HIV Witch Hunt: The Lowest Point Of The Crisis
Author: M. G.
Tuesday 10th of December 2013 02:55:41 PM

In May 2012 around 90 women were rounded up in a police sweep in central Athens a few days before the Greek parliament elections. They were tested for HIV and those who came up positive were charged for intentionally causing grievous bodily harm. The media started reporting the news and also publishing personal details of the sex workers. At the same time, new figures about HIV in Greece were released, showing a 57% increase in new infections.

This was a strategy with the aim of creating scapegoats right before the elections and consequently addressing people's anger towards something not related to economics or politics. I really would like to look at the faces of those who planned the whole thing just because I'd love to see what the face of an idiot looks like.

This campaign of hatred lasted only for a few days. Some commentators and journalists - accomplices in the plot - started calling the sex workers ‘HIV-infected prostitutes' or ‘AIDS prostitutes who spread death', but the general media soon lost interest in the story and the sex workers were gradually released, or had the charges against them reduced.

The Greek political end economical situation is critical but Greeks are not as stupid as most of the politicians think, they had understood what really happened and didn't forget nor forgive the authors of this ugly play. The HIV witch hunt continued to be a subject of debate on the Internet, where people expressed their real opinions and their "disgust for the state and police arbitrariness".

Ruins: Chronicle of an HIV witch hunt' is a documentary by Greek film-maker Zoe Mavroudi about what happened during those days in 2012. "I sensed that the incident had become one of the most recognisable low points of the crisis," Mavroudi said to the New Statesman, "I wanted to create a chronicle, a kind of reference point that would help people to understand and not forget."

Greece is being annihilated by the crises and women are paying a higher price: "Greece is a very traditional society and when you have the dismantling of social services [...] the burden falls on women even more than usual"

The hope of Mavroudi - and also our hope - is that Greek women are now better prepared to attacks based on gender discrimination. The instability of the country keeps the risk of discriminatory acts higher than ever and the same could happen with gay people, immigrants or anyone belonging to a ‘different' group.

Respect for all Greek women, for those that are working to improve women's rights as well as for those are fighting every day in taking care of their family, looking for a job, or just trying to live the life they deserve to live.


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