OPINION

The Internet word never dies

The printed word never dies is what we used to argue back in the day of the newspaper, when politicians were caught being inconsistent, telling lies or going back on their pre-election promises. We were under the delusion that print would make them remorseful, force them to change their stance.

In the age of television we said that video footage would never die. Our delusions were even reinforced because we began to believe that the written word could, perhaps, be manipulated, but the video was real, it was our weapon against forked tongues.

Then came the Internet, and we said that websites will never die; they will live on forever. They are available to everyone at any time, not like newspaper archives. Our delusions now well-stoked, we believed that politicians would measure their words more carefully so that wouldn?t expose themselves like cannon-fodder to ridicule.

It is obvious how ill-founded our hopes were and how deep the chasm is between PASOK in pre-election mode and PASOK as government – on every issue, including immigration, where its slide from leftists humanism to cynical pragmatism has been truly rapid.

On www.papandreou.gr/papandreou/content/Document, the pime minister?s ?personal portal,? you can see how far PASOK has come. Here he writes about how we must understand that being an immigrant or a refugee is not easy, that we must respect all immigrants as equals, that we must strive for them to have equal rights with us and that we must recognize their right to peaceful coexistence, respect, dignity and humanity. He goes on to say that immigrants are not the problem, but they have problems that are practical and structural, but also have to do with the way they are viewed and accepted. ?Integration,? he says, would be the best way to change this image.

That was George Papandreou in November 2008, when 15 immigrants in Hania on Crete declared a hunger strike. Today, there are some 300 immigrants on hunger strike and their lives are at risk. But the prime minister prefers to speak through Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis (who cancelled the residence permits granted to the Hania 15 by the previous administration) or Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, who like a doctor diagnosing doom, said that the hunger strikers were posing a threat to public sanitation. Yet there is nothing on Papandreou?s website on any of this.