Persona non grata: George Papandreou in Edinburgh

Posted: May 16, 2013 in news, opinion
Tags: , , ,


GAP unwelcome

On the 11th of June, George Papandreou, the former Greek Prime Minister who led Greece into the arms of the IMF has been invited to the TEDGlobal 2013 conference in Edinburgh. According to TEDGlobal, he is supposedly going to “draw lessons from the Greek debt crisis”, however, he is the very same person that during his premiership led Greece to an extreme humanitarian crisis.

Papandreou and his government neither “inherited a deficit” as described in the TED website, nor did he enter Greek politics in 2009. He has been an instrumental piece of the political system responsible for the current situation in Greece. He was first elected to the Greek parliament in 1981 and became a member of the central committee of the ultra-corrupt Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) founded by his father, which has been in power in Greece for 21 years over the last 3 decades. He has also held the positions of “Minister for Foreign Affairs” and “Minister for National Education and Religious Affairs”.

He won the general elections in 2009 by promising an end to austerity and measures that would encourage growth while denying that he would appeal for a loan to the IMF. Four years and three memoranda later, Greece’s debt continues to rise despite all declarations. The debt crisis has turned into a humanitarian one with over 21% of people living under severe poverty, a dramatic increase in unemployment (over 55% for the youth)[…] and a 300% increase in suicides. It has also turned into a crisis of democracy with state repression reaching new highs while nazi gangs terrorise, attack and even murder immigrants and activists. In line with all the previous, Greece’s assets are now being privatized for scandalous amounts. The plunging cost of acquiring public wealth and the decline in wages means that the domestic and global super rich ruling classes responsible for the crisis are now actually profiting from it!

At the same time, Papandreou continues to support the neoliberal policies that led to the current situation and travels around the world in luxury giving speeches on the “lessons learned from the Greek crisis”. This is an insult to those who have learnt the “real lessons” from the crisis. All those who have been stricken by the rise in unemployment, the reduction in pensions, the collapse of public welfare, those forced to emigrate.

We will keep fighting for a life of dignity, against the memoranda and the governments who impose them.

We demand that the TEDGlobal conference organisers remove George Papandreou from the speakers list.

  1. brexians says:

    Reblogged this on Νότια του Βασιλείου της Δανιμαρκίας and commented:
    αρχισαν τα οργανα !

  2. Tassos says:

    Hello. The link for the petition is not working.

  3. Makis - Greece says:

    This is what you call “real” Democracy? Collecting signatures to prevent someone from delivering a speech? Did you notice that all the far-right sites & blogs in Greece, including your fellow Golden Dawn party are reproducing your “real” democratic values?

    Congratulations for the hate speech and the qualitative “democracy” that you dream.

    • Richard says:

      Makis – To be devil’s advocate. I get the point you are making but there is one fatal flaw in your argument. You bring politics into a petition which has nothing to do with government. It is one private entity trying to pressure another private entity to do something. There is no threat of violence involved, ie government is not being asked to do anything here.

      Also there is no hate speech in this petition.

      • Makis - Greece says:


        I wish is was like that. Everybody knows that “Real Democracy” is associated with a specific political party, namely SYRIZA. And everybody knows which individual person from SYRIZA is urging this kind of pseudo-activism. In any case, I cannot see where democracy is hidden in this petition. A former Prime Minister is invited to deliver a speech and some Greeks, not natives, try to stop this. In which democratic theory or practice is this allowed?

        Furthermore…wait and see if there will be any threat or any attempt for violence when Papandreou will be in the city. Then we will see. Because we all know their past.

        Do you want a prediction? 2-3 persons from Real Democracy will enter the TED Conference they will start shouting, Papandreou will tell them “come to talk with me”, of course they will deny and they will not stop shouting until the security gets them out. We have seen the same play many times Richard.

  4. Costantinos says:

    All this doesn’t change the fact that he is not welcome. after playing an instrumental role in destroying greece’s economy, he now travels around the world proclaiming that he did right by he’s conscience and that he actually helped our beloved country. even if the only result of this petition is just to make him aware that he is not respected OR welcome this is a petition i will gladly sign. unfortunately, this is one of the few things people can do to protest to what has happened in Greece. He is not a saviour and he shouldn’t not be traveling around pretending to be one. He is a TRAITOR and he should at least have the decency to make himself invisible. because, unless there is someone who is willing to make the sacrifice and invade the parliament and shoot each one of the 300 traitors, there is no justice and nothing we can do.

    • Makis - Greece says:

      Dear “Real Democracy” admins. This is the kind of people that you attract with your petitions. Like Constantinos above. People of the far-right, who discovered “traitors” etc. From the whole South which is in trouble we are the only ones – smart and educated like Constantinos – who discovered “traitors”. I am sure he also believes that somebody is atomizing us with gasses…

      Are those people really your allies in your effort? This is what you call Left?

  5. αnast says:

    just read the comment by Constantinos that is following, and you will underastand how wrong you are when you say this is not a ”hate speech”

    • Richard says:

      Obviously Constantinos is wrong in calling for violence of any type. If you ignore his last sentence everything he wrote is correct and I have not met anyone in Greece that disagrees ie that Papandreou destroyed the economy whether it was through complete incompetence or deliberate.

      • Makis - Greece says:


        In which democratic regime, in which theory of socialism or leftism, in which progressive ideology is someone justified to prevent a person from speaking? You might disagree with him but no one has the right to prevent a person form expressing his or her opinion. You might also oppose your arguments against him. But organizing this kind of activism is something that really caused serious problems in the Greek Left in the past. It is really really sad to see some people who call themselves democrats to organize stuff like this. It is certain that those practices will return and bite the people which support it.

        Good luck to your fascist path.

  6. efista says:

    If Mr Papandreou has the right to speak then i suppose i have the right to somehow express my dissatisfaction. The petition doesn’t demand it just express the dissatisfaction of thousands of people and is trying to make TED organisers take this dissatisfaction into consideration.

  7. Makis-Greece,dont lie to as.You are Papandreu,arent;you?Any way,Papandreu is a part time politian in Greece.He spands,most off his time,giving worthless speaches traneling arround the world.He admited it by sending a letter to the president of the Greece parliament.Off course i am strongly positive to let him speak.Give hin the opportunity to discribe himshelf as the worse Prime minister in Greece,ever!!!

    • Makis says:

      Great. So let him speak and prove he is the worst. But collecting signatures to prevent ANY person from speaking is FASCISM.

      But it is also funny. Almost 10.000 people signed and 99,9% is from Greece. Greeks located in Greece sign a petition for GAP to be considered persona non grata in…Scotland…

      • Jim says:

        Re sy Makis enough with the fascism argument. A vote is an opinion. When you suppress opinions you lead to fascism. When you vote in any election date, what you actually do is to prohibit someone, among other things, from being able to speak to the parliament. So, in your opinion you are a fascist every time you vote.

      • Richard says:


      • ipolis says:

        I simply think Jim and this other guy are idiots, I cant explain. They try to convince us that voting is fascism. You guys under the influence of any type A drugs?

      • Richard says:

        You need to re read what Jim wrote and take some time to think about it.

  8. George Georgades says:

    Our president Nikos Anastasiadis made the same promises to get elected and the next day he did exactly the opposite. I guess he will also give lectures in the furture on how to betary your country.

  9. efista says:

    I have every right to speak against Papandeou. I am one of the victims of his policy here in Greece. I’m jobless for more than three years. I have no income at all but Papandreou is free to travell around the world making money out of my misery which he is responsible for. Please stop calling people fascists because we are not. Stop putting labels on people you haven’t ever met. If democracy means Greek people have no right to speak but Mr Papandreou has every right to then i rest my case. And yes we’ll grap the opportunity given here if this means that our voice will be heard around the world and we send a message loud and clear. Greek people suffer but no one seems to pay attention. No one seems to pay attention that we were stollen the right to live. All you care about is Papandreou’s rights and his feelings. And i can only wonder why he can freely enjoy democracy but i can’t?

    • ipolis says:

      Get a life man! Papandreou was up there for two years, I guess you found work with Samaras and co.

      • efista says:

        I would have a life if Mr Papandreou and Samaras and many other greek politicians had done the right thing for their people the last 40 years in Greece. All i can say given your attitude towards s’one who is one of the thousands of the victims of economic crisis’ in Europe is that you still have a life and that is why you think that all this is pointless or even stupid.

      • ipolis says:

        There are millions without work across Europe. What you try to say is that you will not get a government job anymore and you will have to stop drinking Frape and enjoy those Gucci handbags. These people you condemn are still in power, why? They were voted democratically so you have no right to denounce them. Do a revolution, what happened to “Aganaktismenous”, after Papandreou fell, they disappeared. Which leads me to a conclusion that Media is controlling the hearts and the minds of Greek people and this is down to lack of proper education. In other words, we should not pinpoint the problem to few men, as you lot are doing, but to the people who voted for them, in other words your father and mother and many other Greeks.

      • efista says:

        My dream has never been to work in public sector as you say and it isn’t my dream now. I had a job in private sector for 15 years but the company closed down due to the economic crisis. Furthermore you say things about people you have never met and that is not right. Putting labels on a whole nation isn’t right or fair either. However i can understand when you say that it was and still is in our hands to change things and replace all those politicians who are responsible for what is happening. And i agree that many greeks, mainly older people have to change their attitude and try to put public interest above everything and vote having that in mind. However i can’t not denounce the fact that politicians are mainly responsible for what is happening. They lied, stole, and misled greeks who believed them but i hope and want to believe that greeks have learned their lesson and will be more carefull in the future.

      • ipolis says:

        I am not defending any politician, I am questioning your motives for accusing only Papandreou, not letting him speak, which is blatant fascism. I think you label Papandreou, I don’t see you going after Karamanlis who was 5 years in charge before he run away as he was a coward. He is hiding while the other one still fights on for Greece. Papandreou made mistakes but was present and still is. He gave you the right to actively decide about YOUR future with the referendum but you said NO! So, if someone you need to blame for the demise of Greece is yourself. This where you start.

  10. efista says:

    First of all Papandreou is not the only one i put the blame on. I would have done the same thing if there was a petition against Samaras, Karamanlis etc etc. They all are responsibile because when they had the chance to tell the truth to greeks they chose not to. Karamanlis got down the easy way and just resigned as you say and then Papandreou lied by saying that Greece has money while he pretty well knew there was no money at all. He had secretly discussed the whole situation with IMF and we all know that is to be true as Strauss Kahn admitted himself. Samaras is not better either because all he was cared about is how he would get himself to be Greece’s prime minster. When he get there he forget everything and now he and PASOK are the best friends. As for the refendum let me tell you that no one asked me what i wanted. In the end i have to tell you that i don’t agree that Ppandreou is present because he is never here, in Greece. He is travelling around the world lecturing while he should travelling around trying to get new investments in his country, in Greece so that people have a chance in finding a new job.

    • Makis - Greece says:

      @ Jim.

      If I create a poll and suggest your prohibition from living in Greece and collect 10.000 people you will leave Greece?

      If I create a poll and suggest the shutting down of this site I am a democrat? And the “real democracy” admins (which I thank for letting me speak freely) will shut the blog down?

      Get serious guys, you come from a country that gave birth to Democracy and you can’t prevent someone, or try to prevent from speaking.

      • Richard says:

        Makis – Not with the use of physical violence (implied or actual), that would be immoral. Only a government can/would do that.

      • Eos says:

        Makis, Jim didn’t sign any memoranda and this blog hasn’t, as far as I know, been one of the responsible for the humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Greece. So your examples for creating polls etc are just not valid at all. If you take a look at the latest posts of the group, maybe you will understand why they don’t want Papandreou to speak, under the specific title. They are not planning to throw any rotten tomatoes to him, but they’ve written they’re political opinion and objection.
        In any case, Papandreou is going to talk on the 11th of June, so no fuss caused by this “fascist” group, as you call it.
        It is absolutely right to say your opinion but you have been trying to convince us for the last 20 days and still you haven’t….

      • ipolis says:

        I do not see raising any polls for Karamanlis!! Oh, I forgot, he is not invited anywhere!! Why would he? What about Samaras, are people happy with the Greek troika? Grekk troika is now Right wing-Socialists-left wing!!! You are now happy and with a lot of work available? Now justice has been restored? I heard Kammenos has to pay 30,000 Euros to Antrikos Papandreou for falsely accusing him of fraud! Court order!!!! Happy for Greece, everything is fine now! No suicides, no starving children, medicine for everyone, hospitals have doctors!! Thank you Samaras-Venizelos-Fotis…..

  11. efista says:

    Ipolis i don’t understand what is your problem with this pettition? Are you defending Papandreou because you think that he is not the only one to blame? Because you think it is unfair to Papandreou while there are many others who are equally responsible for the crisis in Greece but they are not criticised enough or as hard as Papandreou? Do you really believe that Papandreou did his best for his country and so the critisism he is recieving is not right and is not fair either? As i wrote in my earlier post Papanadreou is not the only one to be blamed for the crisis in Greece and i think we both agree on this. Anyway you can raise a poll yourself and make a call and let me tell you that you will be surprised by the huge participation. Papandreou is not a saint and Samaras-Venizelos-Fotis and many others before them are not either, that is for sure..

  12. Real Democracy Now Edinburgh [GR] says:

    Apologies for any inconvenience caused, but any comments insulting the group as whole, members of the group or other people commenting will be deleted. Please feel free to express and defend your political opinion, but without giving labels and characterizing people that you don’t know.

  13. diamind says:

    Re your discussion above about whether or not P. should be invited or disinvited to do a TED talk (which is a particular kind of public platform), I offer this:
    I found the Papandreou Ted talk on Le Monde news site, listened to it.
    Then I found your site for the first time while browsing Indymedia.
    Many many more people have already found P on TED than are going to find this site.

    I know little about Greek politics and must be guided by what I can find in English.
    P has an advantage in speaking smooth American English, and this website has an advantage of good English too – “advantages” only in a world where opinion from outside the country is sought, for various reasons.

    So, I think there is a difference between not wanting someone to speak and not wanting them to speak on a media platform which has its own promotion mechanisms, which implies. representativity on the part of the speaker, and which will vehicle the message to a very large (and international) audience. (At which point I become more interested in the politics of who selects TED speakers than in Greek politics.) “The Media” in the sense of mass media is inherently undemocratic. It is not a platform we all have access to.

    But now that shutting down media has also happened in Greece, it is a very pertinent question what part “the media” plays in the formation of government. In a world where foreign intervention happens, foreign perceptions of internal politics, including erroneous perceptions, ARE important, sadly. So I think the question of “allowing someone to speak or not” needs to address – who chose them to speak? is it a (metaphorical) megaphone they are using to speak? what will be the consequences of that person speaking louder than other voices? Is the timing of the speech act crucial – does it tip a balance somewhere.

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