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ΜΟΥΝΤΖΑ | by SpaceShoe [Learning to live with the crisis]
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This is a photo of a disabled student "giving the hand" (μούντζα - pronounced moon-tza) to the authorities at the city of Chania in Crete during the "Independence Celebration" that we have all over Greece on the 25th of March.


Μούντζα is a very popular gesture we use in Greece when we want to show our disapproval of someone's actions. Is signifies anger and disappointment and it is also meant to carry a curse for the person who is the receiver.


I quote from wikipedia:


"The origin of the gesture can be traced back to the ancient years, when it was used as a curse. It is said that even during the Eleusinian Mysteries, it complemented verbal curses against evil forces. It was then called faskeloma "φασκέλωμα" (the words faskeloma and faskelo, meaning moutza, are still used to this day).


In later years, the name changed to "moutza" when in the penal code of Byzantium, whereby a chained criminal was paraded around town sitting, facing backwards, on a donkey and with their face smeared with cinder to enhance their ridicule.


Cinder in medieval Greek was called moutzos (μούντζος). Because cinder was wiped on the person's face first by collecting it in the palm and then by extending open the fingers, the gesture itself became insulting, to be known as moutza, after the name of the material applied. The modern Greek word "moutzoura" or "mountzoura" (a smudge, scribble or dark stain) has the same origin."




The parade in Chania as in all over Greece took place under draconian police measures, where clashes were taking places while at the same time students were parading. In many cases, the parades stopped because of the clashes between police and citizens and when this did not happen, people were booing politicians and the authorities.


Students participating on the parades, at some cases were wearing black clothes (a signal of mourning when you lose a close family member), were not turning their head to the authorities thus not accepting them as such.


This did not come as a surprise to anyone with common sense. The situation in Greece every single day that passes becomes worse and worse. New taxes are introduced almost in a weekly basis, more cuts on social spending and huge unemployment, crime rates are going higher and higher. The social sphere is on the brink of collapse.


This specific photo of a student with disabilities "giving the hand" to the authorities went viral on social networks, news blogs and sites because it was seen as a heroic act of resistance, a victory on the symbolic level of David vs Goliath, from a young boy facing great difficulties due to his disability. Now, with even greater difficulties due to the measures taken from our government which include huge cuts on social welfare for the disabled.


It was also seen as an act of resistance where a boy who cannot walk has the mental and spiritual power to resist where the people of authority never resisted or protected the people who elected them, whom they were supposed to represent their interests, whom they betrayed.


According to a statement he made on Facebook, he didn't want to become a hero, he didn't want fame. He just wants a chance for him and for all the people with disabilities in Greece.


[photo was first published at the local newspaper "Αγώνας της Κρήτης"]

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Taken on March 27, 2012