OPINION

Editorial

The 28th anniversary of the Polytechnic insurrection finds our society faced with a totally different set of problems from those that triggered the student uprising in late 1973. Today our democracy is not threatened by aspirant dictators; rather, it is threatened by degeneration caused by corruption, populism and the impunity of the media. Today, our country is not faced with the problem of underdevelopment but rather by the challenge of providing a just distribution of wealth. Greece today does not face a problem of dependence on the US, but rather is being challenged to promote its national interests within a complex globalized system. As an EU member, our country is taking part in an unprecedented historic experiment – the unification of the Old Continent – which makes it an integral part of the West. In 1973, the public blamed the foreign factor for the evils that beset the country, downplaying or ignoring the endogenous weaknesses of our democracy and the skirmishing among our political leaders in the mid-1960s that prepared the ground for the dictatorship. In the same way, the Greek nation also experienced the drama of Cyprus, which was also attributed to the inertia or the cynicism of the foreign factor, particularly the US. Today, however, these events should be approached with the sobriety dictated by hindsight so that we can avoid repeating past errors. Anti-Americanism has become largely ungrounded. It’s a relic of the past that prevents us from effectively promoting our national interests. The Polytechnic uprising still shines. This is less due to the unfulfilled nature of the demands of that era than to the moral dimension of those events. This dimension makes it such a powerful societal symbol, binding those who took part in those events regardless of their political affiliations. Much has been said about the point of the annual commemoration of the Polytechnic uprising. The annual events, no doubt, bear no relation to the climate of those days. Anniversaries are inevitably subjected to political commodification and hence always do an injustice to the events they are supposed to commemorate. Societies, however, have discovered other ways to preserve their collective memory and pay homage to their most powerful events. One could say that such conspiratorial, oppressive and terrorist systems are surrounded by a huge myth mainly because of the unbelievable events from which they emerge. Their violent methods and strange and irrational practices shock and instill fear among their people. Shock and fear are enough to create a myth which then gets propagated, becomes ever more distorted and complicated, and which grows in size as it spreads from mouth to mouth over the course of time.