Saturday, 27 December 2008

A tale of two nephews

Above is a clip of Psarogeorgis, playing Cretan lute and lyra and being interviewed on Australian TV. Psarogeorgis (Georgios Xylouris) is the son of Psarantonis, nephew of Nikos Xylouris and brother of Niki Xylouri and Psarolambi. The prefix Psara (Fisher) the Xylourides use in front of their first names comes from their grandfather, who is said to have killed Turks as if they were fish. The family hails from the legendary Cretan mountain village of Anoyia, which I’ve written about here.

The song in the embedded player is Psarantonis' version of Πότε θα κάμει ξαστεριά, from the album Rizitika. The entire album, plus two other Psarantonis albums, can be downloaded here.

Πότε θα κάμει ξαστεριά:psarantonis.mp3
The video below is of a Cretan dance, the watching of which made me even more annoyed by the continuing events in Athens. How could a country with such a culture and history – such palikarismos and leventia – have allowed itself to fall so low?

It's also worth pointing out that Kathimerini is reporting the high level of Albanian involvement in the Athens violence; and that if you take the view, as I do (following Karabelias), that lawlessness in Greece and its tolerance by society and the state is a direct consequence of the rule of the junta (1967-74), then we shouldn't forget which foreign powers imposed the junta on Greece.

Finally, Albanians, conspiring foreign powers or not, nothing can excuse the pusillanimous response of the Karamanlis government to the violence. Here was a golden opportunity to assert the authority of the state, to insist on law and order and make citizens fear the state and the law; instead of which Karamanlis chose to abdicate all responsibility and turn over the country to chaos. This decision to collude with the rioters in abolishing the state is the worst political decision made by a Greek political leader since another Karamanlis (Constantinos) refused to send armed forces to Cyprus to repel the Turkish invasion of the island. The consequences of that surrender of Greek national interests were national humiliation, the collapse of state prestige and the emboldening of Greece's enemies. What uncle Karamanlis achieved in 1974, so has the nephew in 2008.