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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 8 October 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 OCTOBER 2016 23 LETTER Vasilakakos is utterly wrong It was the Communists in Greece and elsewhere who led and united the people in the heroic patriotic resistance against the Axis conquerors − Germany, Italy, Japan GEORGE ZANGALIS John Vasilakakos is utterly wrong and indeed prejudiced, to say the least, in equating communism with fascism when reviewing Peter Ewer’s book Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece (NK Saturday 24 September 2016). He accuses Ewer of not being particularly objective with “the Greek Communists ... whose victims surpassed those of Hitler”, before 1941 and that he −Ewer − “praise the courage and fighting spirit of the Greek people in their resistance, in which many Communists took part but in their vast majority these people were genuine patriots with little or no ideological and or political affiliations.” He goes on to say that "both black and red Fascism would be equally disastrous for a liberal, democratic country like Greece” and that Churchill’s decision to send armed forces to Greece was to prevent an imminent Communist coup. Vasilakakos is not of course the only one with ‘academic credentials’ to want to rewrite history to suit the masters of the day, in their efforts to perpetuate a system that exploits viciously people, nations and the environment − globalised capitalism. But the truth cannot and should not be distorted and denied. It was the Communists in Greece, in fact, in every other country and especially the then Soviet Union, that urged the world and led the struggle against the rise of Hitler and his march towards the murderous Second World War. The capitalist west instead assisted Nazi Germany in the expectation that Hitler would attack and destroy the newly-born Socialist Soviet Union. Communists and other antifascists were arrested, tortured, exiled and executed, including in Greece . It was the Communists in Greece, and elsewhere, who led and united the people in the heroic patriotic resistance against the Axis conquerors − Germany, Italy, Japan − EAM-ELAS (the Greek National Liberation Front and the Greek People’s Liberation Army) embraced the great majority of the Greek people in their determination to drive the invader out and a vision for a democratic people’s Greece. The Fascists went to bed with conquerors, whilst the pillars of the monarchists, and ‘liberal democrats’ either left the enslaved country, living it up in Cairo or London, or stood by proclaiming the resistance was futile and waiting for the Anglo-Americans to put them back to power after the war along with their king. Churchill’s troops did not come to liberate Greece in 1944, for the country was almost liberated and the Germans were in rapid retreat from the blows of ELAS and the march to Berlin by the Red Army. They came to fight ELAS and the aspirations of the Greek people for a new Greece. A military intervention that lasted for 44 days, imposing a brutal regime of terror against the heroes of the resistance that eventually led to the 1946-1949 AngloAmerican-imposed civil war with fascist, client and the junta regimes running Greece, with concentration camps full of Communists and other patriotic and democratic Greeks until 1974. When my brother at 19 took up arms and joined ELAS my mother, who was to mourn the death of my sister aged 17 and the agony of my father’s whereabouts, having been taken by the Germans, did not caution him against taking this course (Vassili katse fronima). Instead, every now and then when she got the word he was injured in a battle, she would rush to bring him home, nurse him and send him off again with her best wishes, not only as any mother would do but because she knew, she believed he was fighting for Greece and a better Greece than the one she knew, for EAM-ELAS opened up new horizons for every one to reach for personal, social and human liberation. John Vasilakakos, my mother, like many hundreds of thousands of other mothers with sons and daughters in EAM-ELAS, knew better than many come-late pen pushers what was right and wrong. Its an insult to refer to the millions who joined and followed the struggles and aspirations of EAM as people with no ideology and politics. The Greek people have never before or since reached such a high level of national, patriotic and class consciousness, political and ideological maturity as in that period. They were aiming for the highest of humanity’s ideals − a people’s democracy. The Resistance led by EAM-ELAS − inspired and organised by the Communist Party of Greece − was recognised as the most significant in all occupied Europe and most certainly in the hearts and minds of most Greeks all over the world. Also, you can read it and hear it from the immortal works of Greece’s best and formost writers and composers. I am sure I am not alone in saying honour and glory to the men and women of the Greek Resistance, their struggles and ideals inspire generations to come. Their detractors have nothing to be proud of.
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