Catchy sound bites

One cannot help but comment on Mikis Theodorakis’s open letters. First of all, one is struck by the way in which he chooses to express his views on public issues: The famous composer sends his letters and public statements to prime-time television programs. He recently sent a letter to the late-night program of Makis Tryantafyllopoulos in which he complained about subsidy cuts to his orchestra. On Wednesday, he sent a public statement on the Macedonia name dispute to the satirical show of Lakis Lazopoulos. Theodorakis obviously knows where the mass audiences camp. He also knows how to blend the national with the beneficial, the common with the individual. And he obviously believes he has a duty to express his opinion on big issues. All is well, so far. However, one would expect that a major figure like Theodorakis would display a deeper understanding of the situation and what is at stake. Suggestions such us «Let’s shut down our borders,» or «the game has been lost, so let’s at least concede with our heads up» will serve no one. No national cause has ever been won with heroic failure or the suicide of the «lone, honest» man. After the fall, there’s only the end. But history has no end. Instead, persistence, resistance and tough bargaining can lead somewhere: You survive, you hope and you move on. Theodorakis’s artistic disposition often pushes him toward a sentimental, dramatic take on issues that demand cold blood and a hunter’s instinct, not the heroic-victim posturing. He ought to think again: You don’t call upon a people to fall proudly; you ask them to stand up proudly. For, after the fall, there is only ruins. And, similarly, you urge the leaders to stand up and act in a proud, responsible fashion. Otherwise, we’ll turn history into catchy TV sound bites.