Nikos Romanos: Better Dead than Educated?
On 6 December 2008 the Greek government armed the mind and hand of the policeman who murdered the 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, sending the message that the State will do anything to prevent the youth from questioning its policies. Alexandros’ friend, Nikos Romanos, watched him dying right in front of him.
In February 2013, at the age of 20, Nikos Romanos was arrested together with five other young men for a double robbery on a bank and a post office in Velvento, northern Greece.
Last May, he succeeded at the final exams he sat for inside the prison, under the procedure specified by the law. However, he is not granted the exit permits he is entitled to in order to attend classes at the faculty he was admitted to. Since the 9th of November, he has been claiming this right with hunger strike. On the 19th day of his hunger strike, his lawyer and doctor warned that “it is no longer his health that is in danger, but his life.” Since then, the prosecutor has ordered compulsory feeding, which the doctors refuse to perform.
Today N. Romanos’ appeal was rejected by court for the second time. As a result, he decided to continue the hunger strike.
A few days before the 6-year anniversary of Alexandros Grigoropoulos death, the same power-bloc is now targeting the life of his friend. Now the government no longer needs “executioners”. Execution is directly performed by the Ministry of Education, judiciary, president of Democracy. No guns and blood are needed. It is enough to just refuse someone their right to education while in prison, although they meet all legal requirements and have every legal right to it — also meaning to refuse them the only window to the world they can have. It is enough to just violate the law and ignore them even when they go on hunger strike. It is enough to just order compulsory feeding when death threatens their life — violating their personal freedom and medical ethics. It is not just about cruelty. It’s about a message sent out to various recipients:
To teachers, students, and education itself. There is no better feeling than the one that teachers share with their students when they manage to overcome the difficulties posed by a highly competitive exam system and succeed at the final exams. The satisfaction of N. Romanos and his teacher should have been enormous. But of course the government has different priorities: Only obedient students should win. Education is becoming a privilege for the few, while losing its value. Only business initiatives matter and only profit-making activities are labelled “creative”.
To the youth once again. Especially now that the “lazy sponges” have taken to the streets — as the Greek Prime Minister characterized the higher education students massively protesting against the government policies and authoritarianism. The right to education is not really a right. It is a privilege granted by the government, the ministries and their business and EU partners. Whenever the government wishes, it can write it off.
To everyone else. Freedom and laws, rights and justice are defined by the power-bloc. Whoever dares to stick their tongue out at this power-bloc should disappear from the sight of humans.
They want to spread fear and the feeling that nothing can be achieved without their permission. But why? Just a few people would have known anything about this whole matter if N. Romanos was granted his legal right to attend classes, like with all other detainees up to now. Because their fear is bigger. Because the cries and expectations of the living people who challenge their power are growing stronger. The squares may not be full of people but the sound of forthcoming events can be heard from the backstage of the crisis.
Source of the article (written in Greek by educator Giota Ioannidou and translated into English by ReINFORM): http://www.pandiera.gr/%CE%BD%CE%AF%CE%BA%CE%BF%CF%82-%CF%81%CF%89%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%BD%CF%8C%CF%82-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%BB%CF%8D%CF%84%CE%B5%CF%81%CE%B1-%CE%BD%CE%B5%CE%BA%CF%81%CF%8C%CF%82-%CF%80%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%AC-%CE%BC%CE%BF/
Source of the featured image: http://www.thepressproject.net/article/69869/Time-is-running-out-for-young-anarchist-on-hunger-strike