Andrews, Kevin. 1980. Greece in the Dark Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert.
Chapter 7. 1967–1974: Dictatorship
A mistake! One word for the terrible reality of the present. And not for the present moment only, but of all the betrayals leading up to it over the last half-century, all the years the poet was writing: from the reckless venture of the Turkish War , with the Greek troops encouraged by the British and French until the destruction of the whole Greek world of Asia Minor , and up to World War II and the bloodbath and the famine of the German Occupation; and the tremendous achievements of the resistance rewarded only with the re-establishment of British colonialism and a police state, with a civil war where tens of thousands on both sides perished, and a new American military machine with its secret services the only winner (the foretaste of Vietnam), and now finally the nightmare insult of a dictatorship just when the Civil War was beginning to be forgotten, and another generation had grown up without a memory of it. Mistake, mistake!—and our lives have changed. (Andrews 1980: 55; at the end, Andrews cites George Seferis, “Arnese” [“Denial”])
Kevin Andrews correctly outlines the damage that the junta did in assessing that the junta managed to produce yet another generation, the generation born in the years 1955 to 1960, that has as its point of reference the civil war. And Andrews gives yet another view of Yiannis Philis's enoteta, this cogent unit that articulates itself on the spine of the asphalites and that forms the Greek experience of history.
Although, as dictatorships go, the Greek one was not particularly brutal, never achieved the levels of terror that Pinochet's did in Chile or Franco's in Spain, and certainly did not last as long as other dictatorships, just a scant seven years, this could not have been known to the people who faced the gun barrels of the military in the first few days of the junta.
“We were never afraid for our lives during the junta,” I was told by Hara, a woman who was picked up in 1969 by the junta at age twenty for belonging to one of the underground Leftist resistance organizations; “it never gave us the impression that our lives were in jeopardy.”
“Despite the torture?” I asked.
“Despite the torture,” she responded.
I asked the same thing of an older friend, who had been exiled on Makrónisos, then on Ai-Stratis, then released and right before the junta fled to Paris. Since the end of the junta, he has held a number of positions in the public sector, and he is a revered poet, hence not an abject subject of the polity any longer. He looked puzzled as he said, “I am not sure what she means. I am still afraid; every time I go out of the house and see a policeman, I always check myself and walk quickly past him.”
The junta proceeded in the midst of a rapidly growing youth movement, a movement that pushed the boundaries of the notion of generations. Once again the meaning of age and generation loomed, condensed amid an angry sexual revolution that came to index political involvement, in dancing parties, miniskirts, and long hair. Tasos Darveris, one of the students arrested by the Special Security for belonging to an antijunta organization, notes a comment made by one of the Special Security officers who was interrogating him at the Special Security Headquarters in Thessaloniki: “In previous times, the EPONitēs [a male member of EPON] would sleep right next to the EPONitissa [a female member of EPON], and he wouldn't dare think that he could touch her. Now, in 1972, if there is no fucking the organization is not moving forward” (2002: 155). The movement of resistance to the junta, although not massive, was sizable, despite the fact that it rarely resorted to armed violence and despite the fact that the only assassination that was ever attempted, twice, was that of Papadopoulos by Alekos Panagoulis (who, being a conscripted soldier, was tried by military tribunal, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and spent the rest of the junta in prison, under torture, three of those years in solitary confinement).