Thursday, May 21, 2009

Antonis Samaras spells out a new vision for all

The increasingly partisan, bland and self-defeating rhetoric of Greek politicians; particularly on domestic issues, is not a primary concern of Antipodes. However, the Greek Minister of Culture, Antonis Samaras recently made a very noticeable speech at the conservative think-tank, the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute of Democracy, regarding the “Challenges and Prospects for the EU”. Excerpts from the speech were published in an article in Eleftherotypia and are translated below:
Until recently, some have identified Europe with its bureaucracy. They had even identified that Greece had to be subjugated to European-bureaucracy in order to undergo “modernization”.

”They told us, in order to become “more Europeans”, we must be “less Greeks”. Supposedly, we had to eliminate our Greek identity in order to gain “European consciousness”. Now, after the [financial] crisis, we probably recognise the opposite: We have to become more demanding of ourselves, as Greeks, to become Europeans”.

Mr Samaras said that patriotism is a precondition of social cohesion, confidence, security and peaceful cooperation with other nations and said that if we ever lose our national identity we will become a patchwork of regionalism without jointrelations, without coherent linkages, without solidarity between us.

"Those who consider national consciousness and our collective identity “κουσούρι” are wrong! A very serious mistake. And these people stand in stark contrast with the overwhelming majority of the Greek people which will not negotiate or surrender their traditions, nor their culture, nor all those things which unite us over all those enturies” Samaras said. He added: “Our freedom and Greekness are are non-negotiable goods".

As John Akritas from Hellenic Antidote wrote, “not only is it a good speech from Samaras – Dragoumian in places – it is refreshing that such an ideological speech was made. Greece needs a vision, not someone whose raison d'être is to manage the crisis from day to day – like Karamanlis”.

We would go further than Samaras and propose that for any Greek living anywhere, whether it is in Greece, Cyprus, northern Epirus, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Ukraine or anywhere else, to be a good citizen of your respective country means that you have to be a better Greek. This is because Hellenic culture throughout its variegated history always aspired for universality and justice; therefore, making it applicable across space and time.

Antonis Samaras is a former Member of the European Parliament for New Democracy; part of the European People's Party. He was Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs in the New Democracy government of Konstantinos Mitsotakis (1989-1992). Samaras was considered a hardliner on the "Macedonian Question" and on other "national" issues, dreaming of an "Orthodox Axis" in the Balkans. After being removed from his post in 1992 over the Macedonian Question, Samaras founded his own party, "Political Spring", located politically to the right of New Democracy. Samaras caused the government's fall from power by leaving New Democracy.

Before the 2004 general election, Samaras rejoined New Democracy. In the 2007 Greek legislative election he was elected to the Greek Parliament for Messinia, and consequently resigned from the European Parliament. In January 2009 he was appointed Minister for Culture after a government reshuffle.

Source: Eleftherotypia, Antipodes

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