Oscar Wilde once said…

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all!

Quite recently, in a rainy afternoon another “academic” talk took place in the town. For the ignorant, I remind that what basically characterizes such occasions is the long preparation of the orator in order to avoid being embarrassed by his “leery” audience (a bunch of wiseacres) and in this sense to preserve the boredom of the speech. Although this particular talk, which was “surprisingly” dedicated to the Arab Spring, did not surpass the regular norms it accidentally contained something interesting.

During the event the lecturer referred to the scientific definition of “revolution”. The guy made a distinction between a revolutionary outcome and a revolutionary situation. Thus, and as long as I understood him properly, in the first case we have a radical change of the status quo, while in the second we have a struggle for its overthrow. The latter is being materialized by an on-going strife between two distinctive groups (pro and anti regime elements), but this strife exceeds the traditional limits of the accepted political controversy to the extent that the two opposing camps have radically different approaches in regard with the developing events around them. On this notion I was instantly alarmed due to the fact that the aforementioned model applies quite well to Greece. Although we have not reached the level of Syria, a place where people are literally divided into two information camps, it is true that Greeks are separated into those who (even silently) believe in the trajectory of the memorandum and those who claim that we have to disengage ourselves from it as soon as possible.

By the moment one sees the dialogue between Boyopoulos (prominent columnist of “Rizospastis”; official newspaper of the Greek Communist Party) and Argyris (MP of the PASOK ruling party) which took place recently on TV; he immediately understands the political dichotomy which characterizes our society. The particularly intelligent and lettered left-wing journalist depicts colourfully the prejudice of the government’s “solution” against the poor and powerless and thereafter explains convincingly why the people are rightfully getting angry. On the other hand, Argyris who is profoundly incapable of refuting the argument of his interlocutor, simply resorts to the basic government’s defensive which is always constituted by the theatrical and fake plea of a viable alternative.

Arguris’s narrative is not new; on the contrary it is as old as mankind. It is simply the narrative of the conservative man, the man who according to Elbert Hubbard is defined as somebody that is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run! In other words, nobody is born collaborationist, but if when it really matters we turn yellow all of us we could become one. In this respect, it should be reminded that General Tsolakoglou who served as a prime minister during the German occupation had previously given the same oath with Pavlos Melas; the iconic Greek officer who died in action (1904) after having created clandestine armed groups in the then occupied Northern Greece. And to be fair, back in 1941, when Tsolakoglou capitulated with the Nazis, perhaps he acted under the belief that there was no other option, perhaps he thought he was saving the country, as our present prime minister constantly claims. Yet, Tsolakoglou’s hypothetical good intentions were not enough to relieve him from the burden of treason. Through this prism, to attribute collaborationism to somebody is not hubris at all, on the contrary it is a legitimate, though strong, political ascription.

However the big question remains unanswered. Alongside with Argyris the rest of the government’s supporters, which in a way constitute the political equivalent of the part of the Greek society which remained silent or neutral during the German occupation and April’s coup (1967-1974 military regime), never cease to challenge the opposition for an alternative. Whether we like it or not, it is sadly true that so far the anti-memorandum arguments are not coming with a promising perspective. We miss the inspiration; we miss the thing whose shadow will make the regime to go and give up its “benefactory” work; we miss so far the thing which fits Oscar Wilde’s standards of danger; we miss the IDEA.

On this notion, it is legitimate for you to ask whether I have it or not. I am afraid I don’t, at least for the time being. However, as the French poet Paul Claudel once said nothing is more dangerous than the idea which nobody has. In other words, stay optimist for History will neither die nor end.

See you again after two weeks

Oscar Wilde

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