Speak truth to power

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram ● A popstar, a fallen prince, an oligarch’s wife and a Kennedy walk into a bar. ● It might be the start of a joke. But it is not. However there is a punchline. ● And the punchline is that they talk about speaking truth to power. ● They should know. They are power. ● The popstar was Sakis Rouvas; the fallen Prince, Nikolaos, son of former King of Greece, Constantin; the oligarch’s wife is Marianna Vardinogianni, philanthropist and UNESCO goodwill ambassador. ● She is also the only person in Greece who can snap her fingers and have all the political and economic establishment of the country rush to one of her events. ● The event in question – which was not held in a bar, of course, but at the Acropolis museum, did feature a member of the Kennedy clan. Kerry, daughter of Robert, writer, activist and president of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights advocacy organisation.● She was invited by ‘Mrs. Marianna’ – as she is known to her subjects – for the launch of the ‘Speak truth to power’ initiative, an education program centred around her book of the same name, consisting of her interviews with human rights activists all over the world. ● A who is who of the Greek elite attended the launch – former and current ministers, academics, bankers, philanthropists, high-ranking members of the clergy. They might as well have spoken ‘truth’ among themselves and the initiative would have met its target. Mission accomplished. ● In completely unrelated news, the Greek Statistical Agency issued data concerning taxation. It appears that four million Greeks owe about €95 billion in unpaid taxes. What’s interesting is that more than half of them owe no more than €500 each – 500,000 tax ‘evaders’ owe about €10 each. What’s even more interesting is that about 30 percent of the debt is owed by 69 people, who owe more than €100m each in taxes. ● Apparently, they must hold some kind of power. ● A day after Ms Marianna’s gathering, another representative of ‘power’ in Greek was called to ‘speak truth’. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave an interview to Nikos Chatzinikolaou for ANT1 News, in which he presented his idea of truth – mainly, by stating that the reform measures his government agreed to implement are nothing more than leverage to persuade Greece’s lenders for debt relief. ● If this does not happen, they will not be implemented. The journalist was flabbergasted: even though they pass through parliament? “A Sovereign state government can take back the measures”, was Tsipras’ cynical observation. The Power spoke the Truth. And the truth is that it’s all a farce. All that is happening in Greece for the past few years is part of this perverted political comedy. ● The PM’s partner, the other half of the successful comedy duo ‘Government-Opposition’, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, is now playing the part of the one believing in reforms. He’s the one presented as believing that Greece needs to shape up and be responsible, proceed with privatisations, slash wages and pensions, cut public spending, fire public servants, cut corporate taxation to allow for investment, do whatever the lenders tell us to do. ● He even managed to persuade centrists and members of the pro-EU, progressive Left to stand beside him, mostly because they despise Tsipras and his cohort. ● If you believe some parts of the Greek media, Mitsotakis is a modern politician, with fresh ideas, a true believer in free market and progress, who, if he becomes PM, will turn Greece to a modern state.● This week, his party dismissed any idea of separation of Church and State in Greece, assuring the byzantine relic institution that all public life and legislation will not become secular. ● So much for Greece modernization. ● At least, he spoke the Truth to the real Power in Greece.last_img

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