The power of the truth

State television channels delivered the news with great pomp and zeal that George Papandreou had received a Quadriga award in Berlin on Sunday. But how many can share their enthusiasm for this award? How many – upon hearing the chief executive of Deutsche Bank AG, Josef Ackermann, praise the Greek prime minister for staying on the «right course» and not «mincing words» – cannot help thinking that Papandreou was rewarded for staying a course laid out and imposed by others, including German bankers and politicians, of course? Papandreou was awarded in the «Power of Veracity» category. But which Papandreou was being praised for his truthfulness, the pre-election Papandreou or the post-election Papandreou? Maybe the German award-givers have not been paying close enough attention to what has been going on over here. Those of us who live in Greece, however, have the ability, even the obligation, to search our memories and form our own opinions, which are, at the very least, entirely different to those of the Germans. For example, we remember Papandreou announcing with much glee during his pre-election campaign (when he had already been briefed on the state of the country’s finances) that there was money to be found and PASOK knew where to find it. We also remember Papandreou in the role of opposition leader lambasting New Democracy for selling off large state properties and Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou likening tax amnesty to highway robbery. So, today, the tax amnesty is well in place and investors from Qatar are looking over a deal to redevelop the former airport at Elliniko. Even after the election was won, we heard Papandreou promise that no measures would be taken that would harm the working classes and pensioners, yet they were. He also assured people that every decision would be open to public debate, and today we have even PASOK MPs complaining that they see some draft laws just hours before they are supposed to vote on them. How would the Germans know all this and, even more importantly, why should they care? All they want is to reward the Greek prime minister for his power of veracity, for his strength in adopting and sticking to his own political and financial truth. By rewarding him, they are, in a way, patting themselves on the back as well.

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