Ev­ery age has its col­lab­o­ra­tors

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PAN­TELIS BOUKALAS

In a state­ment on the an­niver­sary of the 1973 stu­dent up­ris­ing against the junta yes­ter­day, gov­ern­ment spokes­woman Sofia Voul­tepsi ap­peared con­fi­dent that “the en­tirety of the Greek peo­ple, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal be­liefs, took part, as one, in the strug­gle against the dic­ta­tor­ship.” If only this were true. If only re­al­ity cor­re­sponded with our ro­man­tic ideal of a per­fect, saintly so­ci­ety. But re­al­ity, as re­mem­bered by those who were of a ma­ture age dur­ing the dis­mal years of the dic­ta­tor­ship and as has been recorded by a plethora of his­tor­i­cal stud­ies, leaves no room to jus­tify the claim that the peo­ple rose up as one against the junta. Cast­ing the creature we call so­ci­ety in a saintly man­tle is a prac­tice that has deep and ro­bust roots here in Greece, and not just in pol­i­tics, but also in lit­er­a­ture, film and the visual arts. And it is not just ap­plied in relation to the seven-year dic­ta­tor­ship. Go­ing back a bit, we like to think that ev­ery sin­gle Greek re­sisted the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion even though this was not the case. Sure, the vast majority did but not ev­ery­one. There are al­ways col­lab­o­ra­tors. To­gether with all that is good and vir­tu­ous that we pos­si­bly in­her­ited from our leg­endary fore­fa­thers, some also in­her­ited the tal­ent of adapt­abil­ity – to put it kindly – and a pro­cliv­ity for obey­ing (be it out of cyn­i­cism, self-preser­va­tion or pure cow­ardice) the com­mands of the in­vader/oc­cu­pier/despot. Greece had its fair share of bounders and cow­ards in 1940 and in 1921, just as it did dur­ing ev­ery pe­riod of tyranny. The truth is that the gov­ern­ment spokes­woman is not the only one to claim that ev­ery Greek re­sisted the junta. Even in the early years of the Metapo­litefsi, pop­ulism (al­ways alive and kick­ing around here) led to so­ci­ety be­ing given a heroic lus­ter even though a large por­tion was in­dif­fer­ent to the ills of the junta and many col­lab­o­rated, driven by ide­ol­ogy or self-in­ter­est. When the dic­ta­tor­ship was brought down, how­ever, many – whether those who ig­nored the vi­o­lence or those who ben­e­fited from it – rushed to as­sert their de­fi­ance and to claim hon­ors for bat­tles they never

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