Getting the message

While dozens of candidates’ self-mocking smiles are still plastered on the walls, the parties’ deciphering experts are trying to decode the various political «messages» – that is, to mold them so as to suit the conclusions they had drawn long before the popular will was expressed. Suffering from the incurable «triumph syndrome,» all sides won – or, at least, they all portray themselves as winners and hijack words to make them conform to their desires, each picking the message that suits them best. As the saying goes, having eyes is one thing, while being able to see is quite another. However, what they all should be able to see, and must examine, is the sudden emergence and the striking showing by the fringe LAOS party, as well as its causes and consequences. Either with prolonged silence or cries (which are two sides of the same coin, that of self-interest), PASOK and New Democracy, those supports of the two-party system – confirmed once again – failed to prevent the rise of Giorgos Karadzaferis. He is now threatening to prosecute anyone who dares to criticize him, and will henceforth appear as the proprietor or representative of 14 percent of the citizens of Athens and Piraeus who proved susceptible to chauvinistic and xenophobic messages – even if they did so provisionally and in order to punish the conservative party. The emergence of a far-right movement in Greece, a phenomenon which already plagues many European countries, is not a matter for any one party. Nearly all parties include politicians whose rhetoric resounds with nationalist and racist ideas. This is not even a partisan issue but instead a political, social, and cultural one and, as a result, it cannot be cured with pleas. We can, of course, continue to turn a blind eye, trusting in our legendary anti-racist genes. But we should not miss the fact that no ostrich ever escaped by burying its head in the sand.