’t become a “lost generation” as a result of unemployment and cheap seasonal labor.

Because I am tired of passively listening to the national addresses of a prime minister whose attention is focused on opinion polls and public relations.

I am angered by the fact that young people need to spill blood to ensure they don’t become a ‘lost generation’ as a result of unemployment and cheap seasonal labor

Because the prime minister should have already resigned since last summer over the wiretapping scandal targeting hundreds of citizens in key posts, including party leaders, ministers, MEPs, journalists, academics and senior military officers. Because I cannot swallow the fact that a comprehensive and well-coordinated propaganda machine, which has every scientific and pseudo-scientific tool at its disposal, almost managed to convince society that it is an administration run by effective technocrats when, in fact, patron-client relations, nepotism and ineptitude are prevalent.

Because I detest hereditary monarchy, political dynasties and aristocracies – as well as the arrogance that they emit. Some of the scions of those political families find it hard to understand that they have proved unfit for the job and the best thing they could do is resign en masse and spare themselves and the people more heartache.

Because I want Greece to adhere to European standards – which is not the case today. As a mission of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) concluded during a recent visit to Athens, “there are very serious threats to the rule of law and fundamental rights” while “checks and balances, essential for a robust democracy, are under heavy pressure.”

Because I am outraged at the thought that while Greece’s military spending has gone through the roof, its over-indebted state cannot ensure infrastructure worthy of a European country.

Because I am fuming at the fact that the government is spending tons of money on publicity stunts but fails to guarantee the minimum level of quality and safety on railway transport.

Because I don’t like them underestimating my intelligence and bombarding me with lies. I’m tired of them and their lies.

Because I wish things would change, as soon as possible.

Nikos Marantzidis is a professor of political science at the University of Macedonia.

Source: Kathimerini