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Shame! Shame!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-02-08 11:15:02
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The last few months more and more photos and videos have started appearing in the international media and internet showing poor and homeless in Greece. In a very twisted way there is something good out of it because people might escape their stereotypes about the lazy southerners who live in the land of constant holidays and sunshine and where food is just hang on trees for everybody to pick.

For years I have heard unbelievable things about Greece and despite the fact that I live abroad for decades it seem that especially the last four years everybody tries to make it personal. From the pub where the woman asked me if I pay my tax since …I’m Greek to the official that informed me that all Greeks are lying and that’s only a small example of the things I have heard.

But yesterday I heard something coming from Greece. Twenty-four hours before the British Guardian had published in the column “photo of the day” a photo of people stretching their arms for a bag with fruits and vegetables offer from the farmers who are on strike asking for investment in the dying agriculture. The photograph was shocking but not any less or more shocking from other photos we all have seen the last few months from Athens with homeless people, in public kitchens for the hungry and the poor, the starving kids in schools and a European democracy, full member of the European Union starving under a program that everybody including IMF who thought of all the measures have recently admitted that its wrong and it failed.

But this photo also seems to fail somebody else. The Greek government. So the Greek government through the Radio-television council informed all the Greek media that they are not allowed to publish photos or videos like that because they are …embarrassing Greece with monetary penalties in case they don’t …obey! To excuse the decision they used an article of the Greek constitution that says: an obscene publication which is obviously offensive to public decency, in the cases stipulated by law.

Shame! That’s the only word I can use. Censoring information so the people cannot see the truth. So when they are hungry and homeless with 30% unemployment and nearly 70% for the young people they are worrying about their image?

Sadly the very same guards of the law and press reading the sub-paragraph missed the main article:
Article 14 of the Greek constitution says:
1. Every person may express and propagate his thoughts orally, in writing and through the press in compliance with the laws of the State.
2. The press is free. Censorship and all other preventive measures are prohibited.
3. The seizure of newspapers and other publications before or after circulation is prohibited.

Shame and a proof that Mr. Samaras and his contributors’ government from the Socialist Party and the so called Democratic Left have failed. Shame because Greece has lived a dictatorship only three decades ago and knows well what it means to be censored. Shame because Greece supposes to be all about democracy and with this government and the neo-Nazis in the parliament has become the nightmare of anything democratic. Shame to the sponsors of this situation in Europe and especially inside the German Chancellery. Shame for all of us because this happens in a European ally and partner and nobody says anything.

Shame because with or without photos, with or without the permission of the government there are thousands of people homeless without food this minute in Athens and other places in Greece.

I’m going to leave the photos to speak for themselves and please Greek friend in the media, in blogs, facebook and wherever else you are. KEEP PUBLISHING THESE PHOTOS!!!

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Emanuel Paparella2013-02-08 13:27:01
Indeed Thanos, you are correct the photos speak for themselves and offer empirical evidence of what is out there in the phenomenon in the realm of facts. They do not offer however the correct or incorrect interpretation of the phenomenon which the human mind needs to elaborate and which lies in the realm of values. Many of a logical positivistic bent confuse the two.

Some will get indignant at the photos because they reveal the ugly phenomenon within savage capitalism of distributive injustice and some will feel shame. Which is the correct interpretation? That depends on one’s social philosophy and ethical system or lack thereof, which does the interpretation, but properly speaking the shame belongs to those who preach the solution to injustices from a high moral pedistal while being very much part of the problem.

Perhaps the reverse of that coin illuminates the issue a bit better: in a country that is inexorably progressing toward economic material welfare (say China) while repressing free speech and inalienable human rights with its communist ideology, there is pride for that empirical fact but the correct interpretation behind the cover up of such a repression ought to be shame, not pride, and that interpretation belongs in the realm of values. The economic progress is a fact but the honoring of free speech or its repression is a value. It is dangerous indeed to confuse the “is” with the “ought.”


Anastasis2013-02-08 19:54:46
How come a country whose collective income translates into a much higher personal income than many other countries, does not take immediate care of those needing to survive?


Leah Sellers2013-02-09 07:00:17
There is something alarmingly incongruous with Economies that keep measuring their so-called Economic Health and Wealth on thier overall Collective income, Global Markets, Global Banks and Global Corporations.

Markets, Banks and Corporations, many of which still Survive and thrive because they got Bailed Out by the Global Middle Class, Working Poor and Poor Collective while continuing to stagnate and diminish their wage earning and private ownership capacites (reserving those gems more and more for the ever ravenous Elitists). While the Global Markets, Global Banks and Mega- Corporations are swollen, their bellies quite full, and flying high like Conscienceless Drones.

Something very destructively incongruous, indeed.

However, Pictures Speak a thousand Words and Realities.

Awareness is the first step toward Active Remedy and Healing. Pass it on !


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