This is a free rendering in English of the last words transmitted from the ERA* (Greek public radio organization) in the 8 minutes before the police shut it down this morning.
LAST 8 MINUTES of ERA. Thursday 7/11/13.
Radio presenter: journalist Nikos Tsibidas
[presenter] Police forces just entered the studio of ERA, you can hear the walkie-talkies, I guess the sound comes through, the time is 5.32 am here in the ERA studio, at the ERT* headquarters here in Agia Paraskevi*, from here is transmitted the signl that you listen all over Greece, this radio show carries on under the gaze of the of the police officers in this final hour [background sound of walkie-talkies] and the consoles- the extremely expensive equipment in this building-
Yes, these things over there belong to me, the rucksack and the sleeping bag [answering to police officers], the microphone is on guys, whoever wishes to do so can speak.
[presenter carries on the show]There is also an undercover policeman with civilian clothing who is recording us with the use of a video camera, this must be some new kind of mores, so now it will be me and two riot squads who are standing just outside the studio waiting to arrest us. Good evening, Greece 2013, 21st century. Welcome 1930, welcome the Middle Ages.
I hope somebody records all this, I mean it. I hope one of you is recording all this, friends, brothers, comrades, I hope you will have recorded all this and at some point will send it to us so we can listen to it, so we can listen to the sound of the walkie-talkies -carried by the police officers who raided the ERT studio- on the radio.
Now you cannot hear them because the external door was shut, but just outside the studio remain two riot squads. We’re gonna see very soon what is to happen, the time is near. If you want to text us you can do so by sending it to the number 54160.
We would like to thank all those who text us, from the island of Leros, from the island of Zante, from Sayada -oh yes I know Sayada, near the borders with Albania-, from the village of Perni in the Nestos region.
The listeners urge us to play the song “the enemy entered the town”*, I’m sorry to say that we are very limited as to what we can do right now, I thank the colleague Ilias Maravas from Mytilene, we thank you all, believe me, being on air with two riot squads on watch is staggering, no, they are not on watch, actually they have surrounded the sound engineer’s booth –the colleague is not at his desk at the moment- and the live transmission booth where I am right now. Plain-clothes policemen are recording us on camera.
And if you are wondering how legal/legitimate all this is, do not look for legality/legitimacy, even the words now have lost their meaning and their sense. [Sighs] Our thanks to those who are texting us from Amaliada, Ithaca, Orestiada, to the colleague from the ERT ensembles, you should do a music protest rally tomorrow [says with a laugh], I will dare say that it’s crucial not only that you all rally here in Agia Paraskevi now, tomorrow a big rally has to be organized in the centre of Athens, a very big one, or in Agia Paraskevi. Maybe it’s better to do it here in Agia Paraskevi.
At this time I do not want to take on me the responsibility to call for a rally somewhere, when I do not even know where we will be taken those of us who are here at the moment, but it is very easy to organize it through the social media, and if the colleagues from ErtOpen and from ErtSocial are listening let them take the initiative to make the necessary arrangements, jointly with those of our colleagues, our labor union representatives that are not in the building right now, and let’s have a call for a rally tomorrow- in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening- at a place that they deem appropriate, either in Agia Paraskevi or in the centre of Athens, and let’s have a massive demonstration, not only for ERT, not only for our jobs, but for democracy itself, for the situation towards which we are led, for this blatant repression, for this retrogression to decades back, for all that we should have defended and failed to.
And now is not the time to sit and discuss why we failed to defend what had to be defended, but it is the time, once again, to take on the defence- for our dignity and our honor, to stand side by side, to hold the hand of the anonymous person next to us, and stand up beside them, because we’ve met each other before on the same path, because we fought the same struggle together.
For all these reasons tomorrow we should have a big rally, but we also ask you to come now to Agia Paraskevi, to come to the ERT headquarters. We ask you to remember that when we go off air, what you hear from then on from these frequencies will not be your voice, it will not be the voice of ERA, it will not be the voice of ERT. The people addressing you will not be the ERT workers who kept fighting, they will not be the ERT workers who kept fighting, they will not be the ERT workers who kept fighting. Yes, they are forcing us out of the building; right now I hear that there is an order for me to stop talking-
[policeman] …he should stop the radio show and…
[policeman n.2] can you leave the studio?
[presenter] yes. It this the order that was given to you?
[policeman n.2] yes of course
[presenter] shouldn’t I take my possessions, my personal things?
[presenter]This is the point where ERA closes down dear listeners, the voice of the ERA is silenced, good luck with what comes next, we’ll be in touch, we’ll meet again, these microphones are now being switched off. Psyhi Vathia”*.
ERA: “Greek Radio”, the public service radio organisation in Greece
ERT: “Greek Radio and TV”, the umbrella organization for the public service broadcaster (radio and TV) in Greece
Agia Paraskevi: suburb of Athens were the ERT headquarters are located
“The enemy entered the town”: a greek song written in 1972 during the military dictatorship of the time. It was composed by Giannis Markopoulos, written by Giorgos Skourtis and sang by Nikos Ksylouris and Maria Dimitriadi. Ksylouris’ epic voice became a symbol of resistance during the dictatorship. The song on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHPcu-VeQmQ
Psyhi Vathia: it was a greek expression used by members of the Greek Resistance movement against the German occupiers during the Second World War. Literally it means “deep soul” and it was meant as an encouragement in the face of the hard and uneven battle they had to fight.