Greece

 

Simonides

Simonides was a famous lyric poet from the city of Iulis, in the island of Ceos, off the coast of Attica. He left his native island in his youth and went to Athens, where he spent the largest part of his life. He probably also spent some time at the court of Hieron, the tyrant of Syracuse, where he may have met with Pindar. He was probably the first to write victory odes for winners at the Olympic games, a genre in which Pindar would later become most famous. He wrote an epitaph for the Spartans dead at the Thermopylæ with Leonidas that was most famous in antiquity. Little is left of his works, of which only fragments are extant. Epitaph At Thermopylae Four thousand of us fought three million.When you visit Sparta, tell them:Here, the soldiers kept their word.Go tell the Spartans, thou that passeth by,That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

 

Alexandros Panagoulis: Poet Assassin

alekospanagoulisnov68 Alexandros Panagoulis (2 July 1939 1 May 1976) was a Greek politician and poet. He took an active role in the fight against the Regime of the Colonels (1967-1974) in Greece. He became famous for his attempt to assassinate dictator, Georgios Papadopoulos on 13 August 1968, but also for the torture that he was subjected to during his detention.

After the restoration of democracy he was elected to the Greek parliament as a member of the Center Union (E. K.). Alexandros Panagoulis was born in the Glyfada neighborhood of Athens. He was the second son of Vassilios Panagoulis, an officer in the Greek army, and his wife Athena, and the brother of Georgios Panagoulis, also a Greek Army officer and victim of the Colonels regime, and Efstathios, who became a politician. His father was from Divri (Lampeia ) of Eleia (Western Peloponese) while his mother was from the Ionian island of Leukada. Panagoulis spent part of his childhood on this island during the Second World War, because of the occupation of Greece by the Axis forces. He studied at the National Technical University of Athens (Metsovion Polytechnic) in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. 

Politics 
From his teenage years, Alexandros Panagoulis was inspired by democratic values. He joined the youth organization of the Center Union party (E. K.), known as O.N.E.K., under the leadership of Georgios Papandreou (Sr.). The organization later became known as Hellenic Democratic Youth (E.DI.N.). After the restoration of parliamentary rule, Panagoulis became the Secretary General (President) of E.DI.N., on 3 September 1974.

Resistance to the Dictatorship 
Alexandros Panagoulis participated actively in the fight for the restoration of democracy and against the Regime of the Colonels. He deserted from the Greek military because of his democratic convictions and founded the organization National Resistance. He went into self-exile in Cyprus in order to develop a plan of action. He returned to Greece where, with the help of his collaborators, he organized the 13 August 1968 assassination attempt against Papadopoulos, close to Varkiza. The plot failed and Panagoulis was arrested. In an interview held after his liberation, Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci quoted Panagoulis as saying: I didn’t want to kill a man. I’m not capable of killing a man. I wanted to kill a tyrant.Panagoulis was put on trial by the Military Court on 3 November 1968, condemned to death with other members of National Resistance on 17 November 1968, and subsequently transported to the island of Aegina for the sentence to be carried out. As a result of political pressure from the international community, the junta refrained from executing him and instead incarcerated him at the Military Prisons of Bogiati (S. F. B.) on 25 November 1968. Alexandros Panagoulis refused to cooperate with the junta, and was subjected to physical and psychological torture.  He escaped from prison on 5 June 1969. He was soon arrested and sent temporarily to the camp of Goudi. He was eventually placed in solitary confinement at Bogiati, from which he unsuccessfully attempted to escape on several occasions. He reportedly refused amnesty offers from the junta. In August 1973, after four and a half years in jail, he benefited from a general amnesty that the military regime granted to all political prisoners during a failed attempt by Papadopoulos to liberalize his regime. Panagoulis went into self-exile in Florence, Italy, in order to continue the resistance. There he was hosted by Oriana Fallaci, his companion who was to become his biographer. 
Restoration of Democracy 
After the restoration of democracy, Alexandros Panagoulis was elected as Member of Parliament as a member of the Center Union - New Forces, in 1974. He made a series of allegations against mainstream politicians who he said had openly or secretly collaborated with the junta. He eventually resigned from his party, after disputes with the leadership, but remained in the parliament as an independent deputy. He stood by his allegations, which he made openly against the Minister of National Defence, Evangelos Averoff, and others. He reportedly received political pressure and threats against his life in order to persuade him to tone down his allegations. 

Death 
Panagoulis was killed on 1 May 1976 at the age of 36 in a car accident on Vouliagmenis Ave. in Athens. More precisely, a frantically speeding car with a Corinthian named Stefas behind the wheel diverted Panagoulis' car and forced it to crash[3]. The crash killed Panagoulis almost instantaneously. This happened only two days before files of the junta's military police (the E.A.T. - E.S.A. file) that he was in possession of were to be made public. The files, which never materialized, reportedly included evidence of his allegations of collaboration. There was much speculation in the Greek press that the car accident was staged to silence Panagoulis and to cover up the documents in question. 

Poetic Work 

alek panagoulis
Alexandros Panagoulis was brutally tortured during his incarceration by the junta. Many believe that he maintained his faculties thanks to his will, determination to defend his beliefs, as well as his keen sense of humor. While imprisoned at Bogiati, Panagoulis is said to have written his poetry on the walls of his cell or on small papers, often using his own blood as ink (as told in the poem 'The Paint'). Many of his poems have not survived. However, he managed to smuggle some to friends while in prison, or to recall and rewrite them later.

While in prison his first collection in Italian titled Altri seguiranno: poesie e documenti dal carcere di Boyati (Others will Follow: Poetry and Documents of the Prison of Boyati) was published in Palermo in 1972 with an introduction of the Italian politician Ferruccio Parri and the Italian film director and intellectual, Pier Paolo Pasolini. For this collection Panagoulis was awarded the Viareggio International Prize of Poetry (Premio Viareggio Internazionale) the following year. After his liberation he published his second collection in Milan under the title, Vi scrivo da un carcere in Grecia (I write you from a prison in Greece) with an introduction by Pasolini. He had previously published several collections in Greek, including The Paint (I Bogia).

Promise 

The teardrops which you will see 

flowing from our eyes 

you should never believe 

signs of despair. 

They are only promise 

promise for Fight. 

Promise, written in Military Prisons of Bogiati February 1972. - Poetry - Vi scrivo da un carcere in Grecia (I write you from a prison in Greece)

My Address 

A match as a pen 

Blood on the floor as ink 

The forgotten gauze cover as paper 

But what should I write? 

I might just manage my address 

This ink is strange; it clots 

I write you from a prison 

Written in Greece (Military Prisons of Bogiati, 5 June 1971 After beating) 

The Paint

I gave life to the walls

a voice I gave them

more friendly so that would become my company

and the guards asked

to know where they could find the paint

The walls of the cell

kept the secret

and the mercenaries searched everywhere

but paint they could not find

Because they did not think for one moment

that they should search into my veins

Vi scrivo da un carcere in Grecia, 1974

Source: http://www.network54.com/Forum/248068/thread/1272732399/1272732697/Alexandros+Panagoulis.+For+the+older+to+remember+and+the+young+ones+to+learn.

Mayday 1976

That Mayday is indelibly stamped by

the tragic event of the death of a

great freedom fighter the Alekos

Panagoulis.

Alexander Panagoulis remained in

history for an attempt, on August

13, 1968, to execute the dictator

Papadopoulos.
But the attempt failed and

Panagoulis was arrested and

sentenced to death twice.
The reactions, however, public

opinion both in Europe and around

the world ultimately prevented the

execution.

But the History does not have

reserved that honor for him,

namely, dying in front of the firing

squad of the tyrants such as he had

requested in his speech in the court

martial...

His murder presented as a car

crash...

So to remember him, and not to

celebrate MayDay as only Labor day

assertion, or the celebration of

flowers ...

It is a day tribute to the fighters

of this country...

 

Thucydides | Pericles' Funeral Oration: Democracy Then and Now

gerasa mosaic thucydides sIII altes museum2

Thucydides | Pericles' Funeral Oration: Democracy Then and Now

Pericles was a Greek leader during the Peloponnesian War. He was so important for Athens that his name defines the age -- Periclean, an age in which the Athenians had to rebuild what had been destroyed during their recent war with Persia. During the Peloponnesian War, while the people were kept in crowded conditions inside the walls of Athens, Pericles succumbed to and died from the plague.

Here, in a speech written by Thucydides, Pericles says that democracy allows men to advance because of merit instead of advancing because of wealth or inherited class.In a democracy, citizens behave lawfully while doing what they like without fear of prying eyes. In a democracy, there is equal justice for all in private disputes. This closely resembles the official attitude of those modern nations that favor democracy.

"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration favors the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty. But all this ease in our private relations does not make us lawless as citizens. Against this fear is our chief safeguard, teaching us to obey the magistrates and the laws, particularly such as regard the protection of the injured, whether they are actually on the statute book, or belong to that code which, although unwritten, yet cannot be broken without acknowledged disgrace.

 

 


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