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November 20, 2012
November 20, 2012

Interview with Chronis Missios

Translator: Maria Floutsakou
Source: TVXS  Category: Dialogues
This article is also available in: eles
Interview with Chronis Missios

“Society seems to have had a stroke”

“For the first time, I live in a society that seems to have had a stroke. It doesn’t react at all” stated Chronis Missios a year ago. The partisan, fighter of the Left and writer, died in a private infirmary in Athens after a long battle with cancer.

In the first part of the interview he stated, among other things: “we need to figure out what is the essence and the meaning of life! That is to say, it is not ok to simply try to survive instead of living!” and suggested “we should go to the mountains and recolonise Greece.”

“I never expected that I would relive a period of national submission.

When I was thirteen, I fought the Germans. Then, I fought the American imperialism, at a time when the American General came here and the Greek Prime Minister, the intellectual Kanellopoulos would tell him, “Behold your army!”, showing the Greek army. At a time when the US ambassador, the infamous Peurifoy, entered the office of the Prime Minister, put his feet on the desk and told him what to do and what not to do…

Well, aren’t we experiencing more or less the same, now? The Troika officials are coming. Aren’t they doing the same? Have we got a Government? Where is it?

I sometimes tell these kids that go to demonstrations and get beaten by the cops who gas them with chemical as if they were cockroaches, “Why do you go and die in the streets? Why don’t you go and occupy the fields of the Monastery of Vatopedi[1] and turn them into a farm? You are all educated people, you all have certain expertise, so go and occupy the royal estates of that twit[2] in Tatoi and create a farm. Everyone will be on your side! Who would say a word? You go and burn down some poor guy’s car, why is he to blame? ‘.

I mean, unfortunately, also for the first time, I live in a society that seems to have had a stroke! We do not react at all! Terrifying things are happening in this society and in the world around us, and we are still getting a grip of it! No reaction whatsoever! I am in favor of direct democracy, in favor of small communities, and the only thing I would say today, when our country is in crisis, would be: “go to the mountains, go back to your villages, return to the countryside! Recolonise Greece!”

We have a country which is a blessing from God, it produces everything! From herbs to food, we can produce everything. But we never had capable political leadership.

Building an ideology or a theory of society and calling people to implement it is very easy. But it is terribly difficult, even insurmountable, to overcome the obstacle of oneself and one’s culture that has been steeped into them since their birth and the bondages that are tied around them by the system.

That is why the path to liberation from brutality is a road through hell that each and every one of us must walk. A very difficult path.

But, there is no education, today. Make no mistake. There is training. Education and training are very different things. So today children are trained. What for? To find the money making-machine! To obtain a position in a profession.

The money-making machine! That’s the problem. As long as the dominant value system is profit, there is nothing more to say … that instills all human relations and permeates all social activities such as education and all things.
So I think that, if there is hope for a way out, only people and especially young people will form it.

As for one … inspirational leader and commander I also believe that in a community, the collective opinion is much safer and more powerful than any leader.

Another point on which I also disagree with any leader and any ideology, is that I believe in the spontaneity of people; in other words, within the revolution, a spontaneous movement must thrive and not a guided one. A movement born out of the conscience of people who know where they are going and know what they want. Otherwise, we risk going back to authoritarian forms, and even this moment that I’m talking to you, I exert power.

I have not voted and never will. Vote for what? To be mocked with my blessing? !I won’t! People say to me, but you know an invalid vote is better than no vote… Well, I don’t care! Mikis[3] also called me about the movement he created ​and I said, “well, Miki, first of all, it is crazy in my eighties to become once again a politician, when I know exactly what politics is all about. Secondly, I am more interested in the next day. For instance, if this time the government, this so-called government, was overthrown, what would the result be? Another same old government with the same setup, with the same things? I am on the other side! I do not like this system, I don’t like capitalism, neoliberalism, centralism; I do not like these things! I want small communities, autonomous, in human measures where we can live like human beings. I have a different logic, a different perception of how society is organised.

I now know what politics is about. It cannot be. First of all, in Greece we lack the basics. We don’t have an elementary political culture, because these assholes are unable to come in terms with each other. Our country is in danger, our country is sinking and these hagglers fight each other, you did this and you did that. They don’t have the bravery and honesty to sit at a table, let the pettiness aside and have a real discussion. Is it a coincidence? None of them ever committed suicide during these thirty years; None ever apologised, none ever resigned?

That’s why I’m saying it is a problem of conscience and not ideology; The problem is about behaviour, not ideology.

And, unfortunately, I think that we were the… last of the Mohicans. The system exerted physical violence on us, imprisoned us, tortured us, beat us in order to subdue us. For this generation, things are more difficult. They get lobotomised, the system continuously absorbs them into the engine of profit, without giving them space to envisage or imagine, it strips them from their critical thinking. Their Soul!

So do dare!!Dare!! Write down what you want, what you think. I wrote, and I wrote with my soul, and when they called me author for the first time I couldn’t believe it! “But seriously guys, an author?” I had no such intention, I was just telling stories to my friends in the garden and they kept telling me “Hey, Chronis why don’t you write them down?” And so I did.

Cause the experiences were essential. Get it? We lived. Our life had continuity, it was not this grey common life, but it was always about remaining human.

It was very important to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say, “Eh mate, we’re okay, let’s go”. I was a 17 year old kid sentenced to death, and I didn’t give a damn … Now, of course, I say “what for?”
[1] Here the author refers to a scandal that shook Greek society in 2008 and had to do with exchanges of land and real estate between the State and the Monastary of Vatopedi in Agios Oros that cost millions to the State.

[2] He referes to the ex-King, Constantine II

[3] Mikis Theodorakis is one of the most important modern Greek music composers, politically active ever since the dictatorial period and whose music has marked the modern history of Greece. His most important contribution is the setting to music of famous poetry (Seferis – Nobel-prize 1963, Neruda – Nobel-prize 1971, Elitis – Nobel-prize 1979); thanks to him, Greece might be the only country in the world in which the majority of people are used to listening to poetry of nobel-prize lauretes.

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