by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
We wrote about it again and again. Giorgos Mitralias has written about it before us in “contra-xreos.gr” and Giorgos Charvalias in the newspaper “Dimokratia”, and few others. Almost no one however, in the sinking Greece or in Cyprus, which are both now under threat of even bigger destruction, and no one among the grandiose members of the Greek-American community, seems to be willing to listen!
Bernie Sanders represents a great hope for Greece and for the whole world. We do not know if he can win against Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. What’s more, we don’t know if he could ever be elected US president or what he would do if he is ever elected. Sanders, unlike our own Greek politicians – those unbelievable hijackers of Left values and of the heritage of the heroic fights given by its partisans has repeatedly said that he will not be able to do anything unless the people help him do something. In fact, only the people do something, with his help!
But, in any case, the emergence, for the first time in many decades, in the United States, of a strong movement, opposing the omnipotence of the financial capital and the neoliberal economic model, a model already evolving into a kind of “destructive capitalism”, is something that should attract the attention of any thinking person on the planet. This is even truer for Greeks in Greece, in Cyprus and throughout the world, given that we are at the forefront of the attack launched by these forces and that our nation’s very existence and dignity are under threat. I wonder what we are waiting for, like the Rayahs of our history, before we finally decide to react. Are we going to wait until we become another Syria (in our case, by the use of economic and political methods) or until Greece is totally “squashed” and Cyprus is fully taken apart through a new Annan plan (as they already plan to do right after the Cypriot parliamentary elections)? It will be very late by then.
And yet, here we have, in the most powerful country in the world, a politician who, repeatedly and of his own accord, guided only by his political ideas and beliefs, has defended Greece in a way that no Greek politician has ever done, without expecting anything in return. By exposing the international financial system and the dreadful attack it unleashed against Greece, first directly and then by manipulating, in partnership with the German government, the rest of Europe to follow suit (1). But we, on our part, we remain simply indifferent to what is happening in the States with Sanders. Is there any chance that we will manage to save ourselves in this way? Absolutely no!
Sanders, the Middle East volcano and the fate of Europe
It’s not only his vision about the economy that should interest us. It is also his proposals about international politics, in particular about Middle East. Instead of him “worshiping” too the AIPAC, Sanders gave a historical speech about politics in the Middle East, declaring that he is proud that he opposed the war in Iraq and that Palestinians have a right to self-determination. He proposed cooperation with Moscow and moderates in Teheran for the stabilization of Middle East (2).
The possibility that Sanders will beat Clinton is considered rather small, though not inexistent. His campaign however has changed the terms of political debate in American politics. Some characterise what is happening in the US as a “political revolution”. It is the first time that someone – even if an “outsider” but acting within the realm of mainstream politics – offers a coherent alternative to the neoconservative politics of chaos and destruction. These politics have literally demolished the main countries of the Middle East causing untold suffering and misery to millions of people. Now we see their results exported to Europe through the refugee crisis, terrorism, the “clash of civilisations” project, the wars “against Islam” we are asked to fight. They want to use the results of such wars in order to provoke a “regime change” in Europe, destroying the heritage of Enlightenment and driving humanity into one of the darkest nights in its history.
Even Hitler, in the context of intra-war Germany, seemed to have some reasons, not justifications of course, for his terrible aggression and horrible crimes. Germany in 1933 was a destroyed, humiliated and exhausted country. The western victors of the 1st World War were trying to strangle it. Is there even a shadow of justification for what the US, Britain, France and other NATO states did in the Middle East during the last 15 years? What is the situation in this entire region today, after 15 years of direct and indirect interventions?
In fact, the paradox here is not that there are some Muslims who react in the ways they react; the real paradox is that they are relatively few! Nor do we have to become experts in Islamic, medieval theology, on Soufi and Wahhabi beliefs, to understand what is happening. Some empathy and sense of human dignity would suffice (3).
By the way the first thing we should do, if we are really interested in giving a fight and keeping our countries safe, would be to exercise better control on all the various “fractions” in our own security services, which seem to have developed a very “cozy” relationship with terrorists, in fact they have helped them a lot to become what they became. As for the refugee crisis, the priority should be to address the source of the problem, the fighting in Syria. It is again Paris, – under the seemingly absolute domination of neoconservatives, going back to the Sarkozy election – which is creating problems to a first agreement on Syria between Putin and Obama, as it tries hard, even now, to expel Assad from power.
Greece and Cyprus face today major problems which affect their “existence” and pose potentially the most significant threats these countries had to deal with over the last two centuries. The first has to deal with an “economic war” and the latter with a “geopolitical war”, while political and communication weapons are used against both. But even if their problems were to be solved by some miracle, there is neither an individual nor a nation that could ever have any future should the world continues to be ruled by the same forces which govern it now.
It makes no sense to suddenly start worrying about the symptoms, such as the refugees and the immigrants or the terrorists, when one remains indifferent to the root causes which generated them and continue to generate more of them.
Sanders and Greece
Yet, while all this is happening, few of the main “players” in Greece and among the Greeks abroad, show any interest in the case of Sanders. Our supposedly “left” government seems flattered by the attention it gets by some “clerks” in the Clinton “system” and by other, more obscure, international forces. The various self-proclaimed domestic “elites’, the great majority of the Greek media, the leaders of the Greek-American community do not pay any attention either to Sanders’ nomination to the US primaries. When anyone shows any interest at all, it’s rather for fighting it!
The so-called Greek-American “lobby”, not only did not rise to its feet to do everything it can to support the Sanders candidacy, but, as it appears, it supports Mrs Clinton against him (4).
Henry Kissinger – the “killer” of a Nation
A particularly ironic and tragic aspect of the story is that Sanders strongly criticized Hillary Clinton for her statement invoking Henry Kissinger as her mentor. Kissinger is one of “the most destructive figures in American history” said Sanders (5).
Kissinger is not just any random person in the history of Cyprus. He is in fact the perpetrator of the crimes committed against Cyprus, the organizer of the coup of 1974, of the attempted murder of Archbishop Makarios and of the ensuing Turkish invasion. (4) How could it ever be possible that Greeks would support the self-proclaimed student of Kissinger against the one who criticizes him? We are lost for words..
Greece, two countries in one
Time and again in our history, we witnessed the abyss between the Greek people and its supposed leaders and “elites”, a nearly permanent characteristic of our history and the reason behind the defeats of the Greek people..
It’s not that Greek and Greek–american politicians and the various figures dominating Greek “public life” cannot understand what is happening with Clinton and Sanders. They chose not to understand. Their interest – at least they way they understand their interest – lies elsewhere, in their pockets. They are after the “security”and, “protection” of their foreign “masters”, they are happy if they are allowed to worship them. They often forget that they themselves are also expendable!
Many years ago, Jean Meynaud, an important political scientist and biographer of Karamanlis, has described in amazement, the dominant mentality of Greek politicians, after the victory of the pro-western camp in the Civil War. As he wrote, it is not just that they serve foreign powers. They seem to spend all day striving to think of more ways to please them!
For a moment there, in 1974, and even more in 1981, we were under the impression that we had finished with all this. But there we are. Our past returning now even stronger to haunt us, perhaps in some other “postmodern” (for now at least) form and shape.
In fact, only a country that fights for its freedom, its independence and dignity would need voices, such as that of Senator Bernie Sanders. Now, such voices are rather seen as a nuisance – a reminiscent of the pride, we preferred to forget.
(3) For the role of Henry Kissinger in the Cyprus coup there is ample literature substantiating it. Look for instance http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/feb/26/extract.features11