Isn’t the metro being constructed part of public infrastructure, which the protesters, who don’t even live in Exarchia, are trying to derail?
The former SYRIZA minister and current lawmaker Christoforos Vernardakis said a few days ago that the district of Exarchia “is besieged by repression, the privatization of every free space, airbnb and the abandonment of every public infrastructure. Under the pretext of the construction of a metro station in Exarchia Square and the ‘regeneration’ of Strefi Hill, the most historic neighborhood of the Athenian center is being destroyed.” (Facebook, 10/08/22)
Yes, agreed. Exarchia is a historic neighborhood. Greek satirical poet and journalist Giorgos Souris lived there and today it is the home of writer Soti Triantafillou. But what does “most historic neighborhood of the Athenian center” mean? Is it more “historic,” for example, than Plaka, which has been continuously inhabited since antiquity to the present day and was the center of ancient Athens?
The above is only the mildest exaggeration in Vernardakis’ Facebook post, who, like his party, is not famed for his economy of speech. What does he mean by “abandoning all public infrastructure?” Isn’t the metro being constructed part of public infrastructure, which the protesters, who don’t even live in Exarchia, are trying to derail?
On the other hand, of course, let us remember that after 2008, the post office, bank branches and even ATMs gradually left the area, for one simple reason: They were being burned in the name of a “continuous revolution.”
Today these spaces, which are “besieged by repression and privatization,” are a mess. There is dirt and graffiti on every public building while local shopowners have been extorted by gangs that apparently are keen on “revolutions.” Is there indeed a risk that Strefi Hill will be destroyed by the regeneration, when – unknown and illegitimate – groups have already turned it into a mess? Unless they are afraid that those private interests will bring “private goats” to the hill – the same ones that another left-wing MP, Kriton Arsenis (MeRA25), has claimed destroyed an oak forest on the island of Samothraki: “In the emblematic Martini oak forest no new trees had grown in over 40 years. They were being eaten by uncontrollable private goats,” he said on Twitter on August 10.
This kind of nonsense would be a lot of fun if it wasn’t followed by the actions of the “assault squads.” People with shady motives are using youngsters as useful idiots to stage “revolutions” in the long-suffering district. The local residents are reasonable people. They want the station as close as possible, but if they say anything, the “black collective” will get them.
Published in eKathimerini.com 17.8.2022