National unity

Those who were present at the presentation of the book containing composer Mikis Theodorakis’s reminiscences with journalist Georgios Malouchos, which was organized by SKAI radio and Livanis publications yesterday, witnessed one of those rare moments of national unity in which politics rises above everyday trivialities to live up to people’s noblest expectations. New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, Synaspismos Left Coalition leader Nikos Constantopoulos, former General Secretary of Greece’s Communist Party Harilaos Florakis and former PASOK Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias spoke about the book and the composer himself. «If someone from the very distant past were to travel here, in this room, and were to see the makeup of this panel, he would most certainly not believe in his eyes,» Karamanlis said, stressing that the presence of people from across the political spectrum represents the transcendence of political divisions. «It is our obligation toward the country’s future and the coming generations of Greeks to dare cast off past divisions. We must make it clear to all those who wish to keep us back… that past divisions have no place in the present,» he added. In a display of his trademark passion, Theodorakis expressed a similar view. He praised «the new Greece, democratic Greece» and condemned those who «lightly and frivolously insist on bringing back into the limelight the fantasies of a long-gone era, which we should recall but as a bad dream.» «If there are still people today who think of the Left as a group of Slav and pro-Slav traitors or (who think of) Karamanlis as a warlord of a royalist and fascist Right, they should be in the madhouse,» he said. The presence of Archbishop Christodoulos, whose speech was in the same mode, was also part of an unusual eruption of national unity. Theodorakis’s distinctive personality, which has always been capable of forging solidarity among virtually all Greeks, dissolving political barriers and ideological differences, yesterday proved it can bring together even rival political leaders – an unthinkable task otherwise. Every country would like to have such nationally recognized figures that help glue a nation together. The works and life of Theodorakis do the greatest political service to the country, helping to bridge the left-right divide. «We must see… the complementary nature of the two main political currents in shaping modern Greece, without this meaning either one… has to abandon their own positions and beliefs,» Karamanlis said. «(We must) see, not so much the drawbacks and the errors of one side or the other, but also the positive… elements that each has brought to building modern Greece, and especially those that can contribute to building the country’s future.»