Samidoun mourns Manolis Glezos, lifelong struggler and symbol of Greek resistance to fascism

Manolis Glezos speaks in Athens on 20 December 2017, with Mohammed Khatib, Samidoun’s Europe coordinator

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the passing of Manolis Glezos, 97, a lifelong champion of liberation, a legendary anti-Nazi resistance fighter and a dedicated friend of a free Palestine. We remember his commitment to continue to resist all forms of exploitation and oppression, from the European Union’s plundering of the resources of the Greek people to the Israeli apartheid regime in occupied Palestine. His example of revolutionary commitment to people’s liberation will continue to stand as an inspiration and an example to all who struggle for radical change and a different, better world.

Glezos became a symbol of the Greek resistance to Nazi occupation and invasion when he climbed the Acropolis with his comrade Apostolis Santas, tore down the swastika flag. He was arrested and tortured repeatedly for his involvement in the resistance, and he was sentenced to death in absentia while the Nazis did not know his identity. After he returned to Greece following its liberation from Nazi occupation, Glezos returned to Greece, where he continued to fight against the right-wing government and later the dictatorship. For his work as a journalist and his activism, he faced multiple arrests and imprisonments, including three death sentences, until his final acquittal in the general amnesty of 1971. He was convicted 28 times for his political activity and served 11 years in prison. He was forced into exile for 4.5 years during the Greek military junta.

He worked as editor-in-chief of the newspaper Rizopastis and later, directed the newspaper Avgi. After the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, he served as president of the United Democratic Left (ECHR), a member of parliament for the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and then a member of European Parliament with SYRIZA, from 2014 to 2015. He left SYRIZA after its acquiescence to the demands of the European “troika” of capital, resigning from his position to assert the rights of the Greek people.

Throughout his life, he was committed to a vision of liberation that was fully inclusive of the Palestinian people. He participated in protests inside the European Parliament to stand with the Palestinian people under Israeli attack in Gaza and called for freedom for Khalida Jarrar and other Palestinian political prisoners. In 2002, Israeli occupation forces blocked him and his colleagues from marching to Ramallah under siege.

On 20 December 2017, at an event organized by Samidoun in Athens marking 50 years of struggle of the Palestinian revolutionary left, two Palestinian youth presented him with a kuffiyeh and a map of Palestine to honor his lifelong commitment to liberation and his many years of struggle. 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.