The forays into public buildings as isolated incidents may not shock, but it is useful to look at the overall picture in ministers’ offices – first the labour minister’s and then repeatedly the education minister’s – which have been violently occupied.

At universities, academic asylum is viewed as a hiding place and not as a guarantee of the free exchange of ideas. At hospitals, cots and shortages of supplies test the endurance of patients and their families. Policemen, when they are not forced to present their IDs to various anarchists, are beaten mercilessly.

The problem is not just that such a situation is not befitting a European country. It is that Greek citizens deserve a better state. They do not deserve a state that is at the mercy of violence, and that does not react. It does not deserve a state that allows a sense of insecurity to prevail on the street, fear at universities, and abandonment in the health system.

It is as if this government, due to its ideological fixations, disregards the fact that universities exist to transmit knowledge, hospitals to offer health services, and the police to protect society from violence and lawlessness, and not to fall victims to violence itself.

The government tolerates violence even in the offices of ministers and courtrooms, because it believes it is thus ensuring tolerance toward itself. Of course, it is labouring under an illusion, but society cannot continually pay for the illusions of a government.



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