Premature memoirs for Costas Simitis?

If former prime minister Costas Simitis wrote his recently published memoirs with the intention of making a contribution to Greece’s contemporary history, then he overlooked a golden rule for the genre. In order for someone to judge history in an objective and sober fashion (particularly if that person has played a leading role in it), a certain period of time should have passed, so that any passions or regrets have died down; only then can events be judged with the necessary perspective. If, on the other hand, the work by the former PASOK premier constitutes a critique of these still very recent developments (from the point of view of someone who was directly involved in them) then it is an undertaking that lacks any element of self-criticism – a crucial ingredient to convince the reader of one’s objectivity. In «Politics for a Creative Greece – 1996-2004,» it seems that everyone else is to blame, as if Simitis himself had not been actually leading the whole show but was merely a passive observer. This version of events also does an injustice to the former premier, who actually did some good for the country during his two terms in power. But whatever conclusions one draws from Simitis’s work, the 18 months that have passed since the last general elections and PASOK’s crushing defeat is just not enough time for him to attempt an objective evaluation of developments and of his own role in them.

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