OPINION

The gag of political correctness

For the past 25 years or so, a very singular form of McCarthyism has prevailed in our country. It has become difficult to express nonconformist views on certain serious issues. And those who dare to challenge politically correct stances are showered with curses or, worse, insinuations. Classic examples are the post-1974 myths about the Cyprus problem and the institution of university immunity. I remember preparing a documentary about 1974. The script included a speech – unknown to many – by Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios to the United Nations Security Council. Makarios made the speech following the Greek military coup against him, appealing for the intervention of the guarantor powers of the Zurich Agreement to reinstate the status quo on Cyprus. This coup prompted Turkey’s invasion of the island. When the news editor of the television channel read my script, he declared: «We can’t use this. It will cause a fuss.» However much I insisted that it was Makarios who had made the statement and that it was historically significant, the veteran journalist remained unmoved. «These things are not said. We had better just forget about it,» he said. At the time I saw this as a small spat with a colleague who had certain fixed ideas. Now I realize I was up against a whole culture, a by-product of post-1974 populism. Then I could not imagine who would object to the average Greek getting a better insight into what happened in 1974. Now I know that there is a whole industry hiding behind cliches and taboos, cursing anyone who dares to think differently. It is this logic that has created a society where the right is afraid to say or show its right-wing convictions and must attend memorial services and photo shoots with leftist MPs in order to banish the past’s demons.