Yanis Varoufakis, the founder of a cross-border, far-left political movement called DiEM25 and former Greek Finance Minister, was attacked by a small group of unknown people at a restaurant in Athens. DiEM25 has described the violent incident as a “brazen fascist attack.” The group of assailants reportedly stormed into the restaurant and falsely accused Varoufakis of signing off on Greece’s bailouts with the troika, which is the country’s bailout creditors. Varoufakis, who suffered injuries including a broken nose, has stood up to fascists before and has campaigned for a humanist vision for Europe.
The incident happened at a time when the whole of Greece is mourning the tragic loss of train crash victims last month. The country has been engulfed by demonstrations as Greeks have protested over the incident which has led to questions over the management of the rail system. The crash has highlighted deeper questions about the Greek state’s functioning and renewed anger against the political system. It may be of interests to add that the Exarchia district where the attack happened, is known to be a self-styled anarchist stronghold with a history of violence.
Varoufakis was Greece’s finance minister in the Syriza-led government of 2015, where he opposed austerity and mobilized a series of well-thought-through policies to get the country out of a financial crisis, and battle the so-called “troika” of the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. A few months later, he resigned from the government and went on to launch DiEM25, which is committed to ensuring that the principle of human rights and solidarity come before profits within the European Union. Varoufakis’s books, such as “Adults in the Room” and “The Global Minotaur,” have been best-sellers in many countries. Politicians across the political spectrum have condemned the attack on Varoufakis.
The Greek government has promised to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. Everyone is hoping that Varoufakis will make a quick recovery but the attack on this prominent political figure could spark fears within society that extremists are increasingly willing to use violence for political ends. Nevertheless, Varoufakis remains highly regarded internationally and is seen as an intellectual heavyweight that can offer solutions to the most complex of geopolitical problems.