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by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-12-30 11:44:55
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For sometime here in Ovi we followed the trend of choosing the persona or the event of the year. I have the feeling that it became a meaningless trend especially after the point were most of the magazines and newspapers starting depending their choices on how many times this persona made headlines or covers the year that passed in their own publication.

And to make things worst, from the minute most of these personas who did headlines and covers were meaningless celebrities everybody started escaping in legends of the past and Barack Obama.

This year ended with a great loss. Nelson Mandela is dead and we are all familiar with the man’s legacy. Even some of his quotes have already become part of human intellectuality but would you ever call Nelson Mandela the person of 2013 when his only act for the year was that he died?

But let’s get to the alive ones. Angela Merkel made a lot of covers. She gave a new meaning to the word economic colonization. Where the tanks failed in 1940s Angela seems to succeed in 2010s. In two years she created a Europe with Germany in the core, a few lackeys in the north and a lot of colonies in the south. She murdered every idea of solidarity and union. Her dogma “my way or the highway” became Europe’s internal and foreign policy.

But in her case it isn’t she, is it? It is the Deutsche bank, it is JPMorgan Chase, it’s Citigroup and a few more. Angela Merkel can be nominated as the bank interests’ employee of the year but definitely not the persona of the year. Persona demands far more from a good employee.

Oh yes, I’ve already noticed that some magazines have made covers with the new Pope. In Greece a couple of decades ago we had a new archbishop. After decades of byzantine attitudes archbishops that one – Chrisostomos was his name – seemed a bit more moderate. In one of his first appearances, might have been his second sermon, the archbishop invited the youth in the church saying that “they are all invited, with or without piercings.” It was literally a revolution. For the Greek Orthodox Church piercing your body was one of the ultimate sins and a prove that Satan was on earth. It was next to Ozzy Osbourne, so bad.

Amazingly for weeks young people felt free, they felt that for the first time they were not outcasts in something they believed in and they liked to believe in, proving it by joining the church in serious numbers. However, Chrisostomos soon proved to be one of the most conservative archbishops, with opinions even on governing and simple public affairs including foreign policy. And he was never scared to express his opinions in public especially in front the cameras. In the end it looked like he opened his arms for the pierced youth as long as they brought their necessary masses into a manipulated crowd. And of course the minute they were "inside" they had to take off their piercings. His involvement in secular politics and perhaps his personal political ambitions did more harm to the idea of the church than the Romans. So why and how another one that opens his arms to the pierced will make the difference?

The hope that he might make the difference? Just like Obama did? When billions from all around the world projected their hopes in one man?

I can tell you, when it comes to peace on earth the worst possible man made the best choices for 2013 however schizophrenic that might sounds. The man is the essence of an authoritarian leader, living in conspiracies and intrigues. He is a manipulator and he has hypnotized somehow 150 million people who follow him voluntarily everywhere. He’s looking for old glories and he’s using old methods to get there, he is an imperialist and chauvinist but in 2013 he was the only one who gave peace a chance before Israelis and Obama put Middle East on fire. And he gave the United Nations a chance, an organization that has become a joke under the American interests’ employee Korean Ki-moon. You remember UN? Is the organization George W. Bush nearly destroyed a decade ago.

Perhaps the unemployed and the homeless. They would make a nice cover as persona of the year. But as one of them pointed a few weeks ago in an article here in Ovi, “people seem to remember us only when they see photos of us and they limit their understanding and sadness there, because when they see us in the streets they try to keep away so they won’t get dirty!”

I don’t think another photo will add anything more than the ultimate vampirism to what these people go through.

In this case I would have put a picture of the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras who proudly announced that Greece is a success because it pays back the interests of the international loan-sharks satisfying the international banking system while people literally die in the streets of Athens. And I would make him face of the year because he is not the only one. He represents many. He represents the ones who sacrifice their nations for the banks, the ones who sacrifice their nations for the pharmaceutical companies, for the ones who sacrifice their nations for the weapons industry.

Parenthetically here, while Greece is in this tragic situation and while the prime minister tries desperately to pay back the banks sacrificing human souls; German, British, American, French arm companies with the support of their governments are pressing to sell their latest weapons to Greece. Tanks and guns while kids faint in schools daily lacking a glass of milk and a piece of bread!!!

Perhaps it is time to live without personas of the year. Perhaps it is time for all of us to rise and become persona of the year. Perhaps it is time whatever we are looking for, hope, faith to look for it inside us and not on others who are after all just humans …just like you and me!

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Emanuel Paparella2013-12-30 18:06:31
Thanos, this is not to answer your question but to applaud your choice.

Rodin’s “Thinker” may not be an individual person but it certainly is a universal icon or persona if you wish.

Given that an important component of the cultural identity of Ovi magazine from its very inception is a love for, truth, beauty and justice, or in its essential Greek etymology “philo” “sophia,” (love of wisdom) I for one applaud your choice; you could not have made a better one.

Leah Sellers2013-12-31 06:47:59
Brother Thanos,
You deserve a Huge Universal
Hug !
An Excellent Choice, sir. For All of Us. An excellent Choice moving toward Better and Brighter Individual/Collective Choices to come.
Thank You !

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