CULTURE

Greek president wins hearts; Golden Cross awards in London

Always at the top of the polls for the most popular Greek politicians, Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos owes his leading position to a few, well-chosen comments – within the limits of what is permitted to him in his position as head of state – which bring him close to the public, and which show he cares about the everyday concerns of ordinary people. For instance, he made an observation during the regular briefing visit of Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday morning, that there should be a black list of overpriced consumer products so that the public can boycott them. Since he said it in front of television cameras and journalists, it got through to the public, who appreciate it when someone in high office pays attention to what’s going on, even in the local market. Maltese President Guido de Marco and his wife are making an official visit to Greece, 11-13 September, at the invitation of Stephanopoulos. In October, Greek Ambassador to London Alexandros Sandys will give the Golden Cross of honor to a number of distinguished Hellenists. The recipients are Paul Cartledge, reader of Greek history at Cambridge University (who is also in favor of returning the Parthenon Marbles, though that isn’t mentioned in the award); Judith Herrin, professor of late antique and Byzantine studies at King’s College, London, and director of its Center for Hellenic Studies (another supporter of returning the Marbles); Richard Clogg, professor of modern Greek history; and Cypriot art lover and collector Dimitris Pieridis, founder of the Pieridis Foundation. The awards were bestowed in connection with the 28th anniversary of the reinstatement of democracy in Greece. The general index lost 2.9 percent on the week, or 62.2 points.