Friday, 6 February 2009

'Greece has no future'

Above is a good discussion (in Greek) between Professor Neoklis Sarris and Kostas Hountas regarding the truly pertinent issues facing Greece and which, in fact, have been facing Greece for the last 100 years. The full four-part programme can be seen here.

Sarris starts off discussing the demographic problems confronting Greece and reminds us that at the beginning of the 20th century, there were 6.5m Turks compared to 5.5m Greeks. This figure is now 70m and 11m respectively, with Turkey enjoying the added advantage of a young population compared to Greece's ageing population.

Sarris goes on: 'Everything indicates that we've taken the decision to "close the shop". All we've said today on the programme clearly shows that in the Aegean we've surrendered to Turkey; the game in Thrace has been lost; and, most importantly, we've lost the game ideologically.'

Sarris expands on his view that Greece has 'lost the game ideologically' by contemptuously referring to some of the better-known intellectuals in Greece, the gurus of 'modernisation' – Sotos Triantafyllou, Nikos Dimou and (ex-PM Kostas Simitis' chief adviser) Nikos Themelis, whose latest novel is revealingly called 'The Truth of the Other'.

In 'The Truth of the Other', Sarris says, Themelis wants to revise the view that has Constantinos Paleologos fighting the Turks to the death at the walls of Constantinople in 1453 and portray instead the emperor escaping the City by boat for the West where he lives happily ever after. Sarris suggests that Themelis' intention is to debunk the myth of the 'Marble Emperor' and the 'crude and idiotic nationalism' behind it.

Sarris goes on to ask how on earth Greeks can be expected, when the time comes, to vote for Pasok, given that party's ideological corruption. Giorgos Papandreou might be a good man, Sarris says, but 'I have doubts about his knowledge of Greek history and his position on, and emotional commitment to, certain issues that form the "soul" of Hellenism.'

Sarris sums up Greece's condition: 'We are a country that economically is doing badly; is collapsing demographically; is ideologically bankrupt. This is how things are. What future is there for Greece? What future is there for Greece? Greece has no future. We'll leave from this life with bitterness. We are on the verge of disaster. The situation is sad and desperate.'

Hountas disagrees with Sarris' pessimistic analysis and reminds us of the words of 19th century PM Charilaos Trikoupis: 'Η Ελλάς θέλει να ζήσει και θα ζήσει' (Greece wants to live, and will live).

Sarris replies Greece has been crippled, its will denied it and that if Greeks continue to vote for certain political parties, then it will be Greeks themselves, of their own volition, who will have ruined Greece.

Hountas says Greeks would like to vote differently and Sarris is describing only five percent of Greeks and that the other 95 percent agree with Sarris. And yet, Sarris says, that five percent prevails over the 95 percent and this is dictatorship.

'We're living under a weird dictatorship,' Sarris concludes.