The judges of our patriotism

Those who believe patriotism is cultivated through parades, marches, fiery speeches and battle songs clearly have very little respect for this nation. In defiance of common sense, they fail to grasp that anyone can be a patriot, even if they have never hoisted a Greek flag on their balcony, have never set the national anthem as a ring tone, have never used the pole of the otherwise sacred flag to assault foreigners or have never waved a plastic Greek flag at a party rally only to coldly discard it once the staged show of patriotic fervor is over. However, these are precisely the criteria applied by the self-appointed judges of our patriotism, who have simply fallen victim to their own arrogance and narcissism. And while they claim to be the true heirs of the nation’s heritage, they see no paradox in rejecting a major part of that same heritage, namely democracy and isegoria, or equality of opinion. They are on the side of Alexander the Great, not Cleisthenes. This is why they attack those who dare question the dominant ideology – that of nationalism – branding them «bums,» «fools» and «scum.» Patridokapilos, meaning a person who uses patriotism to achieve their own goals, is a relatively new word in Greek. The phenomenon however dates to before the time of Aristophanes who made it an object of his satire. The «traders» of our nation tolerate no reservations or disagreement. In fact they care little for the cognitive process itself, nor the very existence of others. They’d rather turn the country into a fortress with themselves as undisputed leaders of disciplined masses. They dream of a society in khaki. And when they stress that it was Ioannis Metaxas, not the people, who shouted «No!» to the Italian fascists, they simply wish to show how worthy Metaxas was, compared to the degenerate democracy. And this is far too serious a matter to be consumed as yet another harmless TV spectacle.