OPINION

‘Little Americans’

One of the oft-repeated criticisms of George Papandreou is his lack of knowledge of the Greek mentality and of his American-style politicking. PASOK’s new leader was born (of an American mother) in the United States and studied and spent his youth there. PASOK MP Theodoros Pangalos was notably, until recently, one of Papandreou’s fiercest critics, accusing him of snubbing state diplomats and leaving the Foreign Ministry in the hands of a group of American-bred officials instead. A similar process is now taking place among PASOK’s top ranks. The party’s internal organization has been sidelined and the old guard has fallen silent. All decisions are made by Papandreou’s «inner» council, which has been transferred from the Foreign Ministry to the party’s campaign headquarters. The signature characteristic of his aides is their «colonizing» attitude – the certainty that they are more intelligent and have better judgment than the natives and that their services are not fully appreciated by them. Papandreou’s American-bred council has invented slogans such as: «Together we’ll change the Greeks» and «Together we’ll change Greece.» The council can get away with this because, apart from being ignorant and credulous, the natives also suffer from amnesia. They want to be united and happy. They have no recollection of who divided them and who made them turn against each other. They want radical changes but they can’t remember how or why they got in this mess. They cannot remember who is he who now promises to bring about radical change. Following Greece’s liberation and the arrival of the American fleet in Piraeus, people coined the phrase «the little American,» which has since been used to describe anyone who is innocent or naive, any person easy to fool. The Sunday after next, we will find out whether the phrase also applies to Greek voters.