At long last… an apology

We have just heard an apology from the lips of a prominently public figure, who asked to be forgiven for failing to meet Greeks’ expectations of him. The apology did not come from Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis; the only time he has succumbed to the temptation and recognized, albeit very belatedly, that he was in the wrong was over the Vatopedi land swap scandal. And he practically received a standing ovation for it. Nor did the apology come from the lips of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, either generally for his party’s long period of rule nor for the involvement of certain PASOK members in the Siemens scandal. The two party chiefs, sure in themselves and in their belief that their respective party is the only one that can drag Greece out of the abyss in which it now finds itself (a demise caused by their own handling of affairs), appear confident of their infallibility. The man who apologized was pop singer Sakis Rouvas after failing to earn Greece a top ranking at the Eurovision song contest. Whether he was sincere or just trying to serve his personal interests is not the point. The point is that he stood against a long tradition of believing oneself beyond reproach and of cringing at the very prospect of having to say sorry. Our politicians, in contrast, in their more «human moments,» as we like to call those times when they are temporarily free of their oppressive role, seem almost masochistically eager to criticize themselves and their superiors. But, once their politician’s hat is back on, they forget all about apologizing and eagerly place themselves back on a pedestal. So far, there appears to be little prospect that the election battle will be fought on «political terms,» which was supposedly the reason why the prime minister shut down Parliament early. Instead, we are in for a lot of talk about the «dream» and the «vision,» but there will be no apologies, and not because Rouvas stole their thunder.