The ever-active Left

The end of the summer called for a political and artistic festival, and the ever-active Left did not fail to come up with one. It will be staged on the island of Makronisos at the end of this week. Through concerts and songs, the losers of the civil war will seek their moral absolution while the victors will stay silent, guilty as they are of having resisted the Communist uprising. A Greek particularity indeed. Parties have an obligation to honor their dead; this enables them to survive through time and gives them a sense of historical perspective. The Left has systematically done this, while the conservatives have given up all attempts to justify past decisions and promote their key figures. Dimitrios Gounaris and the other five officials executed (essentially murdered) after the Asia Minor disaster have been forgotten, while conservative party members attend the annual memorial for Eleftherios Venizelos (who was behind the prosecution of the former prime minister and others). For some decades now, no one has dared claim that the rejection of the Italian ultimatum (in 1940) was a personal decision by Ioannis Metaxas. The Left has refused to acknowledge his patriotic stance and has rather portrayed the dictator as a vehicle of popular will. Even the more liberal-minded seem to have forgotten that it was centrist governments and not the Right that were in power during the civil war. Barring a few exceptions, the conservative and liberal intelligentia has put these tragic events behind them. The Left, however, managed to pull a cultural product out of the drama; form prevailed over substance. The whole thing also has its comical side, as business tycoons, champions of free-market globalization and so on are descendants of the defeated side that the Makronisos festival aims to honor. They are successful and morally absolved. This is a farce of bad taste.