On June 14, 2023 a small fishing boat with hundreds of refugees was sunk off the Greek shore of Pylos. About 700 migrants, mainly women and children, were drowned helpless. A great political crisis erupted internationally in the international mass media and even in the European Union on the direct responsibilities of the Greek State authorities.
On July 18, the Solidarity Network of Free Medical Services in Greece , supported by 5 other collectives of solidarity to migrants, rescuers, artists, lawyers etc. has organized a very successful public event demanding "Justice for Pylos'' , hosted in the garden of the Association of Greek Archaeologists at the center of Athens. Nearly a thousand people participated during the 5 hours event. The organizers of the event, the psychiatrist Katerina Matsa, the rescuer Iason Apostolopoulos, two lawyers from the Initiative of Lawyers for Truth and Justice for the Pylos tragedy took the floor as well as many artists and activists.
The great success of the event produced fear and anger to the right wing Mitsotakis government, which desperately wanted to cover up the truth about the Pylos tragedy and the real culprits. A State orchestrated witch hunt was launched. Two days after the event a slanderous article appeared in the pro-government daily newspaper TA NEA targeting particularly the two main speakers Katerina Matsa of the Solidarity Network of Free Medical Services, well-known psychiatrist and political activist as well the well known sea rescuer Iason Apostolopoulos who demolished all the phony narrative present by the Greek government and State authorities to cover up the truth about the causes of the shipwreck.The article called to the Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni demanding to act against the Association of the Greek Archaeologists that provided the space for this public event.
The Minister Mendoni immediately demanded in the most arrogant and aggressive manner answers by the elected leadership of the Association why it had permitted an event that criticized the government on the Pylos tragedy. Then Minister Mendoni on August 14 ordered the eviction of the Association from its own headquarters until October 10, two days after the coming local government elections.,
The headquarters of the Association of Greek Archaeologists were provided to it by the late great actress Melina Merkouri, then Minister of Culture, in 1982! Hundreds of cultural and political events were hosted in this space the last 40 years...
It is clearly a politically motivated government operation of censorship, to cover up the truth of this horrendous crime, which is not just a continuity of the tragedies of migrants and refugees trying to reach Fortress Europe but also a qualitative breakthrough. It is also an operation of State intimidation against all opposition voices and social dissent.
At the same time, Minister Mendoni and Prime Minister Mitsotakis himself need to get rid from the militant leadership of the Association of Greek Archaeologists and its current Chairperson Despina Koutsoumba .because for years they had fought back the disastrous neoliberal for profit policies of the right wing government destroying the cultural heritage of Greece
The leadership of the Association of the Greek Archaeologists took a courageous militant stand against the governments' witch hunt revealing all the scandalous agenda of the Minister of Culture. The Association calls for solidarity in action from all the popular organizations, the trade union movement , the intellectuals, artists. and all the fighters for freedom and social justice..in Greece, in Europe and internationally.
The struggle continues in Greece and internationally until victory!
Savvas Michael- Matsas, general secretary of the EEK of Greece"