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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 10 August 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 10 AUGUST 2019 21 OPINION torian police was a highly politicised force, its Chief Commissioner, Blaney, who also, according to accounts, was a member of the local fascist group "White Army," being an opponent of organised labour. Suspicions began to grow in certain quarters that the speed of the arrests and evidence had been doctored so as to implicate the broader labour movement. Despite being seen at the Akropolis Club by a number of witnesses, O'Connell offered as an alibi, that he was at the ALP Club at the time and this was corroborated by an ALP club steward. To the defence's contention that the Crown had not suggested a motive, the Prosecution responded that it did not have to establish motive and that the alibis offered by the accused could have been pre-arranged. After deliberating for six hours, the jury acquitted Williams and Norman McIver and found the rest of the accused guilty. They were sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment with hard labour, a sentence applauded by the Argus newspaper: "Every decent lawabiding member of the community, will feel relieved that three of the perpetrators of the Greek Club bombing outrage have been brought to justice and punished for their crimes and that in each case, the maximum penalty has been imposed. Foreigners are entitled to all the protection that the highest authority in the country can bestow." On hearing his sentence, O'Connell declared that he had been the victim of a setup, which he had not disclosed, because his counsel had advised him not to mention facts that could implicate prosecution witnesses. An appeal was lodged, contending the trial judge had misdirected the jury but the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and upheld the original sentences. The defence then sought leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, the full bench of which, after considering the application for less than ten minutes, refused leave to appeal. In the meantime, police arrested three men on the charge of conspiracy, Henry Stokes, Norman McIver and Thomas Taylor. They were charged with having offered a bribe to a woman to testify that she had seen a man known as Percy Jenkins hand two bombs to police constable Dunn and drive off with him. The jury acquitted the accused but concerns were raised that the convictions of the bombers were based on tainted evidence, especially as statutory declarations surfaced by people implicating Jenkins and Constable Dunn in the planting of the bomb in Delaney's car. A pamphlet circulated urging reconsideration of the case. It is believed that the author was King's Counsel Eugene Gorman, later an honorary Consul-General of Greece. When the pamphlet was received by the leader of the Victorian Opposition, he referred it to the police, who promptly arrested the printer, for not registering his press. Fascinatingly, eight years after the trial, the Port Melbourne branch of the ALP urged the Victorian Trades Hall Council to press the Victorian Government to remit the rest of the bombers' sentences. The original attempts bore no fruit but in February 1937, the Geelong branch of the ALP, the Victorian Liquor Trades Union and the Waterside Worker's Federation persuaded the Trades Hall Council to make further representations. An application was made by legal luminaries Dr Evatt, then a High Court judge, Maurice Blackburn and Brian Fitzpatrick. A few days later, O'Connell and Delaney were released and Alexander McIver was released in October 1939. In 1970, Sir Eugene Gorman visited Athens and discussed the case with diplomat, historian and Ambassador to Greece Hugh Gilchrist. According to Gilchrist, Gorman maintained that Constable Dunn had been responsible for planting the bomb in Delaney's car, he being discharged from the force in 1940 for unsatisfactory conduct. The circumstances surrounding the bombing of the Akropolis Club are almost movielike in their intricacy of plot and conspiracy and at the time, captured the attention of an entire city. What actually happened that night, and whether the bombing was intended to terrorise the Greek community or to portray the labour movement as terrorists shall never be known. Maintaining the sense of continuity, is the singular fact that the building in which the bombing took place still stands, and until recently, housed the Apokalypsi nightclub, while it still houses the premises of Caras Music to the present day. However, the historical amnesia which masks the post-war Greek community's ability to conceive of a linearity of tradition and memory prior to the arrival of their own families on this continent, so as to preserve and contextualize these events within its conception of its identity is regrettable, for in this way, the multifaceted cultural and social experience of an entire community is effaced. It also stands in the way of appreciating, a most intriguing mystery. Athens police plan raises fear in Greece EVA KOSSE The Greek government's new policing plan for central Athens sounds like a return to the bad old days. It includes an operation called "Operation Net" that will see some 130 armed police officers, incongruously dubbed the "Black Panthers," patrolling metro stations in Athens. Given Greece's history of abusive police sweeps, Operation Net sounds alarm bells about a possible new wave of human rights violations by the police in the capital. A 2012 crackdown in Athens known as Operation Xenios Zeus led to police detaining tens of thousands of people presumed to be irregular migrants solely on the basis of their appearance, violating human rights law. People who appeared to be foreigners were subject to repeated stops, unjustified searches of Fears that the new police sweeps will target marginalised groups of Greece. their belongings, insults, and, in some cases, physical abuse. In research I conducted for Human Rights Watch in 2014 and 2015, I found police used identity checks as a tool to harass people they consider undesirable, such as people who use drugs, sell sex, or people who are homeless. In many cases, the police confined people in police buses and police stations for hours, even though there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, and then sometimes transported them elsewhere and released them far from Athens' center. Greece has a duty to improve security on the streets for everyone. But the Greek authorities also have an obligation to ensure they don't abuse people's rights in the process. That requires appropriately circumscribed police stop-andsearch powers with clear and binding guidelines for law enforcement officers so they can be held accountable for their use. Guidance should include the permissible grounds for conducting a check and for taking a person to a police station for further verification of their documents. Police officers conducting these checks also need appropriate training and equipment. And the Greek government should ensure diligent investigations of allegations about police abuse and hold anyone found responsible to account. To make a real difference and increase the sense of security for everyone in central Athens, without discrimination, the new government should avoid invoking problematic laws and practices on stop and search likely to make the already difficult lives for vulnerable groups on the streets of Athens much harder. *Eva Kosse is the Human Rights Watch researcher for Western Europe. The importance of volunteering VASY PETROS Numerous research studies have shown that 'we feel good about ourselves when we do good, to and for others'. When volunteering, we interact to set and achieve common goals. Doing so, we develop new skills. These actions are vital for our mental health as they assist the body's production of oxytocin, a 'feel good' neurotransmitter which enhances the sense of purpose, satisfaction and accomplishment. This is the reason why so many volunteers express a desire to continue doing what they do. I began my volunteer jour- ney with The Australian Red Cross supporting the communities affected by the King Lake Fires and the Victorian Floods of 2010. The experience was not only humbling; it gave me a different perspective on life, myself and others. The oxytocin quickly 'kicked in' so I took an opportunity of free training for the assimilation of asylum seekers. With a working background in children's health and education, the logical progression was to volunteer with The Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital, Education Faculty. The value of volunteering can never be underestimated. Providing empathy and care in times of need, wherever and whenever it arises, unknowingly, helps us develop important personal, interpersonal and social skills that can benefit every aspect of our life. Volunteering also offers skills Greek Australian writers, artists, poets and musicians, to offer their assistance whenever and however they can. Through its volunteers, the GACL ensures the ongoing delivery of important services to the Greek community, introducing, promoting and advancing the work of writers, artists and musicians. For many years since its inception in 1970, the GACL has provided a positive impact on the lives of others by showcasing their work, skills and talent. In doing so, the GACL has contributed in building social connectedness and community resilience through the advancement of Greek Australians. Stella Papas and Cathy Alexopoulos of the GACL. to assist in the pursuit and obtainment of the 'ideal' work position and can help us to succeed in that position. Skills such as teamwork, networking, leadership, professionalism, time management, communication and social skills are just a few of many. I am now a co-opted member of the GACL, volunteering in the capacity of Art Co-ordinator for the annual Antipodean Palette art exhibitions since 2013. Here, I have learnt other different skills, meeting and networking with like-minded people, sharing a personal interest in Art, Literature and a common Greek background. Volunteering is social inclusion and community cohesiveness in action. Therefore it is imper- ative younger generations are both taught and encouraged to engage in such opportunities, whether work related and, or in areas of personal interest. The GACL relies on and benefits greatly from its volunteer members, people with a common interest who come together to assist the development and delivery of many of the GACL's events and activities. Engaging members with individual skills, experience and knowledge, whatever age, enriches the organisation with their offer of new ideas, opinions and approaches. This has ensured the GACL's continual success. Hence the importance of encouraging and engaging younger members of the community, especially emerging ARE YOU INTERESTED... In the advancement of Greek Australian Literature, Culture or the Arts? Are you an emerging or established writer, artist or musician? A tertiary student pursuing opportunity to learn new skills? If you would like the opportunity to volunteer for the GACL, please contact Cathy Alexopoulos, OAM, GACL President, infogaclm@ gmail.com The GACL is a non-profit organisation established in 1970, supporting the creative endeavours of Greek Australian writers, artists and musicians. Awarded the Medal for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs & Meritorious Service to the Community in 2006, the GACL contributes to the enrichment of literature and the arts by organising numerous successful annual events.
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