Sunday, October 08, 2006

Una fatsa, una ratsa ?

It seems the more I see Panangiotis Psomiadis, (Παναγιωτης Ψωμιαδης) head of the prefecture of Thessaloniki, the more I'm reminded of another illustrious Mediterranean leader, The late, great Il Duce himself, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini.The comparison becames even more apparent when I saw Psomiadis give a speech this morning live on TV100. Both look back to ancient glories, both evoke with fiery rhetoric the bravery of patriots, both past and present.

Apparently, the only thing stopping the government in Athens gving away the whole of Northern Greece are fine patriots like Psomiadis, who with courage, faith and devotion are single-handedly defending Thessaloniki and Macedonia.

Of course what what he is doing is playing the national chauvanist card. Stung by the scandal and facing possible criminal charges over his dodgy political connections, he is doing what every self-respecting far right candidiate in trouble does: Suddenly, (re)discover enemies abroad and traitors at home. Whether they be Reds Under The Beds or the Elders of Zion, there is always someone who can be demonised and turned into a threat to the motherland.

BTW while Googling Psomiadis I came across this interview by Dora Kitsi-Makiridou a hard hitting journalist who writes for, not afraid to challenge those in power with tough questions such as;

"Your message to the city we love as it is our roots, our history, our home?"


"What do you admire in a person?"

Unfortunately, the interview which is hilariously sychophantic, is only in Greek. I will however translate the first paragraph to give you a taste. It's quite difficult to translate into comprehensible English as the original is so badly written.And boy, does she ever get her money's worth out of her Thesaurus.

"Λεβεντιά, χαμόγελο, ανθρωπιά!!Επιτυχημένος, σοβαρός, χαρακτηριστικός, χαρισματικός!! Μάχεται, μοχθεί, ακούει, μαθαίνει, συναντά, κερδίζει την εμπιστοσύνη, εργάζεται, εργάζεται!! Διοικεί!!Κάποιο Σάββατο, τον έκλεψα από υποχρεώσεις,«τον κ. Νομάρχη», τον δικό μας, αγαπητό και φιλικό, Παναγιώτη Ψωμιάδη, με σκοπό να γράψουμε μαζί, για την ζωή του, για τις προσωπικές ισορροπίες του, και τις απόψεις του, στο κάθε τι…Συναντηθήκαμε σε ένα καφέ, με θέα την θάλασσα, συζητήσαμε, περπατήσαμε, χαιρετήσαμε ανθρώπους…Την εικόνα του την γνωρίζετε, το έργο του φανερό, ποιος άραγε είναι ο επαναστάτης «άνθρωπος» που χάραξε πορεία για τον τόπο μας ;Κύριε Ψωμιάδη, ας ρίξουμε φως, στην προσωπική σας ζωή, και ας μάθουμε, τα μυστικά, τις ανησυχίες σας, την ζωή που καλά κρατάτε «κρυμμένη», μακριά από τα φώτα, μόνο για εσάς…."


Upstanding, a smile, humanity a successful, serious charasmatic, characteristic man. He battles, he toils, he listens, he learns, he meets, he wins people's trust, he works and works. He commands!!!!! One Saturday I "stole " from his duties as the mayor, our beloved Panagiotis Psomiadis in order to have him tell us about himself, the way he keeps his life in balance, and his views on.....everything.

We met in cafe overlooking the sea and we talked, walked,and greeted people. His image, you all know from his work, however, who is this "revolutionary" who has made a name for himself here in our city?

"Mr Psomiadis, lets shed some light on your personal life and lets learn your secrets, your concerns, the life you keep well "hidden", far from the limelight, just about you."


stergios said...

I am no fan of Psomiadis either, but he is a symptom of a very unpleasant situation here in Thessaloniki and the rest of Northern Greece. Attacking Psomiadis is not going to get any of us anywhere. Thessaloniki is a city with a great potential, but which is bogged down in underdevelopment and financial crisis for the last 20 years, at least. The official rate of unemployment is 19% (so go figure what the unofficial rate is) and the remaining workforce is being terribly underpaid. The government in Athens scandalously cares only about Athens, I think it is obvious... The rest of Greece is just as bogged, but the people in the rest of Greece seem to have given up hope altogether, all they dream of is a good life in Athens.
The solution to this problem would be the creation of a local party that would demand devolution of power from Athens, pretty much like the Catalans in Spain. But in order for that to be achieved, a healthy bourgeois/upper middle class is required, and there can be no such class if there is no economy. Psomiadis is taking advantage of the gap and he taps the popular discontent by creating a ruckus whenever he visits the ministries in Athens, and so on.
So, he is a symptom of all the discontent in Thessaloniki... Just like you or me, when we are full of rage and frustrated anger, we might bang our hand on the table and knock down grandma's old porcelain vase. It's the same thing, on a collective level.
Last but not least, Psomiadis is NOT Mussolini. This goes TOO far. He has never killed anyone and never started any war, like major icons of democracy such as Tony Blair, the thrice elected PM of Old Blighty. Psomiadis is a populist, not a war-mongering fascist. Let's do a reality check and keep everything in proportion.

teacher dude said...

First of all, I'd like to say thanks for your well -thought out comment. it was a pleasure to read and I'm flattered that you took time to read the blog. I think that we both have much the same opinion of Psomiadis.

I agree with your point that Psomiadis is not a fascist or a dictator (and I doubly agree with what you say about Blair). He has been re-elected in free and open elections by a large margin.

However, I do stand by the photos as there are meant to be satirical and so aim to make fun of a overblown, pompous political figure.

I wrote the post after seeing a particularly annoying and provocative speech that he gave.