To die for

In his «Oxopetra Elegies,» Odysseus Elytis wrote that «the truth is only given in exchange for death.» Recent events have confirmed his thoughts in reverse: The two near suicides, the two near deaths, seem to take us further from the truth instead of closer. The note by former Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos and the letter by Iraklis Koutelidas, a lawyer linked to the case who also tried to kill himself, to the media and two members of the LAOS ultranationalist party are as illuminating as the «clarifications» made by the head of the government’s press office Yiannis Andrianos. But that does not mean to say that what Koutelidas said («most of the media are trying to obscure the facts») is meaningless. Driven by their private objectives, most of the media have taken part in the case instead of reporting it. Taking advantage of the inertia of the three estates as well as the need for publicity that characterizes lawyers, police officers, forensic experts, doctors and so on, the fourth estate has once again turned its glass screen and headlines into a tribunal. Simple (but not so innocent) rumors were presented as unshakable evidence; intended leaks were presented as double-checked facts; classified documents were published before their authors had finished editing them. The motley crew that is being paraded across our television screens every night has been indulging in the same sordid spectacle as occurred during the crackdown on November 17, ruining the reputations of people who, even if they are guilty, still deserve a fair trial. The know-it-alls nod smugly to extract the viewers’ praise and serve their own interests. Only Koutelidas knows if he tried to kill himself after seeing his name vilified by the media. Being humiliated by the media has already prompted one person to commit suicide. And tough as this world is, the journalist that allegedly orchestrated the humiliation is now an MP.