On 21/09/2018 a mob of about 50 people lynched at noon on Omonia Square in Athens the 33-year-old Zak Kostopoulos. For some, because he was a thief, for others, because he was gay or queer, for others, because he was a drug addict. Everyone had some reason to destroy. The main perpetrators were the owner of the jewellery store, where he escaped to (because of another altercation) and a real estate agent from across the street. The called police finished the job. Eight cops hit his motionless body and handcuffed his dead body (he was already dead) on the way to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. Since then, everything has been done to cover up the events or at least to justify them. Either way.
“What affected me and made me sad was the following: Suppose the two perpetrators were beasts and nobody interfered because they were afraid. I was also afraid to go between them when they were in this kind of frenzy, they did not understand Jesus and they smashed the other one. But the crowd did not even scream, she just looked, that was the horror. There were about thirty, forty, fifty persons. They set themselves up in amphitheatre form without making a sound. Something like “What are you doing there?”, “Stop it!”. Even someone who did not dare to go forward could shout something. When I intervened, I heard from behind a woman’s voice “The boy is right, stop, have mercy! What are you doing?”. Only one woman …”
(from the story of an eyewitness, Newpost.gr, 27/09/2018)
Over 38 years ago Elias Canetti wrote in his book “Crowds and Power”:
“The baiting crowd forms with reference to a quickly attainable goal. The goal is known and clearly marked, and is also near. This crowd is out for killing and it knows whom it wants to kill. It heads for this goal with unique determination and cannot be cheated of it. The proclaiming of the goal, the spreading about of who it is that is to perish, is enough to make the crowd form. This concentration on killing is of a special kind and of an unsurpassed intensity. Everyone wants to participate; everyone strikes a blow and, in order to do this, pushes as near as he can to the victim. If he cannot hit him himself, he wants to see others hit him. (…). It is so easy and everything happens so quickly that people have to hurry to get there in time. The speed, elation and conviction of a baiting crowd is something uncanny.”
(Crowds and Power, Elias Canetti, 1980)
The fact that there is an exact match of the text section of E. Canetti with the descriptions of the eyewitness of the murder of Zak 38 years later, is no coincidence, but the substance, the determination of the behaviour of the baiting crowd, in this case specifically the Greek baiting crowd. When we mentally expand the amphitheatre like semicircle of voyeurs (accomplices, presenters, spectators, etc.), we have the entirety of Greek society, with its exceptions (“Only one woman …”). In a country where denunciations and slogans like “I’ll call the cops” are regular occurrences, one person from all the crowd has come up to denounce the perpetrators. The rest of the bystanders of the lynching became co-perpetrators, even twice. Once with their silence during the crime. And again with their silence after the murder.
And they knew exactly who they wanted to kill
… the junkie, one of those chased away in exarchia by some anarchist group;
… the “gay pig”, one of those who were chased by some “rouvikones” (populist anarchist group) from a gay hangout in the “Pedio Areos” park and who released the video footage of their hunt;
… the thief, one of those like Ilia Kareli, who was beaten to death by the cops in the Nigrita-Serres prison.
Thus it was one of those spontaneous moments of purging the Greek society of such bacilli.
The amphitheatre structure of the 30, 40, 50 spectators who enjoyed the murder consisted not only of “bosses and petty bourgeoisie”, but also of workers, unemployed, intellectuals, stupid and cunning, fathers and unmarried, etc. The truly great efforts of the majority of the Greko anarchists and Greko leftists to squeeze the perpetrators into the well-known frame of “bosses and state”, are honest but still disgusting attempts to cover up and justify the murder. Because they blame the memorandum, the crisis, the government, the state … they even came up with Israel as the culprit, e.g.
“This climate, in which the weak are trampled on the ground, is exactly the same which justifies the actions of the American killers in our area, portraying them as friends and protectors, and which advances the dealings with the fascist regimes of Israel and Egypt …”.
(from the statement on the murder of KPG / ML, 23/09/2018).
Something like that could easily be signed by Antarsia (left-wing anti-Semitic group), KPG (without ML) and other democratic forces.
And because, as is known, “what the mob’s kicking could not finish, the cop’s batons will finish”, afterwards the second lynching was executed by the state authorities. Elsewhere you call this division of labour.
Some even sound the alarm because they see the purity of their revolutionary subjects in danger:
“After all, among the reactions to the murder there was an ideological hegemony of the fringes of autonomy and nihilism, pro-government LGBT organisations and reactionary liberals … For us, both the texts arguing that for the murder “all are to blame”, “the whole Greek population”, “all Greek citizens in general” and the largely apolitical slogans that dominated the demos, are expressions of the petty bourgeoisie, they are hostile to anarchy. Our position is that the groups who say that “all Greek citizens are homophobic” have to be kicked out of the gatherings as fascistic or at least as being hyperbolic.”
(from athens.indymedia, 27/09/2018, “Anarchist Initiative nabat”).
They forgot to add … kicked like Zak.
Although we are usually concerned only with the perpetrators, we will allow ourselves an exception here: The extermination mania against Zak increased, the more his strength left him, instead of decreasing. Even as he lay dying, they struck him with passion and enjoyment. The reason? Zak did not even ask for mercy at the worst moment of his life, but put his hands on his head to protect himself from their kicks. Zak did not do them a favour by begging for his life. Not a single moment, not even thought of it. On the one hand because of his experience that it makes no sense to turn to such humanoids, on the other hand, his gay pride has not allowed him to crawl at their feet and implore them for his life. Zak embarrassed them … they had to force him on the floor until they turned him into a pile of bloody flesh.
Therefore, from now on, anyone who puts words like “gay” or “queer” in their mouths must do so with due respect. If they don’t, they should expect the consequences, for blasphemy.
Anyone who is insulted and attacked as junkie, gay, queer, pickpocket or whatever has to decide for themselves whether to defend the attack militantly or in a “reformist” way. Although we would prefer the former, we do not want to dictate the right way for anyone.
However, what we see as our duty is to express precisely our own attitude towards the perpetrators and those who support them. We want to draw a deep, sharp dividing line before our feet, in which we face this mob, which is called society, nation, people and general Greeks. In case someone would manage to switch sides, that is welcome, but that’s not our goal. Our goal is to spoil their enjoyment of lynching by all means, to push them back into their holes, to force them to sleep restlessly, to make them scared when they open their mouths in their cafes, in their neighbourhoods, in their squats and assemblies … to face us with all our tender rabies and our hatred for this society.
Café Morgenland and conspirators, 10/10/2018