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The Greek silence of the lamps
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-06-13 09:35:23
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Draco had absolutely nothing to do with dragons even though he will be unforgettable for his brutality. Draco was the first legislator in ancient Athens. He was the one who actually wrote the code, the law that was to be enforced by the courts of Athens. However the laws he wrote and his attitude have remained in history not only as the fist written code but also for their harshness. Actually the word draconian laws has come to refer to unforgiving and ruthless rules or laws.

And the Greek prime minister this week enforced a draconian law creating a serious flaw in the Greek democracy. Antonis Samaras shut the Greek National Broadcaster ERT, in one night despite all the assurances the last few months due to a series of rumours that nothing would happen. In a few seconds without warning 2,700 employees lost their jobs.

The decision supposedly intending to placate Greece's international lenders and demonstrate the decisiveness of the government to move ahead with reforms shocked not only ERT employees, but the entire nation. Actually I think it should shock the whole democratic world.

Listening to the Greek politicians of the three governing parties (conservatives, socialists and left) and especially the conservative leading the government you get the impression that Olli Rehn woke up on Monday morning and decided to shut down ...information. And personally I hope that he’s not behind this decision, him or Angela Merkel, another favourite of the conspiracy theories.

ert01_400There are two basic elements in the foundations of democracy and this is something we have realized and felt plenty the last few years. Freedom of speech and freedom of information. Remember nothing would have happened from the glasnost days in USSR, to the Arab spring or the East European spring. Nobody would know about the Tahrir Square in Cairo two years ago or the Taksim square in Istanbul this minute. Absolutely nothing. But BBC was there, DW was there and ERT was there. No Athens Olympics, no theatre, no literature, no music, no culture. Nothing. Absolutely nothing for the Greeks without ERT.

Just think of it. How would have been if BBC, DW, RAI or TVF had shut down suddenly. Then your information would have been controlled by Murdoch enterprises for example and if you would have never learned about the telephone bugs. Siemens enterprises would have never let you know the bribes scandals, Berlusconi would have been a saint and De Gaulle still president of France.

Of course there was something wrong with ERT. Favourism, despotism, corruption, nepotism; you name it. There were all there partying. But who created that except the conservative party and the socialist party that govern for years and turn the centre of information for the Greeks into their private propaganda centre and the place to put “their own kids” with the best salaries. But was shutting down ERT the solution? The solution for what they created? And yes there are some who enjoyed all the above but was it 2,700 people? The answer is NO!

But Antonis Samaras has just crossed the final line. We all knew who he was. His mentor and the man who helped him enter Greek politics was an extreme right politician who even "talked/negotiated" with the dictators during the Greek dictatorship. Samaras was part of the far right in the conservative party for his first years in politics and the only reason – at least for me – he smoothen his profile was because his ambitions were stronger than his believes. A fascist in the closet who leads this moment Greece in the silence of the lamps.

Using the recession and the lenders (mainly Merkel) as an excuse he becomes a dictator with democratic cloths and if Olli Rehn and Merkel asked him to take this short of measures his prime obligation to the Greek people was to defend their right to information. He failed! He failed not because he couldn’t. He failed because he didn’t want to. And if this minute there is a neo-Nazi party in Greece, now we know that it is partly his responsibility. Actually the only ones who support his decision this moment it is the neo-Nazi party. His partners in government, the socialist and the left are in serious trouble and if they accept this decision most likely will lose the little support of the people that already have.

Do you know what is dramatic? The socialists and the left will lose support, the same time the neo-Nazi seem to gain support becoming the third (?) party. What is left? A future in cooperation between the neo-Nazis and Samaras!

Poor Greek Democracy, you are dying silent! 


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