Ag­gres­sive vic­tims and the ERT memo­rial

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

The memo­rial for the fallen that was set up in the grounds of state broad­caster ERT is a pre­cious work of art. It ought to stand for ages, to re­mind fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of the works, the style and ethics of those who gov­ern Greece to­day. Apart from its sorry aes­thet­ics, the very ex­is­tence of the memo­rial makes it a sym­bol of our time, a time when “vic­tims’” rights hold sway, es­pe­cially when en­joyed by those who are not vic­tims but like to see them­selves as such. A time when com­plaints beat cre­ativ­ity, when pol­i­tics have slipped be­low even the sim­plis­tic yes-no di­chotomy to a state where only shades of no ap­ply to any­thing that in­fringes on our per­sonal in­ter­ests. Who­ever shouts no loud­est claims ab­so­lute truth as his own. The mon­u­ment is an im­por­tant sym­bol for many rea­sons. It is one of the few things that were planned and ex­e­cuted by the SYRIZA-In­de­pen­dent Greeks gov­ern­ment. Other projects – like new road sec­tions, some re­forms – were ei­ther al­ready un­der con­struc­tion or man­dated by cred­i­tors. This gov­ern­ment’s most spec­tac­u­lar “achieve­ments” have been mainly un­do­ing the work of oth­ers. The memo­rial high­lights the de­ter­mi­na­tion to “ex­ploit” vic­tims (in­clud­ing em­ploy­ees and “sup­port­ers” who died dur­ing ERT’s shut­down) to re­in­force the po­si­tion of the liv­ing. It is the cyn­i­cal de­ci­sion to es­tab­lish a sym­bol rep­re­sent­ing the clash be­tween “good” and “evil,” draw­ing on mem­o­ries of the civil war and the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal in­equal­ity and in­jus­tice that fol­lowed. In this way the com­pli­cated is­sues per­tain­ing to the state broad­caster are over­sim­pli­fied. ERT should as­pire for ob­jec­tiv­ity with the aim of in­form­ing ci­ti­zens in a way that will al­low the nation to forge a com­mon course. Like the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to shut down ERT sud­denly, un­bri­dled ac­tivism and pro­pa­ganda de­prive ci­ti­zens of a medium that should unite them. We all pay for ERT. The or­ga­ni­za­tion, its man­age­ment and staff should re­spect ci­ti­zens’ money and the power with which the broad­caster in­vests them. Those in gov­ern­ment want the perks of power but also want to fan­ta­size they are rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. It is un­der­stand­able they should want to keep cre­at­ing myths to jus­tify what­ever they do as the re­sult of oth­ers’ crimes. They claim vic­tims from the past, they fab­ri­cate vic­tims of the present, to hide their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. This cost-free vic­tim­hood excuses in­com­pe­tence and jus­ti­fies bru­tal­ity. Un­til the court­yard rings with the hoarse cries of those who anoint them­selves vic­tims of even graver in­jus­tices, who claim even greater right to the vic­tims of the past.

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