Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a legendary figure of the Greek socialist movement, a man who came very close to taking over the party that governed the country for half of the time following the fall of the military dictatorship (the period known as “metapolitefsi”) has been in prison for awhile now. Another leading PASOK member, Yiannos Papantoniou, was recently handed a four-year suspended prison sentence. One of conservative New Democracy’s most prominent members, former Thessaloniki mayor and a great sprinter in his heyday, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, is also behind bars. Giorgos Karatzaferis, a cabinet member in Lucas Papademos’s coalition government and self-proclaimed, “self-made” myth, is facing felony charges. Another conservative local authority official (and one-time contender for ND’s leadership as well as founder of the political party Patrida), Panayiotis Psomiadis was forced to resign from office and handed a suspended prison term. Finally, for quite different reasons, the leadership of ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn is being held pending trial over charges of organizing and running a criminal organization.
While the aforementioned are the most typical cases making headlines, plenty has been written with regard to less-known party cadres facing charges over various offenses. Surely the numbers would be higher had the notorious “lists” been examined more thoroughly by the justice system, whose liberties are still being infringed by the political system. There would have been even more cases if it weren’t for 14 made-to-order amendments leading to the exoneration of certain public servants, according to Public administration inspector Leandros Rakintzis.
For the politicos who are already behind bars or facing the prospect of prison, the term “end of the metapolitefsi” (a generic term simplifying history by slicing it up and placing it in small boxes) has taken on a truly painful dimension. Drunk with power and confident that if caught with their hands dirty they would not be punished, they lost the battle against temptation lurking around even the most insignificant position of power.
Here’s an interesting experiment: See how many videos you can find in which these illustrious politicians are pompously spouting on about the homeland and the family, about sacrifice and contribution. Splice them together into a (very) long feature film and show it to a multi-partisan crowd. It is guaranteed that before too long the screening room will be shaking with laughter, at least before a silence settles when those doing the laughing realize how gullible they were.