May 13, 2015
An OPEN LETTER to Prime Minister ALEXIS TSIPRAS
From friends of the Greek struggle for social justice and freedom
Dear Mr. Tsipras,
We are Greeks and Greek-Americans, Egyptians and Egyptian-Americans, residents of countries from around the Mediterranean and beyond who have watched with inspiration and admiration the efforts by Syriza and other political forces and social movements to free Greece from the diktats of Europe’s rulers, and to build a society run by and for working people.It is in that capacity that we write to you now. The photo of you shaking hands with Egypt’s dictator, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has sent shock waves among friends of Greece. We understand all too well that in today’s world diplomacy can be an ugly business. By the same token we are not so naïve as to imagine that a country under the financial boot of the troika can avoid trade deals and relations with rather unsavory forces and governments.
What concerns us, however, is the political message sent along with this photo, as it was taken to illustrate accounts of a meeting forging a joint Egyptian, Greek and Cypriot alliance in the “war on terror.”
Greeks who lived under past dictatorships, and Egyptians (and Iraqis and Syrians and Yemenis and Arab-Americans and so on), know all too well that this phrase is a cover for repression, torture, denial of civil liberties, bans on labor organizing, detention, and murder. That is the norm under al-Sisi’s regime today, and it is the sense in which he uses that phrase. Recently Egypt hosted a conference for foreign investors, the IMF and similar exploiters at Sharm el-Sheikh. Al-Sisi’s repression and murder have been motivated above all by a desire to prove to such forces that the country was safe for investment. Syriza, in contrast, has declared its intent to follow a diametrically-opposite path, i.e. to resist the demands of foreign capital for repression and cuts to safeguard their profits, and siding instead with the poor, the jobless, pensioners, etc.
The uprisings in Egypt and Greece galvanized the left, labor, women’s and other movements internationally, inspiring them to go into the streets themselves – including to defend Egypt and Greece against the counterrevolutionary backlash they have faced. In that same spirit Syriza itself has pointed to the urgent need to spread the Greek example throughout Europe in order to safeguard the struggle at home, noting for instance the hope that a Podemos victory in Spain would bring. This internationalist perspective is one we admire.
We pledge our continued solidarity with Greece, and promise to step up our support at this crucial moment when negotiations with the bankers and their states are at such a climactic point. We see this as part of our duty to allies worldwide - including our solidarity with the tens of thousands of imprisoned Egyptian political prisoners, with all those facing repression and violence for trying to continue that revolution in Egypt (and around the Middle East/North Africa) which has been so closely intertwined with Greek rebellion and steadfastness. As part of that continued solidarity we ask you, Mr. Tsipras, to count on your friends around the world, to extend the Greek example, and not to succumb instead to the totally understandable but misdirected pursuit of false friends in marble halls and steel barracks.
AKNY – Greece Solidarity Movement
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
MENA [Middle East North America] - Solidarity Network-US
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