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Parents declare “proud” of four arrested bank robbers suspected of terrorism

Greek public opinion is divided.  Part of the society condemns the apparent beating of the four suspects arrested in Velvento, Kozani. But another society part hails the beating claiming it was deserved as the “kids” (as they are called here) were armed with heavy weapons. Minister of Justice, Antonis Roupakiotis, openly declared that he was “chilled” to see the abused face.

“I was chilled by the pictures showing their swollen eyes and lips,” Roupakiotis said.

“On the other hand — and I am not trying to measure my words — when you clash with someone wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle, you can’t be holding a flower,” he added. “This sort of thing is violent by its nature.” (ekathimerini)

The arrest of the four bank-robbers, aged 20-25,  made everyone wonder about the social background of the perpetrators who seem to claim it was a “politically motivated act.”  From what it is reported in the Greek press, at least two of them have been raised in middle class families, with a solid economic background and education.

Speaking to the Greek press, the parents not only supported their bank-robbers “kids” but also justified their violent acts.

Nikos Romanos, 20

Νίκος Ρωμανός

First to support her son’s acts was Paulina Nasioutzik, mother of 20-year-old Nikos Romanos. “I am very proud of my son struggling against an illegal and unlawful and rotten society and will defend him to the last drop of my blood,” Nasioutzik told private Alpha TV on Monday.

athens arrests nasioutzik

Paulina Nasioutzik is writer of novels and historic books and the daughter of arts collector Athanasios Nasioutzik (former president of Greek Authors Society) convicted for the murder of author Thanasis Diamantopoulos in 1984. She is known to Greek readers from books she wrote on the boring life of “moms of the north suburbs” – a social class of its own, referring to the residents of the northern suburbs of Athens, living in wealth, luxury and exclusive lifestyle.

Nikos Romanos was 15 years old and present when police officer Korkoneas killed in cold blood his friend, teenager boy Alexis Grigoropoulos in 2008.

Upon his arrest Nikos Romanos let through his lawyer know that he was considering himself to be “prisoner of war” and that his motives were “political”.

Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos, 24

Ανδρέας - Δημήτριος Μπουρζούκος

“He is a good boy, he is not a terrorist,” Yiannis Bourzoukos, retired icons painter,  described his son Andreas-Dimitris stressing the social activities of the bank-robber in spe. 

“He would take the bite out of his mouth to give it to those without food,” Yiannis Bourtzoukos told Ethnos daily, adding that he had raised funds for prisoners, migrants and those who had nothing.

“He wants another society.  It’s an anarchist ideology, but it has nothing to do with terrorism. An anarchist, like everyone in the family. But not relation to terrorism.”

The father justified the carrying of guns claiming that they were for ‘intimidation’ as his son did not even know how to handle weapons.

The mother of Andreas-Dimitris is a doctor at the Greek ambulance service EKAV.

Yiannis Michailidis, 25

Γιάννης Μιχαηλίδης

“They are political prisoners, even though they are considered as common criminals,” the mother of third suspect Yiannis Michalidis told daily “6 Meres.”They don’t want to be victimized. Whatever they do and say, they do it out of a stable and upright political stance.” Describing how her son, covered with a jacket, was kicked by policemen who were also were insulting his mother, she added”

“These kids have no lies. Whatever they do is a stance of life. That’s all I want to say about my son.”

Ο φίλος του Αλέξη που έγινε τρομοκράτης

Michailidis is suspected to be the ‘archer of Syntagma square’, against him there was an arrest warrant for alleged participation in the outlaw group “conspiracy of the cells of fire.”

 

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15 comments

  1. They have gone “too far” in the eyes of society (kalashnikovs, bank robbery) but I will say it now: these boys – these children – are in a very real way the best we have. Before condemning them, ask yourself: what have we as a society, as a country in deep crisis, shown and given to our children who were exactly 12 to 17 years old from 2008 on? It is exactly those from stable homes (which does not mean lots of money, but means love, and parents still in work) and comfortable homes who could afford to be most stunned by the inhuman treatment of immigrants, by the violence of Chrysi Avgi, by the daily and visible violence of the police, and take an active role to help people less fortunate. The parents of these boys gave them a social conscience and sensitivity. (Please do not laugh ironically – read on). Anyone who has children, particularly boys, knows that from age 12 onward they move beyond us into young adulthood, the world of their peers, the grown up world. That is why Alexis Grigoropoulos and his friends were in Exarchiea that night – they were tasting adult life.

    What this half generation has seen is a country run by lying kleptocrats, who use police to violently break up even peaceful demonstrations, police who aid and abet Chrysi Avgi, a government that has let Chrysi Avgi set the agenda on illegal immigrants through violence. They have seen parents of friends lose their jobs, go months without payments, or remain cheated and unpaid. They see a government impose taxes and cuts on its people without going after the rich and protecting themselves. They see a Troika running Greece without any concern for the country. They are the exact age that police stop and harrass them every day, do illegal searches for drugs, etc.

    They see a society in which power is abused and no mercy shown; in which a schoolboy is murdered and the murderer is released on pension; a society in which old people who have paid taxes and social contributions all their lives are now reduced to eating in soup kitchens and live in the dark; in which people suicide from despair. They see the future closing before them – and the powerlessness of people on all sides, the fear in family life. They see powerlessness and at the other end, abuse of power without mercy.

    They are not old enough to struggle to be philosophical. What they see is only increasing darkness – and the just-minded camaraderie of their friends.

    Laugh if you will, or sneer. Those young people a little older were old enough to experience the good times as young adults, they escaped. This particular group of young people have grown up in a very different moment. And not a clear one, like war.

    I write this as a mother of a 16 year old boy, at a private school (at the cost of great sacrifice at home – we are not rich), whose circles of friends overlap with the arrested. Like all his friends he is socially aware, outraged by injustice, has had bad treatment from the police and hates them, marches against Chrysi Avgi, sympathises with the Antifa and is regularly in Exarchiea. I am proud of him for his feelings, and terrified at the same time. My heart goes out to these boys and their parents. I know, as they know, that we are harbouring an explosion in our midst. They “went too far” (but didn’t hurt anyone) yet it is absolutely crystal clear to me that their parents brought them up to care about others, to believe in social justice. And I’ll say it again: in this upside down world we know inhabit, in a way they are the best ‘hearts’ among us, expressing unbearable truths..

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    yet, I’m no a sociologist, neither I have facts: but poor tend to committe suicide, educated middle classes take up the arms? is it a matter of education and not to have to struggle to bring your daily bread on the table? just asking.

  3. The police, no matter in what country, have no right to beat and abuse people in custody, no matter what the people might have done. I hope the officers are investigated properly and given consequences if they beat these suspects. However, my impression is that this probably won’t happen unless there is hard evidence. I doubt there is hard evidence.

  4. Eleni, first of all, they are not “children”. Please, let’s start talking about them as adults. Many people, younger than them, is already working and raising children. Second, do you really, honestly think common people, the poor people, see them as the best we have? Are you really convinced they will embrace these people has theyr heroes? They seem to be the heroes of theyr parents, and that’s weird enough. I’m am not laughing at your post, don’t worry, I’m am just surprised. I’m communist, my father and my grand-father were communists. I grew up despising these little radicals from the burgeoisie. Tired of watch these “children” putting shops in flames, with the employes leaving to unemplyement They want to make the revolution? So, start experiencing what workers suffer, go to work, go to the camps. Live what they live. We are all tired of hipocrisy.
    I’m portuguese, I see people in despair around me, living on anti-depressive pils, seeing the bankers getting fatter, and trying to keep feeding my family. I have nothing to do with those boys and girls, wich we have too. Who knows, I have flaws as a father, as many fathers, and I don’t know if my son will make that, too. I will suport him, for ever, but I wont be proud of him.

  5. In a lawless Greece, Bill Frezza’s article is starting to scare me. Did not put link per your request KTG. But is there any chance Bill could be right?

  6. keeptalkinggreece

    thanks, Kostas, we posted Frezza’s article last week. I hardly believe he’s right.

  7. Antonio, I understand perfectly what you are saying. Three years ago I would have said the same thing too. But we are much further along than you in social and financial breakdown. Things here have deteriorated further than in Portugal.

    The single factor that has changed life here, especially in Athens, was the rise of Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn, neo-nazis). This is essentially a younger people’s movement – children as young as 10 are proselytised – led by a handful of older men. Though older people have joined. They revere the junta, and Hitler…they are fascists. If it had been just a political party that would have been ok. But they took over the streets. Unfortunately, on the police’s own estimate, at least 70% of the police are also Chrysi Avgi. So we saw over the last 2 years especially, police standing by while CA thugs physically attacked unarmed immigrants (legal and illegal), young people, anyone who tried to stop their violence against others, including old people.

    To make matters worse our right wing led coalition government allowed CA to set the agenda about illegal immigration and allowed them to roam free, turning a blind eye to they’re being aided and abetted by the police. I live in the centre and work in the centre and the scenes of marauding violence were terrible. Only pressure from others in the parliament forced the Minister of Public Order to make some weak statements about not tolerating police abuse and initiating ‘investigations’ that have led nowhere – I am sorry to add “of course”.

    Greece also has a long communist tradition. Communists suffered horribly after the civil war. By now we no longer have a social demographic describing communists (we didn’t before either) – they can be middle class doctors, or run businesses, their children are often in private schools (NOT for the snob value, greek private school parents are not automatically rich – some drive taxis and trucks, my son’s best friend’s father is an egyptian who is up at 5 each day to work in his office-cleaning business, cleaning floors). But I can tell you, the kids from communist tradition families are violently against Chrysi Avgi (and the police, who they see as one & the same) and most are ‘Antifa’ (anti-fascist) and actively taking part in demonstrations and organising protests on site when CA opens new offices.

    Last year CA patrolled the metro going from carriage to carriage harassing people and throwing them off trains. They were not stopped by the police or metro people (who were probably scared). At the same time, roving bands of motorcycle police (18-22 years old) surround kids as young as 12, 13, forcing them to submit to searches or lie on the ground. Growing up in the centre, my son has friends of every background and many nationalities. Rich or poor, all the foreign kids started hiding at home, or only taking buses – CA didn’t “do” buses. Rich or poor, foreign or greek, almost no young person here has not suffered from some form of intimidation or seen it happen.

    So broadly speaking the youth in Greece split into two – the Chrysi Avgites, and the Anti-fascists. The Anti-fascists kids are a total mix from every background. I take your point that the ones arrested in Kozani, at 20-24, are adults. But my son’s friends, age 13 and up, are also anti-fascist and mixing into all of this. In their eyes, in this climate of despair, they see it as the most important thing they can do, an obligation. At the same time, Nikos Romanos (the 20 year old of Kozani) was only 15 when his 15 year old friend was shot dead in front of him by a policeman; who was eventually pardoned and retired with his pension.

    Basically we are so far along as a deteriorated society that there are the very rich and politicians at one extreme and the rest at the other – ALL are struggling. People who were once professionals are homeless. Previous divisions have to a large extent become meaningless, and are especially meaningless among young people. More important is what your values are.

    My point was that this particular age group is facing what they see as a totally dark future, in a society divided into the powerful and powerless.

  8. Only in Greece would you hear such rubbish that a group of thugs wielding AK-47s and robbing banks would be “the best we have”. Such is the state of the delusion among the far left elements. Total disconnect from reality.

  9. Eleni, I can fully understand the situation in Greece. In Portugal, we have old people living with 200 euros, monthly, who can’t pay heat and have to go to charity to eat and dress. We have many children who only have hot meals in school, we have people who commit suicide, too, because of the crisis. I am a public servant, with university degree, and I have no money to buy my son the cheapest bycicle to him to ride, nor money to pay him private lessons, and we don’t take vacations out of our hometown. I have sold my gold weding ring to a gold buyer.
    I can see a point in beating a member of Golden Dawn (my heart won’t bleed), They dress military uniforms and all that, so they are asking for it. But I can see no point in robbing a bank or destroying shops. That is my communist ethics. Everyone has to take is responsability. Holding a kalashnikof and robbing a bank doesn’t make anyone a political prisioner. That is a joke. Parents must say this to theyr sons. The anarchist movement, in greece and everywhere, exists long before the crisis. Most anarchists are sophisticated middle and upper class young man and women, nothing to do with the people in the botton, who strugle everyday, and who doenst profit nothing with those actions.

  10. keeptalkinggreece

    Antonio, the arrested suspects claim in a letter to the press here, “the robbery was a political act’. sorry to have not managed to bring updates on this issue.

  11. Thank you (what is your name?). Political fantasy, alienation and oportunism is everywere, in the left and in the rigth. Lenin would say a thing or two to these boys ..;). But I hope there is an honest inquiery about the actuation of the police. I don’t know if you can trust in your institutions on that. In Portugal, some suspects “fall” from the stairs in the police premisses, and get a blue eye…

  12. Over the years, I have heard many excuses from a wide variety of people trying to excuse the inexcusable. Every time somebody got blown up in his car, annihilated while having a drink in the local pub, executed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, knee capped for having the wrong religion or wearing the wrong uniform… There was always somebody prepared to stand up and try and make the people believe this was “for their own good”, make people believe that the perpetrators of these crimes somehow “were the best we had” and their acts were “politically motivated”.
    How on earth can you even suggest that putting a Kalatchnikov in somebodies face or robbing a bank is somehow going to stop people like CA? You wouldn’t even have a point if the gun had been put in the face of a leading member of CA…
    Here you are, rightfully complaining about the intolerable lawlessness of the CA actions and their immorality towards humanity in general and the society they live in, and then you try and make out that an equally intolerable, lawless action is somehow justified because it is supposed to be a “politically motivated act”? May I point out to you that that is precisely what CA say, and sadly they even have the votes to back them up on it???
    Two wrongs don’t make a right, never did. In this particular case they don’t even make a reason. If young men (not kids) can end up spouting this kind of nonsense and acting the way they did, then we really should question the so-called education they are getting. Any education that does not manage to instill at least a basic concept of right and wrong isn’t worth having.
    The sad truth of the matter is that with their “politically motivated action” they gave that so rightfully despised reprehensable system championed by the current Greek government every possible reason that system could dream off to act in the repressive way it does. And you can be sure that the system will use the opportunity to its greatest advantage…

  13. Hi Elephant, I think you might be talking to me.
    Actually I agree with you completely about violence, and terrorism. For me it is the ultimate cowardice and psychopathic cruelty. I make this perfectly clear to my son and his friends.

    What I was trying to do in my posts is explain something EXTREMELY scary that is happening with our teenagers now, from gymnasio (middle school) up. We are technically 6 years into the crisis here and it has hit hard for 3-4. We have good memories to help us, but the crisis is all that these children know and they see only darkness on the horizon for themselves. Further, life has changed from 5 years ago: there are violent problems in many schools between CA kids and the others who are not…. Between the financial problems all around them, threats in school, what they see on TV, being regularly targetted by CA and police in the neighbourhoods (even while walking the family dog or playing basketball at the courts!), and most pernicious of all their new peer mythologies….life is not ‘normal’ anymore for them.

    I only wish we had the old problem of noisy parties etc!

    I can only tell you, parents are forever worried now.

    The Kozani kids (rather, young adults – thank you, Antonio) is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. To see their boys sucked into such extreme dead end & violent positions. Boys that 5-6 years ago were doing other things, sport, music , excursions etc. Normal kids.

    The last few days we have been busy discussing anarchism at home – & why we prefer democracy. Try discussing this yourself with intelligent kids who are ‘Antifa’ and now fully aware of anarchism, and see it romantically. To get them to listen and discuss, you cannot simply condemn, you must hear them out thoroughly, be sympathetic to their views and then try to develop them by providing convincing reasons for your own preference. The argument that made the deepest impact in our conversations is that we (oldies) felt that anarchism’s ultimate goal, to live without government or law (using the boys’ definition) – was ultimately extremely naive in that it assumes that people are good, and that left alone society would be good. Au contraire we (oldies) see that the world is full of evil people – the boys agreed totally with this point – and that anarchy’s unstructured world would enable those who are evil to hijack it, leading to tyranny. Therefore democracy etc. etc. (I assume you can fill in the blanks yourself).

    As a parent I mourn the sorrow, anger and outrage that led the Kozani boys into their extreme dead end. I believe that their parents are speaking the truth when they say their boys are caring and kind, because it is out of a starting point of perhaps too much empathy that their present position grew. With them, I thank God that no one was hurt! I spoke out on this because I am in a similar position to them broadly speaking – surrounded by outraged (and secretly terrified) teenagers who have grown into their early maturity in an exceptionally bad time (but without the clarity of war), who have no perspective on events, and who feel there is no future for them.

    It is very hard work being a parent right now to this age group. And the careful explanations we gave earlier in the crisis, and encouraging them to be aware of and help with the sufferings of others (which they see around them) has only fed into it. Basically we are facing different degrees of emotional depression with our children, exacerbated by fear – which they may or may not admit.

    Here ends my comments!

  14. @Eleni, I know only too well what it is like to bring up children. I have a small tribe myself, including grand and great-grand children, anything between the ages of 6 months and 48 years old, girls and boys. Without getting personal, discussing things is only one side of the coin. The flip side is living your arguments. The darkness and hopelessness than far too many young people are suffering from is something they do indeed pick up from their immediate environment. This is however not an oppressive police force or a bunch of fascist thugs. They are only the visible cancers of a very sick environment, and can grow the way they do because they find the environment to be weak in its principles and defenses. The world is anything but good and peaceful, but most people do, despite that, have a good sense of right and justice. They unfortunately, and wrongly, expect everybody to have that same sense.
    Where things go wrong is in walking the talk. People, especially people who are struggling, have one-track minds. They don’t care about ideology, they want their difficulties solved by yesterday. They want leaders to be seen to DO something. Enter the likes of CA. They make sure they were seen to be doing something. They know it doesn’t really matter what they do, as long as they are seen doing it. What people in general see is the “hands-on” bit, and they blissfully ignore the “wrong thing” bit. It’s human nature. The priority with young adults should not be discussing ideology and politics, it is getting them actively involved in that society they so rightfully see as needing a serious change of course.Ideology and politics are born out of action, not over a frappe in a taberna somewhere.
    And that is where “the left”, anywhere in the world, constantly and consistantly fails. They are too busy arguing the hindlegs of a donkey that they don’t just ignore, they simply don’t see the little old lady that needs help crossing the road. The likes of CA do, and help her cross that road. In doing so, they gain the trust, and also the tolerance they need to go and do the despicable things they do. When they go and beat up or kill some unfortunate soul, the little old lady remembers being helped across the road, or being asked “how are you”, or the food parcel that came her way. She will ignore the beatings, the killings, the racism because she was made feel like a human being there and then, instead of being told in endless speeches and pamphlets how she could possibly maybe become a human being at some utopic stage in the future when the revolution is won.
    The second part of this sorry tale is that after gaining the trust of the little old lady, the likes of CA know only too well that she is now also very tolerant towards their darker side, and even prepared to consider it as the way to go. And they subsequently jump from a bunch of violent racist idiots to the 3rd largest party in Greece, while “The Left” is discussing anarchy and democracy till all hours of the night.
    Let me ask you a very practical question. why are there no “SYRIZA” sponsored food kitchens, street hospitals, schools for deprived kids etc. That is where the not just the battle but, the war is won. And as long as they don’t go onto the real battle field, they will never get anywhere, despite their good intentions and obvious potential to make the change this country needs.