By Michael Karadjis
On May 6, a court in Greece, which regards itself as "the birthplace of democracy", sentenced four people to 19 months in prison for handing out a leaflet. Another six people are already spending six months in jail for putting up posters.
The leaflet was distributed by the Antiwar-Antinationalistic Campaign, which is composed of a broad spectrum of the revolutionary left, anti-authoritarians, anarchists, student caucuses, sections of the ecologists and others. This group aims to counter the nationalistic and war hysteria that has built up over the last six months in relation to former Yugoslav Macedonia, which has now declared independence.
The campaign has carried out a number of activities, including a demonstration of about 1000 people on April 16.
"... a dirty game is being played behind our backs, which will have painful consequences on our lives, even if it does not end in a war", the leaflet said.
It accused the powers that be of fostering nationalist hysteria "in order to make us forget the economic misery, unemployment, shrinking of income, the downgrading of the quality of our lives, the oppression of soldiers ...
"They want us to passively accept the murders of Albanian fugitives on the borders by the special army-police bodies they have formed. They want us to be indignant when somebody makes nationalistic statements in Skopje [the Macedonian capital], but to applaud when the same or even worse statements are heard in Athens or Salonica ...
"It is shameful for us to accept without protest the continued economic blockade of the neighbouring country, as well as the various proposals for military invasion of it ...
"We want to live in peace with all the Balkan peoples. And we are threatened by imperialist interventions, nationalistic governments and nazi-style preachings about race purity and extermination of minorities!
"... There are Turks, Pomaks, Slavomacedonians and Gypsies living also in Greece. We feel for these minorities living in our country exactly the same as for the rest of the Greek citizens. We do not want to cause them to disappear or to integrate them. On the contrary, we fight for them to enjoy as many freedoms and opportunities as we all enjoy, and we defend their particular language, religious and cultural rights. Doesn't the Greek government demand the same rights for Greek minorities living in other countries?"
The leaflet concludes: "Is there anyone who can dispute that in any unjust war our rulers may lead us into, the certain losers will be the working people, the youth and the peoples who will be dragged into them?"