Kairos n°8

By cutting ERT, the Greek public broadcasting service, the conservative-socialist-democratic government has sent a very clear signal. At 8 pm, the minister announced the closure of ERT and the dismissal of its 2700 civil servants and employees. At 24 hours, the police took away the main transmitter. No signal. Historians do not seem to find any precedent for this measure, even in the worst dictatorships. What monster are we facing? Some plead the error of analysis, the excess of neoliberal zeal, or something of the order of a blunder.

It should be noted, however, that this measure was requested by the Troika composed of supranational bodies (EU, ECB, IMF), represented by « very high level experts ». It is hard to imagine that all of them were simultaneously caught in the same carpet. Didn’t the Greek Prime Minister, A. Samaras, have a single advisor who could have whispered in his ear what it means to cut the public radio and television without notice? Didn’t his colleagues on the « left », who were so courageous as to not resign, see this coming either? As for the European Commission, which has « taken note » of this decision, it has not exactly fallen off its chair. That’s a lot to take in for a blunder. Especially since it is the logical continuation of the policy of brutality experienced in Greece since 2010.

In Ankara, Prime Minister R.T. Erdogan has decided to raze Gezi, a wooded park, the last green lung of the capital, to grow a commercial center. This « revitalization » of the Turkish city center did not convince its inhabitants who value their trees and who had no say in this concrete project. The violently repressed demonstrations turned into a massive social mobilization to the point of putting the Prime Minister in trouble.

ERT and Taksim have in common that they are common goods. Their fates were to be sealed by isolated oligarchies, which obey the laws of money and despise the most elementary democracy. In both cases, the reaction of the citizens was dazzling: a general strike in Greece, a social wave in Turkey. Since then, Erdogan, under international pressure, seems to have been forced to give up at least part of the project, while ERT programs are rebroadcast by satellite by the European Union and Samaras is forced to consider a partial reopening of public broadcasting.

A little bit of common sense, of common decency, prevents ankylosis in the face of the destruction of common goods. It is obvious that it is not acceptable to destroy at once, for economic reasons, something that is part of the collective wealth. This common sense constitutes a basis that remains indispensable to oppose the tearing apart of what is the foundation of our common humanity. Hurry, before common sense is also commodified!

Jean-Baptiste Godinot

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