The influential Greek edition of Kathimerini received appeals from three academicians who write about a phenomenon that feeds the cycle of bloody events.
Violent extremism in its various forms is the greatest danger that threatens European democracy, as the authors of the addresses emphasize, while at the same time they speak of the hypocrisy of the rhetoric of cleansing violence.
Spread of violence
For years, we’ve talked about the dystopian milieu of violence presented in fiction. However, in recent years, this dystopia has become part of the daily life of Western societies. The crises created a protracted scenario of polarization and division. Populism and authoritarian political tendencies have created an intolerant backdrop against which violence has become part of the political controversy. Violent extremism in its various forms is the greatest threat to European democracies. But violence, unfortunately, has left even this context and is spreading in our society. We can observe three main dynamics.
First, violence is a process of resolving personal disputes. In recent years, we have witnessed violent incidents that escalated and even led to killings, starting with confrontation. A progressive turn, reminiscent of violence as an integral part of the resolution of disputes in the first rural societies of Greece.
The second dynamic is violence as a means of acquiring an identity. The hyperactivity of many young people, especially minors, has led to a prolonged identity crisis. Joining organizations or groups that glorify and support violence works as an easy way to get rid of belonging. Last thing murder case in Thessaloniki is added to other similar ones, which have two main aspects:
a) violence between groups of minors;
b) fan violence.
In many cases, these two violent gangs overlap as the average age of bullies has dropped significantly.
The third dynamic concerns the culture and iconology of violence. Murders, domestic violence, and racist attacks highlight violence as an aspect of the “supremacy” culture. Finally, worse is the iconology of violence, associated either with the use of lethal means such as the scythe, or with the use of the Internet to promote bloodshed.
Mr. Triantafyllos Karathrantos is a PhD in European Security and Emerging Threats and an ELIAMEP Fellow.
Our duty to youth
Our Alkis. Our freshman from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who was killed early Tuesday morning in the Harilaou area of Thessaloniki. University and city, we are all shocked by the bloodthirsty attack on our Alkis. This sad incident is added to the number of cases of violence recorded in the stadiums of the country.
And there are many questions. For the responsibility of all of us in the fight against a chronic phenomenon that the existing bills on sports are unable to eliminate. Questions about the wild instincts of violence cultivated in young children. To the children of a generation that, in search of a collective identity, turned fanaticism into hooliganism, counting more and more human losses. A generation that has gone from violent “spontaneous” episodes in stadiums to deliberate fan violence, ambushes and off-pitch attacks like yesterday.
The state, society, sports institutions, we as academic educators all have a responsibility to protect the physical integrity of young children. And this must be done by all means. With bold decisions. With a modern, realistic institutional framework for the protection of fans, as well as a ruthless attitude of the state to all cases of violence, without exception. Combat violence inside and outside sports facilities.
And most importantly, we need to invest more and more in education. Education is the only means capable of changing the fate of people. To secure the harvest. To develop social skills. To form honest, moral personalities, with high life values, with a sense of responsibility to others, with the instincts of brotherhood, humanity, solidarity, respect.
And we ourselves must not allow these criminal acts to be perpetuated to the detriment of our children. Violence is unacceptable in any form. Not at the university, not at the stadiums, not on the streets of the city. Enough.
Mr. Stratos Stylianidis is Vice Chancellor for Research and Lifelong Learning at AUTh.
Courageous, ruthless world
The murder of a 19-year-old is shocking for many reasons. Especially when you hear the phrase: “This is made for a fan difference”, or something like that. How can a person be killed for fan controversy, I wonder.
Then spontaneous events pop up in memory. I’ve been going to the stadium since I was twelve and trained in a “temple” that celebrates raw, often bestial “masculinity”: men who swear and gesticulate with their genitals and swear words, where sex is the equivalent of humiliation. And pain. Men spit, throw bottles and objects that hurt, men threaten, attack, punch. Men, cruel men…
How many times have I feared for my life when I was about to go to a football match? Several. I remember once in Athens I went to a PAOK match, and the opposing team’s fans outside the stadium, after the end of the match, urgently and threateningly asked everyone who seemed “suspicious” to show identification. How they chose suspicious ones, I never understood. They shouted “Ale Re” at my neighbor, I walked silently, hunched over. What happens if they see on their ID: “Birthplace: Thessaloniki, Tumpa Police Station”? Fortunately, I didn’t know.
Modern football hypocritically claims to have eliminated violence. How much hypocrisy. Making football an expensive hobby, mainly in Europe, by banning the movement of fans, mainly in Greece, maybe. They took the violence out of the stands, but brought it to the streets. Only in Thessaloniki in recent years, two dead and several injured as a result of “fan” showdowns.
Let’s not laugh, the “fan violence” debate closes, if not hides, a deeper taboo issue. The patriarchal world is a world that constantly broadcasts violence. A world full of blind narcissistic and selfish violence: a child who was from a different group, a woman who “contradicted”. Sometimes this cruel male world becomes not only cruel, but also ruthless.
* Mr. Nikos Marantsidis is Professor of Political Science at the University of Macedonia.