Δυνατές φωνές με δυνατές απόψεις

Τετάρτη, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

The Greek beast is waking

“Is it true that the beast is waking/ stirring in his restless sleep tonight/ in the pale moonlight?”; this is part of the lyrics of the “cold-war-affected” song “Soldiers” which was included in the ABBA album “The visitors” released almost 30 years ago. These lyrics have proved to be so prophetic for the current situation in my home country, Greece! I would like to write about some terrible things that torment my country.

Greece is now experiencing one of the hardest times in its long history. It is not only the economic crisis that complicates things but also the crisis in the social and ethical values. It is widely known that Greece gave birth to democracy, the first political system to give absolute freedom of decision to people. Unfortunately, in the same place, a far right-wing neo-Nazi movement has risen since last year and, as a result, the “Golden Dawn” fascist party won 18 seats in the Greek parliament after receiving 7% of the popular vote in the recent elections. The party’s campaign includes violence and threats against minority groups such as immigrants, gays, lesbians, the disabled, gypsies etc. The president of the party, Mr. Michaloliakos has said about the parliament: “We feel uncomfortable in there. We feel disgust.”

Last Saturday the popular 30-year-old Greek singer Natassa Bofiliou, considered to be the most talented singer of her age, gave a concert in Avlona, Greece. Before the beginning of the concert, the local members of Golden Dawn threw papers in the streets reading “Bofiliou, you should be ashamed of yourself! You are unwanted! We are on the way…” and the local community was shocked and scared. They feared the worst use of violence on the part of the Golden Dawn’s members during the concert. This wrath was caused because a few months ago the singer had posted in her twitter account: “Beasts, louts, you were given attention. Die you fascists, members and voters, out of respect to human dignity” referring to the party, and later she added “I am not going to apologize for my position. […] Moreover I am not giving in bullying. […] I did not obviously mean the physical death but the political and ideological death of fascism.”

The explanation was not enough for the members of the party so under these circumstances the authorities took precaution and the police were present during the concert, ready to take action if needed. Fortunately, nothing bad happened and the concert ended smoothly. But the question is, within or outside a crisis, must Art be protected by the police? I am afraid that protection comes first and control follows… Greece experienced a hard dictatorship during the years 1967-1973 and most of the Greeks that lived at that time still recall the censorship on Art: music, cinema, literature etc. So I am wondering, what is going to happen to the country now that the future of Art is at stake?

One of the most distinguished modern Greek composers, Manos Hatzidakis, a longsighted and open-minded person, said 4 years after the end of the dictatorship: “Whoever is not afraid of the beast’s face, it means they look like it. And the possible extension of this principle is for us, to get used to horror, to be frightened by beauty.” Agreeing with the wise words above, I really hope that the Greek people will get over the crisis recalling that they were the ones that imprinted and glorified beauty, inside and outside the human body, soul and mind. This is actually the art of making Art. History has proved that fine ideas are born in a free environment and that radical changes take place where fine ideas are listened to…

**The article was first published here:

http://www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showtopic=52852&hl=