Some of our pet subjects have again been catapulted to center stage: the “evil neoliberals;” the “interventionist Americans;” freedom of speech; the limits of art; censorship.
These are themes that are revisited again and again in Greece, stereotypes that remain unchanged through time, constant menaces and suppositions that are dragged out and dusted off every time the arsenal of simple reasoning fails.
This failure seems to be happening much faster today, almost in the blink of an eye.
The reason is not just the fatigue and the tumult of six years of crisis. It used to happen in the past as well, but what we’re seeing now is how much faster common sense and moderation are lost.
A performance by the Greek National Theater’s Experimental Stage called “Nash’s Equilibrium,” based in part on a book-testimonial written by jailed November 17 terrorist and hit man Savvas Xiros, had its run of performances cut short just before it was due to end its run by the theater’s management.
For the past few weeks we have seen an escalation in the alternating themes of fear, back-stage discussions and machinations, misconstructions, fixations and a great deal of confusion regarding the production. We have also seen press releases being churned out: from the theater’s management and from the theater’s board (taking opposing positions), from the Ministry of Culture and from almost every political party regarding the production.
Nothing has been said about the families of the terrorist group’s victims and how they reacted to the play, though that would not be expected. The war is also raging on social media, where the ammunition is plenty.
The biggest casualty of this battle has been democracy, which everyone understands depending on their own needs. The problem is not limited to this specific show, which had already been playing for several days before anyone appeared to become bothered, but everything that surrounds and composes it: the country’s first state theater, the writings of Xiros, the open wounds of terrorism, a society struggling to communicate on the fundamentals, and leaderships that cannot manage and control crises, making the same mistakes instead of finding solutions.
Should the show’s run have been cut short or not? It should not even be a dilemma. From the moment that the quandary is posed it signifies that something is very wrong with the process, which has nothing to do with freedom of speech or art.
It has to do with the fact that the unpredictable rules, that anything goes, because the predictable has been dismissed as an ideological stance.