Geladopoulos, Philippos. 1994. Makrónisos: He Megale Sfage, 29 Flevare–1 Marte 1948 (Makrónisos: The Great Massacre, February 29–March 1 1948). Athens: Ekdoseis Alpheios.
Panos Terzopoulos has written about the massacre on Makrónisos when, from February 28 through March 1, 1948, the military police, demanding dēlôseis from the unrepentant soldiers of the First Battalion, raided their tents. Thirty hours or so later, more than two hundred soldiers were dead, but Terzopoulos survived without signing. Perhaps not unexpectedly, it was the prison priest who exposed this fissure: “My child, through torture the human reaches purification,” he would say after the AM had tortured the soldiers (Terzopoulos, in Geladopoulos 1994: 52).
In the words of Bruce Lincoln, “there are more ways than one to sacrifice a human being, and it is not those victims alone who are actually led to the altar who deserve our respect and compassion” (1991: 175). As he further points out, under any circumstances where the specter of sacrifice is raised (metaphorical, linguistic, allegorical, or actual, with the head on the butcher block, so to speak) “far greater sacrifices are required from some members of society than from others, while those who offer the most often reap the leanest rewards” (ibid.). Sacrifice presupposes the presence of a sacrificial victim, one that will be sanctified to the point of becoming untouchable. A pre-Christian Homo sacer, an impossibility.
Polymeris Voglis (2000) has argued what might appear to be the exact opposite of my position, namely, that Leftists saw the executions imposed by the emergency court-martials of the civil war as a sacrifice that gave meaning to death. Voglis has looked at the correspondence of Leftists on death row between 1945 and 1950. In these letters, the pain of death is mitigated by the conviction that the condemned have not “done anything wrong to anybody.” The writers ask their families and loved-ones not to mourn but to remember them and to be proud of them (85). What Voglis reads as sacrifice, though, is what he has correctly identified as self-negation. Self-negation, in this instance, means that the Leftists who were executed chose death—hence the negation of life by their own authority, therefore the negation of the self—over submitting to the humiliation of having their lives evacuated of meaning by signing a dêlosē metanoias. No matter how the Leftists saw their position toward death, however, the state did not acknowledge those deaths as sacrifice. It kept that concept as a prerogative for itself.
Voglis, Polymeris. 2000. “Between Negation and Self-Negation: Political Prisoners in Greece, 1945–1950” In When the War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece, 1943–1960, ed. Marc Mazower, 73-91. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
The sacrifice of Christ rendered any other homo sacer an impossibility, because the sacrifice of Christ colonized the signifying space of sacrifice while making a pre-Christ time impossible, given that time is counted anew with the moment of the sacrifice of Christ.