I have been following the Athens Review of Books since its first issues. Each time I read it, I find it hard to believe that a publication of such quality circulates every month in the small Greek market. The Greek counterpart of the New York Review of Books has earned a special place in Greek letters and a strong presence in the field of ideas, not only in our country but internationally as well. Now, on the threshold of 10 years in circulation and with its 100th issue forthcoming, not only has it achieved international prestige, but a pan-European negative distinction as well: it is in danger of closure because the recently dismissed Foreign Minister has made it his purpose to destroy it.
On the pretext of a reader’s letter that characterized him as a fanatic Stalinist, Mr. Kotzias dragged the magazine to court and asked for 250,000 euros as "compensation". As Foreign Minister, over the course of 3½ years he illicitly exerted the power of the state for his private legal dispute in order to destroy the magazine, employing as his lawyers I.K. Mantzouranis and F. Kranidiotis. Just recently, however, the magazine’s persecutor publicly confessed that he "served Stalinism", although in his lawsuit he considered this to be... libelous.
A magazine such as the Athens Review of Books, a privileged member of the Republic of Letters, should be supported by the state, not terrorized and persecuted with a shameless use of the apparatus of the state. New Democracy and I personally believe that without freedom of speech and the press there is no democracy. We will defend the freedom of the press and especially a magazine that honors Greek letters. We have already brought the matter to the European Parliament. And, if necessary, we will bring it before the House again. The persecution of The Athens Review of Books is a shame for the Hellenic Republic. It must end, here and now. If it continues, the government will be held responsible.
To the Athens Review of Books, I wish continued success, and may it always raise the bar of quality even higher and reach a thousand issues!
Statement by “To Potami” Leader, Mr. Stavros Theodorakis on the 100th issue of The Athens Review of Books
We should stop the absurd and vengeful violence
After 100 issues of The Athens Review of Books, we can now assuredly speak about a liberal publishing phenomenon that contributes greatly to critical thinking, knowledge and dialogue. It has not compromised on quality, it has brought together significant Greeks and many prominent foreign intellectuals and this is all good, especially when one takes into consideration that our homeland is overrun at times by demagogues and conservative, even fanciful, theories.
Who can ignore so many original and top-quality tributes to Greek and foreign authors and thinkers? A combative voice about the country’s European orientation, unwavering in the fight for freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the rule of law, i.e. the core of liberal democracy.
From the outset, “To Potami” has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the judicial persecution of The Athens Review of Books by government officials.
We must stop this irrational and retributive behavior which aims to muzzle an independent "annoying" voice. The government coalition of SYRIZANEL bears great responsibility for encouraging and reinforcing this type of persecution by various means. To Potami’s Member of the European Parliament Miltos Kyrkos, has recently brought the matter to the European Parliament. Thus, we shall persist. For a speedy release from the hostage situation. So as to hold hundreds more issues of The Athens Review of Books in our hands.
After all, the first one hundred were difficult!
The persecution of the Athens Review of Books at the European Parliament (link)