You might have scratched your head a few times in the past wondering why news about me and my new home country wasn’t more forthcoming. Why wouldn’t I write about what was going on in this country? Something must be happening here, won’t it? Why didn’t you hear my perspective on these events?
Indeed stuff happens here, just in the last 6 months, we had a major inferno at the end of the summer, when that was under control more or less, there would have been enough articles about the way the Greek government handled the restoration of those burnt acres and acres of mostly woodland, then we had a real Colombia-style bunch of drug lords that had been operating in my back yard for years (Google Zoniana), then the Archbishop of Athens-and-all-Greece [sic] became diagnosed with cancer which caused a major upheaval in a country where the Orthodox church is very much part of social life, and to top it off, we now have a major soap opera going on about a mr Zahopoulos, secretary general of the ministry of Culture, who jumped off the balcony of the 4th floor the day after resigning from his post, when it is found out that there is a compromising DVD floating around with him and a female collaborator in bed scenes. But that turned out to be just the top of the iceberg because there is now talk about millions of euros in corruption related affairs linked to that ministry and possibly mr Zahopoulos himself. These are the topics that are in the news on a daily basis, for weeks on end, multiple times per day even, showing the same images over and over again, in the same news edition mind you…
Enough stuff to talk about, isn’t it? Juicy stuff even. Enough material to form a perspective, wouldn’t you think?
The problem is that my Greek is not good enough to discern any perspective in these matters. Simply put, I don’t know what the @#$% is going on. I try to keep informed through the sparse English language news sources, but that’s no piece of cake either. Just to give you an example of what I’m up against: hereafter you see a summary as I copied it from the National Radio & Television (ERT) agency’s website, who offer “the news in 8 languages”.
> ### Politics
> * In a Positive Climate
> * In View of Personalising Indictments
> * Papandreou-Venizelos Meeting
> * Completion of Indictments
> * Cyprus and Patriarchate
> * Fresh Poll
> * Lawsuit against all Responsible
> * Major Statements
> * Karatzaferis Press Interview
> * Criminal Proceedings Taken
> * Karamanlis-Erdogan Meeting
> * New Electoral Law Discussed in Parliament
> ### Society
> * Dead Man in Schoolyard
> * Rainfalls, Snow and Strong Winds
> * Large Areas into City Planning
> * Education Minister on Tour of Epiros
> * Criminal Proceedings for the Ambush
> * Difficult Hours for the Archbishop
> * Sailing Banned
> * Mother Throws her Baby to the Bushes
> * On the Upgrading of Transport
> * New Plan for Old Cars’ Withdrawal
> * Release of ERT’s Social Account
> * ERT Social Review
What am I supposed to learn from “In View of Personalising Indictments”? What is that about? “Major Statements”? No doubt, about what? “Criminal Proceedings for the Ambush”? Sure! But we are still “In a Positive Climate”, that at least is reassuring. The best one is “Lawsuit against all Responsible”, Jesus, God forbid that anyone would be responsible or Responsible! Let’s slap all of them with a lawsuit! Mind you, before you make any mistakes, this is in the English language section. I don’t know about the translator, but a headline writer he is not.
And then there are the articles proper. I can’t make head nor tails of those either. I’ll give you the one that tripped me up in trying to write something about this Zahopoulos case. It’s under the illuminating headline of “In View of Personalising Indictments”. Sigh.
> The Examiner is preparing the bill of indictments on Zahopoulos case, while indictments on joined attempted blackmail and violation of the law on personal data will be personalized in the first ten days of February.
> Journalist Themos Athanasiadis will testify before the Examiner on Friday, following Mr Triantafyllopoulos’ charges against the ND (Conservatives) MP and Head the Special Audits Service Spyros Kladas. Meanwhile, ND MP Kostas Koukodimos has rejected allegations on a transaction proposal between the Special Audits Service and Mr Triantafyllopoulos. Meanwhile, the editors of Proto Thema newspaper will testify before the Prosecutor today on publications related to subsidies channelled to the Athens Concert Hall. At the same time, the Head of the Court of First Instance has ordered an urgent preliminary examination on Chios-Kabourakis dialogue. In parallel, the Special Audits Service is examining data related to Mr Anastasiadis’ 5.5 million euros and the memo on the origin of this sum, submitted on Wednesday.
> ### Koukodimos’ Denial
> ND MP Kostas Koukodimos answered through Mr Triantafyllopoulos’ programme on statements about his involvement. In his letter dated 23/1, he confirms that he has a friendly relationship with the journalist and a meeting held in his house. However, he rejects allegations as per which he had any involvement with charges launched against him.
> After a telephone conversation Mr Koukodimos had with the ND Central Committee Secretary Yiannis Tragakis, in which he assured him that he had not been involved in the case, the ND party expected him to issue a written announcement.
> Meanwhile, ESIEA (Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers) has denounced the recording of the conversation between the two journalists, adding that a journalist’s deontology is being violated when an interlocutor is not aware that he is being recorded.
Now, chew on that one. Go on, chew a bit longer. Thy chewing it over once more. Maybe you can give me some perspective here. I might be too thick too understand most of this. On the other hand you would think that a respectable institution like the State Television would have the means to hire a translator who is a native speaker, preferably one with some journalistic skills. In English, bien entendu!
You see my problem of developing any perspective and presenting it to you? It will be another 10 years before I master enough of the Greek language to do that, if ever!
Till then, Criminal Proceedings Taken!