Commentary of the Week: March 17-23, 2016

commentaryoftheweekBy Michael Nevradakis

It is pretty clear that humanity, and certainly the Greek people, have not yet had enough of so-called saviors. This is the conclusion that I am forced to reach after watching the latest Greek political “hero” Zoe Konstantopoulou being paraded from one major Greek media outlet to another, leading up to the launch of her new political movement.

The supposedly “heroic” Zoe Konstantopoulou is now following in the footsteps of Alexis Tsipras, of Francois Ollande, of Podemos in Spain which have long ago abandoned their so-called “radical” economic platform, of Jeremy Corbyn, of Yanis Varoufakis, and of Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama, being presented as the next political figure that will deliver “hope” and “change” and put an end to destructive economic policies and austerity. The same thing which we were told of Alexis Tsipras prior to his election in January 2015, and the same thing we were told about Barack Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders during the current campaign season in the United States, promising “hope” and “change” to gullible voters.

What I absolutely cannot understand is how there are still so many voters, including supposedly leftist and anti-austerity voters, who instead of judging Konstantopoulou and the rest of the “saviors” on their actions when they were actually in a position of power, instead choose to fall for the same rhetoric and promises again and again and again, falling for these promises instead of looking at what these saviors have done in reality, beyond their rhetoric and empty words.

So now we have Zoe Konstatopoulou going from television station to television station in Greece, launching attacks against Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, about how he betrayed the people of Greece, about how he lied and did not keep his promises. And I wonder, out loud: wasn’t Konstantopoulou a part of that first Tsipras-led government? Wasn’t she the president of the Greek parliament during that time? Did she not also vote yes to all of the austerity measures that were passed by the SYRIZA government? Wasn’t she in a strong position where she could have spoken out against what was taking place? Why wasn’t she saying these things then, as they were taking place and when she was in a position of strong influence? Instead, at the time, she was telling us that SYRIZA’s promise to tear up the memorandum and austerity agreements was a mere “figure of speech,” justifying in this way the betrayal which she now is supposedly speaking out against.

I’m sorry, but where was Zoe Konstantopoulou when the other great and brilliant “savior,” Yanis Varoufakis, who was Greece’s finance minister at the time, was saying publicly that the Greek public debt, the same one that Konstantopoulou was supposedly investigating through her debt audit commission, would be repaid in perpetuity? Why didn’t Konstantopoulou say anything then, when Varoufakis undermined her debt audit commission? And not only did Konstantopoulou not say anything then, but it is entirely likely that her new political movement will be closely affiliated with Varoufakis’ own newly-launched pan-European movement.

Where was Zoe Konstantopoulou when the Tsipras-led government, with Varoufakis still in his position as finance minister, passed without any parliamentary debate a decree which confiscated the cash reserves of the Greek public sector, all to make one month’s worth of loan repayments to the IMF? Money that was used, in other words, for the partial repayment of a debt whose legality was supposedly still being investigated by Konstantopoulou. Why didn’t she speak up then?

What the dynamic, outspoken, brave Zoe Konstantopoulou did know how to do though was to publicly show her support for the Tsipras government when the time came to do so, following the complete rejection of the July 5th referendum result. The patriotic, heroic Konstantopoulou, instead of speaking out or leaving the government even at that final moment, when the “no” result of the referendum had been thrown in the trash by the SYRIZA government and when the third and most onerous memorandum agreement so far was ready to be signed, did not have the gumption to say no, which is what 62% of Greek voters had just said, resoundingly, in the referendum. Nor did the “heroic” Konstantopoulou have the guts to shut down debate in the Greek parliament and paralyze the government’s efforts, even though she had the power and authority to do so as president of the Greek parliament.

Instead, Konstantopoulou continued to publicly proclaim her support for Tsipras and for the SYRIZA-led government, until she was finally informed by Tsipras that she would not be included on the ballot for the snap parliamentary elections of September 20. Only then did Konstantopoulou seemingly remember that a major betrayal had taken place and that the SYRIZA government had not kept its promise to the Greek people.

This is the same Zoe Konstantopoulou, the same faux savior who only knows how to wear pants when she appears in front of the television cameras like the well-trained actress that she is, who is now supposedly the next savior of Greece. The charismatic political figure that will bring democracy back to Greece and defend her homeland. Which homeland though? For when we talk about the patriotism of Konstantopoulou, we are certainly not talking about her patriotism towards Greece, but towards Europe, as we see quite clearly through the so-called “Plan B for Europe” which she recently signed along with Yanis Varoufakis and others. A plan which does not question in the slightest the structure of the so-called “united Europe” or the Eurozone, ignoring completely the root cause of Europe’s current problems. A Plan B which proposes as a solution for countries like Greece the introduction of a parallel currency or parallel system of payments, which would be presented to the gullible public as a return to a national currency but which would, in reality, create a two-tiered economy, with domestic payments being made with worthless I.O.U’s while the few and the privileged would have euros in their hands. Parallel currency schemes such as this have led to economic catastrophe wherever they have been implemented, and yet this is what Zoe Konstantopoulou, Yanis Varoufakis, and their legions of followers and apologists are proposing as a solution for Greece.

What is completely beyond me is the fact that even when one presents such facts about Zoe Konstantopoulou or the likes of Yanis Varoufakis to their fanboys and fangirls, they will immediately rush to defend their heroes, excusing away their actions, claiming, at best, that they had no choice or that they made “mistakes,” and asking us to remember the fiery words of Zoe Konstantopoulou’s first speech in the Greek parliament. Indeed, I do remember that speech. And I remember something else about it too: that Zoe Konstantopoulou did not keep any of her promises from that speech. I remember that she voted along with the rest of the SYRIZA government for the corrupt conservative former government minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos as president of the Greek Republic. I remember that she too approved the decree which confiscated the Greek public sector’s cash reserves for the repayment of a month’s worth of debt to the IMF, the same debt which Konstantopoulou was supposedly investigating. And as for the supposed media war against Zoe Konstantopoulou, what many people do not seem to have understood is how reverse psychology works. The major media outlets, knowing quite well that most of the Greek public now despises them, knew that their supposed “war” against Konstantopoulou would serve as the best possible advertisement for her. And now that this first stage of promotion has been completed with success, Konstantopoulou can now comfortably make her television appearances on these same stations that were supposedly battling her, such as her recent appearance on the interview program of corrupt pro-austerity journalist Alexis Papachelas, leading up to the launch of her new political movement.

When will we stop believing in the saviors that the same system which we need to be saved from, provides to us? As for Zoe Konstantopoulou and her infamous “figure of speech” comment, her actions have not only proven that those promises about ripping apart the memorandum agreements were a figure of speech, but so is all of her supposedly fiery rhetoric about democracy and patriotism.

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