Given the day that’s in it, 21 April 2007, the 40th anniversary of the seizure of power in Greece by a group of colonels, I’m going to kick off my entry to the blogosphere with an overview of what the Greek press and media have been saying about the “Regime of the Colonels” or Junta forty years on. The anniversary doesn’t seem to have attracted much international attention.
Anniversaries such as these usually have the eyewitnesses out in numbers, recounting their experiences once again. Today’s Ta Nea came with a 161-page commemorate magazine entitled 21ή Απριλιου. 1967-2007. 40 Χρόνια απο το Πραξικόπημα της Χούντας [21 April. 1967-2007. 40 Years since the Junta Coup] as well as a DVD called 1967-1974. Η Ανατομία μιας Δικτατορίας. (Great title, as it just so happens that Anatomy of a Dictatorship was the title of a book on East Germany written by my doctoral supervisor Mary Fulbrook). The magazine is full of photographs and contains about 30 articles, which, with my poor standard of Greek it, will take me ages to plough through. I’ll let you know when I do.
Yesterday’s Eleftherotypia featured a number of articles, written mostly by historians, under the heading “40 Χρονία μετά” in its literature supplement Βιβλιοθήκη. With a little help from Babelfish, I’ve read one of them. In his “When ‘the kids with the hair and the black clothes’ met Marx and Coca Cola”, Kostis Kornetis examines what the the Greek anti-Junta student movement took (and didn’t take) from the wider 1968 student movement. Maintaining that the Greek movemet was inspired by, but also inspired, other student movements, he looks at their many similarities and differences, noting, among other things, that the free love aspect was taken aboard, albeit performed in the private sphere. The Greek students, he concludes, were part of the wider social movement inspired by 1968. Again, it’s going to take me some time to work through the remaining articles – it’s proving to me a much more challenging way to improve my Greek than reading learning materials specifically produced for that purpose – but they cover topics such as why the dictatorship fell, the Left during the coup d’etat , the aims of the student movement, and education a la Junta?
I thought there would have been more on television to mark the anniversary, but there hasn’t been much today. Perhaps in a subtle attempt to praise Junta kitch, terrible Antenna TV ran a 1973 “comedy” Ο φαντασμένος (The Imagined).
On a more serious note, a number of exhibitions are being hosted to mark the anniversary. The main one seems to be at the City of Athens Arts Center, which symbolically is housed in the former headquarters of the Junta secret police EAT-ESA on Eleftherias Park, Vas. Sophias Avenue. As the TV news reported today, some of the leading left politicians were down there today. This opened on 24 April and runs until 29 April. The Association Jailed and Exiled Resistance (Σύλλογος Φυλακισθέντων και Εξορισθέντων Αντιστασιακών) have also organised events at Eleftherias Park, which and will conclude with a major conference on Sunday 22 April. In addition, from 20-24 April the Archive of Modern Social History (Αρχεία Σύγχρονης Κοινωνικής Ιστορίας) in collaboration with the National Hellenic Research Foundation are holding an exhibition, entitled “Snapshots of Resistance”, and conference at Foundation on 48 Vasileos Konstantinou Ave.Meanwhile, the remaining Junta hangers-on, calling themselves “Union of Greek Patriots” have organised some kind of a gathering in a place called Katerinis-Ganoxoras, with surviving putschist Stylianos Pattakos. If you want to get an insight into the desolate intellectual format of the colonels, then check this out :