On 20 December 2017, Palestinian activists in Athens and the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network held an event marking the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian revolutionary left, including the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Organized around the theme, “Towards a Palestinian Resistance Movement in the Diaspora,” the event focused on the role of Palestinian communities in exile as well as the longtime solidarity between Palestinian and Greek struggles.
The event began with a welcome to the Palestinians, Syrians and other Arab communities attending the event, saluting their struggles and suffering that has accompanied life in Athens as refugees. The event also honored longtime Greek anti-fascist struggler Manolis Glezos, as two Palestinian youth presented him with a kuffiyeh and a map of Palestine. A lifelong struggler, Glezos became a symbol of the Greek resistance to Nazi occupation when he climbed on the Acropolis with a comrade and tore down the swastika flag. He was sentenced to death in absentia – as the Nazis did not yet know his identity – and was arrested and tortured on multiple occasions for his role in the resistance. After the end of World War II, he was arrested and tried multiple times by right-wing Greek government and the later dictatorship. He spent over 11 years in prison and four and a half years in exile.
Glezos addressed the event, speaking about his own history with Palestine solidarity and today’s situation, with Trump recognizing al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. Glezos noted that Trump does not represent the people of the United States but himself and the ruling class, emphasizing that he has no right to decide to whom al-Quds belongs and that it is the rightful capital of the Palestinian people. Glezos said that in his analysis, the Palestinian leadership has made major mistakes over the years, first and foremost the recognition of the Israeli state and secondly the decision to stop the Palestinian armed struggle outside Palestine. He concluded by emphasizing continuous and ongoing solidarity with the Palestinian people until the total liberation of Palestine.
Mohammed Khatib, the European coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, spoke, saluting the Palestinian people and all of the refugees who crossed the Mediterranean sea. He saluted all of the initiatives that struggle for their rights and all of the Greek organizations supporting this event and the Palestinian people.
“We have organized this event under the slogan, ‘Towards a Palestinian Resistance Movement in Diaspora’ because half of the Palestinian people are refugees around the world, including now in the West. Our enemies are not only in Tel Aviv and occupied Haifa; the soldiers and settlers who are killing our people in the West Bank and besieging our people in Gaza and arresting our children are not coming from the sky. They are coming from and supported by Brussels, Paris and Berlin, and this is why we must struggle everywhere,” Khatib said.
“We must struggle here to defend our rights and support our people in occupied Palestine, not merely in solidarity but as an integral part of the Palestinian resistance movement,” he said, denouncing “the corrupt Palestinian official leadership that cooperates with the Arab reactionary regimes like Saudi Arabia and the imperialist powers to dismiss our right to return and our very existence as Palestinians in diaspora.” He saluted the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, noting that they are the leadership of the struggle and true freedom fighters for the Palestinian cause.
He also spoke about 50 years of the PFLP, referring to this history as “50 years of struggle, suffering and imprisonment; 50 years of doing right and of mistakes; 50 years of learning, studying and producing the culture of resistance. The Front has always stood behind our people, struggling for over 100 years – always with them on the front lines, together in the struggle, and its role is to keep struggling until the liberation of all of Palestine.”
The event included dabkeh and cultural performances by Palestinian youth in Athens, in a room at the Polytechnic festooned with banners and posters in support of Palestine. The event also featured a letter from political prisoners in Greek jails saluting the event and the Palestinian struggle:
“The Palestinian people that in the last decades is under the imperialists’ grip, and before that the colonists’ grip as well, have proved that they know how to resist firmly and tirelessly….with their thirst for freedom but also the memory of the thousands of Palestinians whose blood has been spilled in the struggle. The blood of fighters of the resistance, blood of demonstrators, blood of civilians, blood of women and children. The Palestinian people’s struggle is a struggle for the obvious – a struggle for independence and self-determination….From the prisons of the Greek bourgeois democracy, we raise our fists as a signal of solidarity to the Front’s fighters. Our position of solidarity to the struggle conducted by the PFLP is actually the expression of our solidarity to the Palestinian people itself. After the announcement of the USA that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Netanyahu’s veto which posed this as a condition for any peace making process, the intensification of Intifada is a fact. The Greek government, as a member of the imperialist coalition between the EU, the NATO and recently the peripheral block of Greece-Cyprus-Israel-Egypt that forwards the geostrategical interests of the bourgeoisie, has the Middle East peoples’ blood in its hands. ” The letter was signed by Dimitris Koufontinas, Kostas Gournas, Kostas Sakkas, Marios Seisidis, Panagiotis Aspiotis and Gregoris Sarafoudis.