Comedy with purpose

«Our quality of life may have improved, but our spirit has withered,» popular comic Lakis Lazopoulos remarked at the end of his «Al Chanderee News» show on Tuesday night. Lazopoulos was referring to a decision by the parents and guardians’ association of a primary school in the Athenian suburb of Aspropyrgos to separate Gypsy children from their «normal» counterparts. The most touching point in the show was when a Gypsy girl recounted her experience of going to school and being turned away because «our kind are dirty.» The girl’s broad smile was a stark contrast to the bitter expression of the association spokesperson. The most tragic aspect of this story is that it was neither the teachers nor the state who barred these Gypsy children from the school but the parents of the other children. And the parents who send their children to the Aspropyrgos school are not among those who have managed to improve their quality of life; indeed most of them are poor – people who are looking down on people less fortunate than themselves. A satirical program cannot solve our social problems but it can contribute to sensitizing the public to them. In this capacity, Lazopoulos really shines.