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  • Beloyannis: The Man with the Carnation


    This is the first article of the series "Revolutionary Figures of the Left". If you are interested in writing contact @Freien or @Mattopilos II. We are expecting your support and help.


    This is not a surprise. I decided to write about the man in my avatar's picture on Discord, Nikos Beloyannis. Beloyannis was a Greek communist, who lived from 1915 until his execution at 1952. His execution was a result of a trial, commonly referred today as "the trial of Beloyannis". But let's start from the beginning.

    Beloyannis was born at a somewhat rich family in Amaliada, Greece. His father was an owner of a hotel. From a young age, Nikos became a member of the Greek Communist Party (KKE). At that time KKE was outlawed and any involvement on it could result in imprisonement. Greece was ruled by Metaxas, a far-right leader who admired the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy. The Greek goverment used the motto: Πατρίς, Θρησκεία, Οικογένεια (Fatherland, Religion and Family) and based its policies on it. Beloyannis was a very good student and managed to enter the Law School of Athens, the best studies you could get at Greece at the time, by excelling at the exams. But before he could graduate, he was imprisoned. 

    In 1940 the war started. Beloyannis and other 600 communists that were imprisoned with him, asked for permission to fight against the Italian fascists. The goverment denied. After he managed to escape, he joined ELAS, the partisan army that organised the resistance against the Axis forces that occupied Greece at that time. Captain of ELAS was Aris Velouchiotis, with whom Beloyannis became acquainted at the spring of 1944. The Allies won the 2nd World War. A bright day was about to begin. Not for Greece, though. 

    A bloody battle (the "Dekemvriana") erupted after Greek government gendarmes, with British forces standing in the background, opened fire on a massive unarmed pro-communist rally, killing 28 demonstrators and injuring dozens. The rally had been organised against the impunity of the collaborators and the general disarmament ultimatum, signed by the British commander in Greece, which had excluded the right-wing forces. The Greek Civil War started at 1946. The belligerents were: a. the Greek goverment, UK and US and b. the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) with some support (mostly logistical and providing guns) from Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania. After the defeat of DSE on September 1949, Beloyannis and thousands of armed comrades went to the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe. An anti-democratic, anti-communist and completely depended on US and Britain regime was installed in Greece.

    In 1950, Nikos Beloyannis was elected as a member of the Central Committee of the- then exiled- Communist Party of Greece (KKE). In June 1950 Beloyannis arrived in Greece secretely, using false documents and passport. With the aid of the CIA (which else?), the Greek authorities arrested Beloyannis on December 1950. After Nikos and 92 passed from a trial, he was sentenced to death. However, because of the widespread international condemnation of this decision, the Prime Minister of Greece was forced to change the court's ruling.

    In the February of 1952 the trial is repeated. This time he is accused of treason. Beloyannis, 37 at the time, attends the whole procedure with a carnation in his hands. This second trial manages to captivate the interest of the citizens of the whole world. The Greek goverment receives around 250.000 telegrams from people asking the realese of Beloyannis. Charles de Gaulle, 159 British PMs, Jean Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Paul Eluard, Jean Cocteau and Nazim Himket are only some of the them. A leading figure of the Communist Party (KKE), Ploumpidis send a letter to the Greek Ministry of Interior, with which he takes the responsibility for the organization of the party in Greece and asks to be exchanged with Beloyannis. The goverment denies. People are protesting in Europe supporting Nikos.

    Σχετική εικόνα  March in Hungary.    Σχετική εικόνα March in Vienna.

    But all of these were not enough to change the mind of the goverment. The parody trial ends on the first of March. Beloyannis and 3 other communists are sentenced to death. On the midnight of March 30th, Nikos Beloyannis was executed by the Greek authorities.

    Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για picasso the man with the carnation Beloyannis at court holding a carnation.

    YBfrbL9jfancc1sdFESM1D49TJAph072IUYshWrrBL29cN0esAGEIu_s3Utty8-Qk1mqj-o=s126  The execution. 

    Excerpts from Beloyannis' two apologies:

    "We believe in the most correct theory which has been conceived by the most progressive minds of humanity. And our effort, our struggle, is that this theory becomes a reality in Greece and the entire world"

    "If I had renounced the KKE (The Greek Communist Party) most likely I would have been declared innocent with great honours... But my life is connected with the history of the KKE and its activity... Dozens of times I faced the following dilemma: “to live and betray my beliefs, my ideology or to die and remain faithful to them. I have always chosen the second and today I am doing this again”"

    A dialogue between Beloyannis and Angelopoulos, one of his most important accussers:

    BELOYANNIS: Do you claim that I came here to implement the decisions of the plenary sessions of the CC of KKE?
    Angelopoulos: Yes I do.
    BELOYANNIS: These decisions state that the basis of the activity of the KKE is the struggle for bread, democratic freedoms, peace. Is this not the case?
    Angelopoulos: It is indeed.
    BELOYANNIS: Consequently, the struggle for bread, democratic freedoms and peace is a conspiracy against Greece, isn’t it?
    Angelopoulos: No.
    BELOYANNIS: Thank you. This was all I wanted to clarify.

      Σχετική εικόνα  Picasso's portrait of Beloyannis.

    A part from a poem, "Man with the Carnation," by Yannis Ritsos, a Greek communist poet who won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1977:

    Beloyannis instructs us one more time,how to live and how to die.

    With just one carnation he unlocked all of immortality.

    With just one smile he brightened the world so darkness can never fall.

    Good morning comrades 

    Good morning sun

    Good morning Beloyannis

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    Glad you liked it! It is always a pleasure writing, especially when it is an article about an important leftist, such as Beloyannis. 

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    I agree, excellent report. I should think of writing one myself if I get some spare time. Maybe this weekend. Not sure who to write about though...

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