Tag Archives: Indignant

Grinding to a halt?

The expression of anguish on President Karolos Papoulias’s face on Friday
spoke of two things. Firstly, of the sadness that an event held ostensibly to
remember the Greeks who fell in the Second World War was canceled for the first  time since the tradition began. But more significantly it embodied the
frustration of a political system caught lagging so far behind its people that
the gap seems too wide to bridge.

The abandonment of the October 28 military parade in Thessaloniki was the
result of a number of things but the one that should concern us most is the
chasm that has opened between the rulers and the ruled, as was evident in the
hyperbolic chants of “traitor” aimed at Papoulias. This breakdown is an
indication of how badly Greece’s political system has failed and opens up a
space that could be filled by much darker forces.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Democracy squared rather than democracy divided

Photo by Stratos Safioleas

If you’ve been having sleepless nights worrying about Greece’s plight, you can rest easy now. As if by magic, the country’s concerns have been dispelled overnight. Only, rather than a magic wand, it was the waving of a police baton that did the trick when officers removed the dregs of the Indignant movement from Syntagma Square early on Saturday, long after the cup had run dry.

Had you been following the media-fueled public debate in Greece over the last couple of weeks, you would have been excused for believing that the few dozen protesters, their sagging tents and scrappy banners, which had been in situ in Syntagma for the last two months, were the country’s most pressing problem. These hippy wannabees were apparently destroying Greece’s tourism industry, driving the capital’s drug trade and creating a burgeoning market for street traders.

Continue reading

The revolution will be internalized

“The revolution will not be televised,” rapped African-American poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron in 1971. “The revolution was televised,” boasted North African youths in 2011 after the Arab Spring revolts were driven on by coverage from Al Jazeera and other international networks. Of course, social networks played their part too. “The revolution was tweeted,” some might claim.

Although the media may be different, not much has actually changed in the 40 years since Scott-Heron, who died on Friday, left an indelible mark on popular music and popular conscience. In fact, the themes that Scott-Heron touched on in his song are just as relevant today: callous capitalism feeding the discontent of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Four decades on, it remains one of the most dominant threats to our democracies and societies.

Continue reading

The paradox of the ‘Indignant’

Photo by Stratos Safioleas

Thousands of protesters packed Syntagma Square in Athens for a third consecutive day on Friday. Those giving up another evening to vent their anger at Greece’s plight continued to display great enthusiasm and persistence. There was something dramatic about their protest, which took place as ominous clouds rolled across the Attica sky and boneshaking thunder boomed throughout the capital. It felt like someone had splashed out on the special effects in preparation for the ultimate battle: the people vs. the political system. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object.

Continue reading