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And then the ‘clean ones’ ruled. And they stunk up the country more than the others had. And it all became a mess. In people’s minds, their souls, their slogans. The ‘democrats’ made up with the ‘fascists’. The ‘leftists’ with ‘capital’. ‘Crooks’ of all kinds made up with power. Whatever its colour. And so we arrived at the era that Missios [Translator’s note: Chronis Missios is a Greek author] predicted early on: “When I realised that I could not change the system, I began to fight to prevent it from changing me. I am fighting to stay human. And that is the ultimate political battle. To be able to avoid the barbarism of this era. To be able to remain human, to be tender. With your own gaze.”

But who is willing to hear this at a time when, in order to exist, to be visible, you have to stand on bleachers? To be a fanatic supporter and swear at those opposite you? To become, that is to say, a unit of a mob that is defined only by its opposition to at least one opponent. And not by the mirror that can also reveal our own ugliness.

And, just like that, we arrive at the dominant doctrine shared by all kinds of ‘guiders’: if at 60, 70 or even 80 you have renounced what you stood for in your 20s, you are a traitor, a cherry-picker, a sell-out. And it never even occurs to any of them that if in your 60s, 70s or even 80s you believe the same things and in the same people as you did in your 20s, it means that, in the meantime, you haven’t lived! You didn’t learn, you didn’t read, you didn’t question, you didn’t demystify, you didn’t experience, you didn’t torture yourself enough to be able to have your own opinion by the end of it. As opposed to the one imposed by the meat grinder of ‘influencers’ and their followers. [Translator’s note: Author refers to the backlash that followed statements made by prominent 78-year-old Greek singer-songwriter, Dionysis Savvopoulos, also known as ‘Nionios’, in favour of Greece’s centre-right New Democracy party in the run-up to the Greek elections]

The major task, therefore, is “to avoid the barbarism of this era.” And to be able to discuss freely, with composure, tolerance, mature thinking and lots of personal experience, with anyone who stands across from you and who shares the same attitude. With respect, with civility. And not to harass others about an opinion that – if you lived from your 20s through to your 60s, 70s or even 80s – you ought to know with certainty will be betrayed. To remain, damn it, a human being with tenderness…

I don’t know where and how this Athenian election mania will end. What I do know is that if we dig a little into our own hearts, we might finally “get out of this prison and meet our childhood friend at a small sea that will always be our summer.” [Translator’s note: Lyrics from a song by Dionysis Savvopoulos] Maybe then the squares will once again be filled with people rather than mobs…



Giorgos Kaskanis was born in 1964 in Nicosia, originally from Myrtou (Kyrenia). He studied journalism and worked as a political editor at newspapers and TV stations. As a journalist he followed and covered almost all efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem and published the book “When Spring comes, let the windows open” (2015). He currently works at the television station Alpha Cyprus as News Director.

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