OPINION

Why the hatred and fighting?

In the 1948 film «The Germans are coming,» Christos Tsanganeas, in the role of a harmless half-wit, asked, «People, why the hatred and fighting?» He was referring to the divisions that broke out after the occupation and eventually led to civil war. At the time the film was made, the scriptwriters hesitated having a person of sound mind ask this question and preferred Shakespeare’s method of getting a fool to express what was then a dangerous truth. These days, however, it is difficult to understand – and even harder to empathize with – the ideological and political hatreds bound up in the accusations being flung back and forth between the two main political parties. Over the past two days, PASOK leader George Papandreou has barely stopped short of calling the prime minister a crook; the government has accused him, in turn, of making political mischief. Two years ago PASOK accused the ruling New Democracy party of embarrassing the country by revealing the economic intrigues of previous governments. Yet in order to claim that ND has been committing the same offenses, PASOK has invoked a recommendation by Eurostat that governments record military expenses upon delivery of equipment instead of when the order is placed, as the current government has been doing. Is it not servile behavior to invoke a ruling by an EU body in order to criticize a government decision? Didn’t PASOK rejoice along with the «entangled interests» when the European Union rejected ND’s law on media ownership? When our two main parties accuse each other of more or less the same thing, the public will not blame one or the other, but will see that the would-be dispute is not due to political differences but is a question of management. So the hostility is not only unconvincing but raises further questions as to our political leaders’ essential credibility.