Telling it how it was — musician goes on air

“I have been politically committed since the day I was born. Since I was one day old,» says Greece’s most famous composer, Mikis Theodorakis, who this morning begins a series of radio interviews on the legendary events of his life in music and politics. From Monday to Friday at 8.45 a.m. and on Sunday at 10 a.m., Theodorakis will be talking about many of the events in Greece’s history that have occurred since his birth in 1925. He talks about everyone and everything. No doubt many people who have taken refuge in myths will feel particularly uncomfortable about these memories resurfacing. However, Theodorakis’s journey through eight decades of Greek history will provide Greeks with a great deal more knowledge about themselves and their world. This could be important during times like these, when there is a complete absence of real debate that could allow people to believe once more in the values that build societies that they and their leaders can be proud of. Particularly at this time, what Theodorakis has to say might prove to be catalytic for the country’s still feeble attempts to recover its soul, which has been lost among the incredible events that had been well concealed for so many years, rotting an entire world from within and which are now coming to light. So once more, Theodorakis is emerging as a revolutionary voice within the consciousness of the Greek people and sets out to write history again during a period of deep moral decline. Essence of politics In some 100 hours of tapes, Theodorakis talks about political leaders such as the «Old Man of Democracy» George Papandreou and his son Andreas. «George Papandreou loved me until the end of his life. So did Andreas, as I did him, but above all Andreas loved power. So he either saw me as one of his own, or as an enemy. Perhaps he was right to do so, as he realized I was not with him politically and so he attacked.» Then there is Theodorakis’s view of the essence of politics. «Politics is not about having a diploma or a post. It is about going out among the people, into life… I was a politician of action. I didn’t go into politics to have a career. I was a musician. But I am also a citizen. I couldn’t make it as a politician because I analyzed everything, I explained everything, I talked openly about what I was thinking,» he said. Decay of Left When he talks about the Left, he gives voice to what most leftists are afraid to even think. «All of us on the Left are experiencing the decay of a great tree on which we were all shoots. All of us.» Perhaps most importantly, and what best expresses his life and his work, is his phrase: «The only enemy of the people is power.» Much of what Theodorakis says in these interviews could be used as sound bites for headlines. However, what is important is not to cause a stir with a phrase about terrorism, for example, but to listen to the whole story and to benefit from what it has to offer. Forgotten events There is no doubt that much of what he has to say will break down many stereotypes and received opinions about our history as we would like to remember it. On the other hand, many forgotten aspects of events during these decades will emerge to claim their rightful place in history. Of course, Theodorakis is not, nor does he claim to be, a historian. However, he is part of the country’s history, or at least part of some of its more important chapters. There is joy, humor, emotion, humanity, tenderness, passion, as well as anger and pain, bitterness over lost opportunities and above all, concern that more major mistakes will be made, a need for truths to be told. Theodorakis is neither afraid of judging or being judged, and does not hesitate to talk about what is painful and difficult about the period between the two World Wars, the Nazi occupation of Greece, the resistance movement, the civil war, exile, the political events in the years that followed, the military dictatorship and the resistance movement against it in Greece and around the world, the restoration of democracy, the rise of PASOK, the end of the Left, terrorism and Greece over the past decade. Life journey He begins his history with the late statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, his earliest memories of George and Andreas Papandreou on the island of Mytilene, and then goes on to describe his meetings with some of the greatest political and intellectual figures of the 20th century, as he traveled the world with his music that was identified with the concept of freedom itself and which, more than anything else, has influenced and shaped the soul of an entire nation.

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