While it is true that today's enraged Greek citizenry had voted for the present and previous Greek governments, Vrasidas Karalis says, these administrations used pre-election campaigns to disguise their real policies. This he says was done with the assistance of the Greek media.
“The feeling of a generalised collusion in a cover-up makes the people feel angry and deceived.” (“Shaken to its ancient foundations,” The Australian Literary Review, August 2011)
…1974: political–media establishment takes power…
Mr. Karalis says this is the first time since 1974 that Greeks have come to realise they cannot blame anyone but their own political establishment. (When that establishment took power from "the Colonels" – the pre-1974 junta- they immediately and deceitfully engineered the removal of the monarchy as a check and balance on their illicit ambitions.)
“Under the notorious Andreas Papandreou — father and intellectual mentor of the present Prime Minister George Papandreou , “ he says ” the Socialists created the mentality of a country under siege; the sinister CIA was everywhere, the Turks wanted to occupy the Greek islands, the Israelis wanted to buy Crete, the Macedonians wanted to conquer Greek Macedonia. By fanning nationalistic feelings, especially when they were going bankrupt, the politicians deflected blame from themselves to others.”
At the outset of the present crisis, Mr. Karalis says Greeks had blamed the Germans, French, Americans, essentially, everybody but themselves.
“But as the crisis unfolded they understood something else was happening: their political leaders were either incompetent or willing participants in the problem.”
“So the crisis has had a long-term impact: for the first time since the restoration of democracy at the end of the military junta in 1974, the nation has understood that the political establishment led the country to bankruptcy because its members themselves were bankrupt.”
“Politicians think the country cannot exist without them; they don't have the decency or dignity to withdraw in order to make possible a renewal of political life. They feel democracy is a hereditary regime that belongs to them on the basis of their family name and fortune.
“The Papandreous are the Bhuttos and the Karamanlis the Gandhis of the Mediterranean: they think power belongs to them as a birthright rather than as a privilege based on individual merit or personal worth.”
It is worth reflecting on the events which followed the fall of the junta in 1974. The apparently pro-royalist leader, Constantine Karamanlis, had returned from exile to become Prime Minister. But his first principal act was to remove the monarchy – he clearly did not want the King playing the Greek monarch’s traditional role as a trustee for the people, acting as a check and balance on government.
A consequence of this treachery lingers today in the institutionalied corruption which Mr. Karalis finds is a feature of modern Greek political life. Without any check on them, the politicians even enacted a law which effectively ensures that all politicians are immune from prosecution.
…a politician’s double cross…
Although the 1973 republican constitution imposed by the junta was generally believed to be a sham, Karamanlis continued to operate under the junta’s constitution. This was as inconceivable as keeping Cromwell’s constitution on the restoration of King Charles II in England in 1660.
Karamanlis even kept the junta’s president, Phaidon Ghizikis, in office, at least for the time being. He clearly had an agenda.
Instead of observing the lawful pre-1973 constitution, Karamanlis then announced that a plebisicite would be held on the monarchy. Although he was the leader of the traditionally royalist party, he chose not support the King. Karamanlis had had a brittle relationship with Constantine's parents, particularly when Karamnalis was accused of being an informer for the Nazis during the Second World War.
By failing to defend the King against the patently unfair charge that he had supported the junta, Karamanlis placed the King at a serious disadvantage. He even refused to allow him to return to Greece during the campaign preceding the plebiscite.
For years before , the Colonels had conducted a propaganda campaign to damage the King, and now he was being blamed for the tyranny he tried to remove. And as the principal opposition party was also republican, it was not surprising that the vote to retain the monarchy was defeated.
The King, however, graciously accepted the decision.
…junta president hands power to Karamanlis…
The day after the vote, the junta’s President Ghizikis stood down and Karamanlis became acting President as well as Prime Minister. Although this lasted only a few days, the impropriety of one person holding both offices was glaring. An interim President was then elected by Parliament.
As Prime Minister leading an ostensibly centre-right party, Karamanlis embarked on a major programme of nationalising certain sectors of the economy.
Karamanlis subsequently twice became President, moving into what was once the Royal Palace. And having expelled The King there were no limits to increasing excesses of the Greek republican political class.
Such is the trust between members of that class that while the then elderly Karamanlis was President, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou divested the presidency of any residual authority derived from the monarchy to hold the government accountable for its actions.
In the meantime the republicans, restrained by international public opinion from shedding Royal blood, acted against the monarchy with a vindictiveness which was worthy of the French or Russian revolutionaries. Today’s disaster can in so many ways be traced back to the overthrow of the monarchy.
With that, all power has today devolved onto the power-hungry political-media class. Greece has been accurately descibed as a kleptocratic republic.
We can see the results today.