Jun 20, 2007

What makes Greek police happy

There is one example of disgusting Greek police brutality that has hit the news recently and has people sick to their stomachs (once again). The video was filmed INSIDE the Omonia Police Department by two policemen. A third policeman commanded two young migrants, suspected of snatching a purse and taken in custody, to hit each other when he barked the order. If they didn't obey, the beast (aka Greek police officer) either beat them with a stick, slapped them with his hand or kicked them with his feet. "Just for the fun of it", as the the policeman reportedly replied when the video was uncovered.

Is this the only example of Greek police brutality? No. Unfortunately not. Neither will it be the last.

BUT. What IS overwhelming about this videotaped incident is that for a year (!) Greek police officers were swapping it amongst themselves (via their cell phones) to "laugh about". Apparently, Greek cops, the law upholders, get their kicks by watching their colleagues torture and humiliate other human beings. The video was then posted on youtube (I'm not clear on whether it was by some idiotic policeman or some concerned citizen who was alarmed by the video's content). Indymedia -thankfully- picked up its existence and the Greek general public outcry is strong.

The first day the video aired I couldn't stand to watch. I was too frightened, ashamed, violated and angry. Then I was completely astonished and horrified by HOW MANY TIMES Greek private and public news programs showed it over and over and over, as if in an infinite loop, at REGULAR viewing hours, when children are awake and have access to television.

Last night, Lakis Lazopoulos, a greek satirist and performer, emphasized this viewpoint on his show and I congratulate him because I haven't read or heard any other public figure point it out. Why isn't the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (Εθνικό Συμβούλιο Ραδιοτηλεόρασης, ΕΣΡ) doing something about when and how this video is being aired? Don't they realize that by repeatedly projecting fierce acts that violate human dignity, children assume we are endorsing them as "normal acts"? Don't they realize that even adults become hardened by these violent pictures while they're having dinner, shrugging it off as simply "news". Don't they realize that in the end we won't even blink an eye if we come across such incidents, because we will have morphed into the same inhumane creatures that are holding the stick and the videocamera?

Link to Indymedia video and coverage:
http://athens.indymedia.org/features.php3?id=477

Link to English update via Greek public news coverage:
http://news.ert.gr/en/c/6/25791.asp

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3 comments:

melusina said...

Amen. It makes me sick every time my husband watches the news. I realize it stands as witness to this behavior, but do we really need to keep watching it? I would have preferred not to watch it the first time, honestly, I can believe a story that there is video of such a thing happening and deal with that.

They did the same thing with those awful videos of the prisoner torture by the U.S. soldiers in Iraq, all the time people decrying the behavior. Well, how about not watching it and spreading it all over the place? Let the victims here have some dignity.

The really sad thing is this is a bigger issue of misuse/abuse of power worldwide by police, military, etc., and it really seems like things are out of control. And it just keeps the racism active and spreading around.

EllasDevil said...

When I first saw this video on the news when the story broke. I too was shocked when the newsreader told the story in detail but when they actually showed the video (with the sound), it turned my stomach completely.

It hadn't even crossed my mind that the news shows shouldn't be broadcasting it but I suppose it was too extreme for regular viewing hours. I just figured it needed to be shown so people could be horrified of what happened.

It wasn't till I saw (and heard) the video did I get such a reaction to this. But I think the issue you raise is valid and doesn't apply only to this story.

I watched the late night (3am?) news on Star last night because I was having trouble sleeping and had to switch off because they ran a story that was showing boys screaming whilst being circumcised in dirty backstreet shops in Turkey.

It appears the boundries of news are forever being pushed and the networks are constantly looking for a new way to shock us.

Beerli said...

Yes, it is hard to understand when something is so horrible and distasteful, when it shows the worst of humanity, somehow it becomes prime viewing and the visuals are everywhere. I have taken to registering my disapproval these days. I used to put up with it. Now I think it's wrong so I am doing what I can to get rid of the insanity in our media and then hopefully work on better behaviour all round. Well written ...you make your point in a very real way.