A Pacifist’s Life and Death
The shadow of a man standing on the back of a three-wheel pickup truck and smashing with a club the head of another man without the police even pretending to chase the killers was to haunt Greeks for many years. With hindsight, it seemed uncannily like a foretaste of what awaited Greece when the Junta stepped in on April 1967, and put a brutal end to all its democratic illusions. Using written and oral evidence, this book weaves a narrative of the life and death of Grigorios Lambrakis: athletic champion, doctor, politician and Greece’s most committed defender of democracy and peace of the post-Civil War period. It surveys the destiny of a people at key historical junctures, probes their abiding political divisions, the obstacles in asserting peace in the shadow of Civil and Cold War, and traces the origins of the deep state and paramilitarism. It shows how, as the all-consuming fear of Communism intensified, these phenomena were able to entrench themselves, gain ever more autonomy, and eventually preside over the murder of a member of parliament. In addition, the book places under the microscope what Mikis Theodorakis once called ‘the Middle Ages of Karamanlis’, namely a regime whose baleful contradictions became fertile ground for total anomie: a situation devastatingly laid bare to the world by this murder and the investigation that followed.