Athens, October 3, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Greek prime – minister Alexis Tsipras delivered an emotionally charged speech, during the official ceremony for the hand – over of the historical Kesariani Shooting Range (“Skopeftirio”), to the residents of the municipality of Kesariani in Athens, Greece, last night.
“Today was an emotionally charged day. We are here to hand over the Shooting Range of Kesariani, where some sacrificed their lives for our freedom, to the local residents,” Tsipras stated. The event was organised by the Panhellenic Association of National Resistance Fighters (EAM), for the official handing over of the Kesariani Shooting Range to the municipality of Kesariani and its residents.
“The Greek Republic honours and recognises those who gave it substance,” the prime-minister stressed that “the final condemnation of fascism occurs in our own consciousness.” “It is our duty, in honour of those people who had the courage to look history in the eye, to continue in their footsteps”.
“It is a great honour for me to be here as prime minister and I urge the representatives of the local authorities to receive the Official Government Gazette (OGG) with which I deliver the Kesariani Shooting Range to the municipality and its people”, said the Prime Minister adding that “with this action the Greek Republic sends a message that it recognizes and honours those from whom it has been honoured. It recognises and honours those who made it what it is with their blood and their lives.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that handing over the Shooting Range to the municipality constitutes a positive step in the inhabitants’ quality of life; something which took place in similar moves by the Greek government in the areas of Ag. Dimitrios and Keratsini.
Mr. Tsipras referred to the decade long struggles of the Kesariani mayors for the Shooting Range and added that their struggle has finally paid off after a majority vote in Parliament.
The Greek prime minister also mentioned the 200 executed in Kesariani on the 1st of May 1944, stating that they were initially communist prisoners of the Metaxa dictatorship which then delivered them into the hands of the Nazi occupiers. He added that anyone who tries to compare communism with fascism is seeking to justify fascism.
“The sacrifice of the 1st of May 1944 illuminates the history of the left and the communist movement, but it doesn’t belong there only, it belongs to the National Resistance, it belongs to every antifascist, it makes us proud as Greeks, it belongs to every Greek who gave his life in the struggle against fascism,” the prime minister said.
Mr. Tsipras noted that German and Italian fascists were also executed in Kesariani, highlighting the importance of this memory, especially in the Europe of today.
“We need to highlight the attitude of the overwhelming majority of our people towards refugees,” he said, adding that however much some of us want to forget history, history cannot be written off, and the same applies to those who draw swastikas, the symbols of fascism.
“Our country will not bear the fruits of fascist ideology again”, he said. The Prime Minister also mentioned, the “Lost Spring” of Greek writer Stratis Tsirkas, saying that, we are all fighting for that lost spring, and we will not back down.
Minor incidents occurred shortly before 7 pm when about 120 people from the political organisations of LAE and ANTARSYA tried to enter the venue and protest against government policy.