Friday, June 15, 2012

The Rise of Syriza.

That's the title of a BBC Assignment, by Chloe Hadjimatheou. You can hear the broadcast at the BBC website. If you are interested on an impartial view on Syriza (or if you are an Australian "journalist" desperately needing to learn how professional journalists work), you should hear it.

The written, somewhat abridged, version also by Hadjimatheou, is here.

Hadjimatheou openly admits she sympathizes with Syriza and its young leaders. For one, her candour is refreshing and most unusual. This, however, does not stop her from listening to Syriza critics and asking hard questions.

The 23-minute long radio show contains a very interesting passage. A "New Democracy loyal party voter" (whose name I intentionally omit here), harbours doubts on Syriza's sincerity and on the feasibility of their promises. This person asked Hadjimatheou to question Alexis Tsipras on the feasibility of Syriza's programme.

Hadjimatheou could not get an interview with Tsipras, but (18:36 minutes into the broadcast) asked Costas Isychos (a Syriza candidate):
Chloe Hadjimatheou: "I returned to the party headquarters but I wasn't able to put D's points to Mr. Tsipras because he's turned down my request for an interview. Instead I asked Syriza's candidate Costas Isychos [CY in what follows] whether his party is selling the Greek people a fantasy with the idea that they don't have to pay a price for their country's debts".
CY: "We are not promising the people that they are going to get everything back what they lost. They know that. They know that. But you have to promise dignity".
CH: "At the moment the EU and the IMF say if Greece doesn't carry out the austerity measures they're asking Greece to, they're gonna cut off your money. That's what they are saying".
CY: "The Europeans have been blackmailing us since the first day. This long... (unintelligible). They are playing with Russian roulette. They are going to kill themselves. They are going to destroy Europe".
CH: "Is Mrs. Merkel playing Russian roulette or is Alexis Tsipras? He's taking a big gamble with Greece. If it doesn't payoff, are you prepared to be the party that takes Greece out of the Eurozone?"
CY: "Alexis Tsipras is not gambling. He's being very truthful. He's telling the truth. He's talking about the human catastrophe, he's telling what's happening. That's why he is getting votes! This is not a question of deciding who has the correct figures in his own notebook. This is a question of answering to people's real problems, real life problems".
CH: "You are taking a gamble, basically, that Europe can't afford to let Greece go, aren't you?"
CY:  "We know the battle. It's not a gamble. It's a contest of ideologies, it's a contest of values, it's a contest of our truth and their truth. History shows that mostly David wins against Goliath."
Two questions/comments:
  1. Hadjimatheou asks what many have already speculated: is Syriza gambling? I've seen no evidence that they actually are; but I'll admit it, it's possible. However, a gamble always involves two parties. In an otherwise excellent work, Hadjimatheou for the briefest of moments contemplated that possibility (is Merkel gambling?) only to dismiss it later. Why?
  2. More to the point for common people, like me: should Syriza win, will they do a better job than the establishment parties? That's a hard question and it remains to be seen, of course. The other side of the coin is: can they be any worse than the charlatans who had ruined Greece? Here the answer appears much clearer: extremely doubtful.
But you be the judge. Good luck to Greek readers.

Further reading:
Helena Smith (21-05-2012). "Alexis Tsipras interview: 'Greece is in danger of a humanitarian crisis'". The Guardian.
Helena Smith (18-05-2012). "Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras: 'It's a war between people and capitalism'". The Guardian.
Andy Denwood (14-05-2012). "Profile: Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza". BBC/Radio 4.

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