‘They put a chimpanzee mask on the statue of Andreas Papandreou’

Imprisoned then exiled by the Metaxa dictatorship; possible member of pro-democracy military conspiracy ASPIDA; imprisoned then exiled by the Colonels’ junta; author of Democracy at Gunpoint; founder of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK); founder of the National Health System; leader of a government of deficit and debt, patronage and clientelism, and rousfeti (reciprocal favouritism); leader of a government of budgetary control; not guilty of state embezzlement (thanks to his lawyer, his son’s austerity-minded finance minister Evangelos Venizelos); the most popular prime minister since the restoration of democracy…

[Updated with news and comment on 3rd March 2012]

He was quite a figure in Greek society. And, during the 19th February protests in Thessaloniki, ‘they put a chimpanzee mask on the statue of Andreas Papandreou [Έβαλαν μάσκα χιμπατζή σε άγαλμα του Ανδρέα Παπανδρέου]’ (via on-news).

Chimpanzee-masked Andreas Papandreou, Thessaloniki, 19th February 2012. (c) Seleo News

Update (3rd March 2012)

MediaStory explained that,

Probably influenced by the carnival atmosphere, some of our fellow citizens wanted to express in a crude way their resentment towards the politicians and the Troika!

They put a chimpanzee mask on the statue of Andreas Papandreou in Thessaloniki, offending the memory of the late father of former Prime Minister George Papandreou… If we expect to reverse the wrong policies with such actions, we will probably never manage to do it….(1)

When he posted it on Highlights News, Teacher (Daskalos) said only, ‘he who is silent, agrees [Ο σιωπών δοκεί συναινείν]!'(2)  But even those who were not silent still tended to agree.  Indeed, they were keen to go further: they advocated the symbolic destruction of political property; and they explained why.

One person demanded the people ‘destroy it, that thing is an embarrassment for Thessaloniki [γκρεμίστε το είναι ντροπή για την Θεσσαλονίκη αυτό το πράγμα]’. Another person argued that ‘the statue ought to be destroyed [because] it is known’, that is to say, for showing, ‘that we have statues to the people who destroyed Greece [έπρεπε το άγαλμα να κατεδαφισθεί που ακούστηκε να έχουμε άγαλμα στους ανθρώπους που καταστρέψανε την Ελλάδα]’. Yet another argued that ‘we must topple these statues… like they did to the statue of Saddam… [πρέπει να τα αποκαθηλώσουμε αυτά τα αγάλματα… όπως έκαναν στο άγαλμα του Σαντάμ…].’

One commentator felt Troktiko ‘ought to tell us where it [the statue] is found for us to go and demolish it [τροκτικό πρέπει να μας πεις που βρίσκεται κιόλας για να πάμε να το γκρεμίσουμε].’ Happily, another commentator obliged: ‘the Mineiko Papandreou statue [Το άγαλμα του Μινέϊκο Παπανδρέου]’ – a reference to the Papandreou-Mineiko dynasty – ‘stood at the entrance of the city of Thessaloniki from the airport, in the Votsi area of Kalamaria municipality, at the junction of Andrianoupoleos Street and Ethnikis Antistaseos Street at Ntalipi army camp [στήθηκε στην είσοδο της πόλης της Θεσσαλονίκης από το αεροδρόμιο, στη περιοχή βότσι [sic – Βότση] του δήμου Καλαμαριάς στη συμβολή των οδων Ανδριανουπολεως και Εθνικης Αντιστασεως στο στρατόπεδο ΝΤΑΛΙΠΗ]’.

Yet others seemed exasperated by the entire affair: ‘Here the son fucked whatever his father and grandfather did… Who gives a shit about a mask??? [Εδώ ο γιος του γάμησε ότι [ο,τι] έκανε ο πατέρας του και ο παππούς του… Ποιος χέστηκε για μια μάσκα;;;]'(3)

Original post

It is not clear whether it was a comment on Greek society in general; or a complaint that the Greek elite had ‘made a monkey out of’ Papandreou; or an attempt to ‘make a monkey out of’ him. At least one Anonymous (Ανώνυμος) commentator on the Anti-New World Order (Αντί-Νέα Τάξη Πραγμάτων) website made explicit reference to the ‘fucked-up film!!! The Planet of the Apes [Γαμάτη ταινία!!! ο πλανήτης των πιθήκων].’ Perhaps it was an oblique reference to the revolt in the Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

But even if it is an Apes reference, its point is not clear because, thanks to the Simpsons, the Planet of the Apes is now associated with the insistence that ‘you’ll never make a monkey out of me!’

Footnotes

1:

Επηρεαζόμενοι μάλλον από το αποκριάτικο κλίμα κάποιοι συμπολίτες μας θέλησαν να εκφράσουν με έναν άκομψο τρόπο την αγανάκτηση τους απέναντι στους πολιτικούς και την ΤΡΟΙΚΑ!!!

Έβαλαν μάσκα χιμπατζή σε άγαλμα του Ανδρέα Παπανδρέου στη Θεσσαλονίκη, προσβάλλοντας τη μνήμη του αείμνηστου πατέρα του πρώην πρωθυπουργού Γιώργου Παπανδρέου… Αν περιμένουμε με τέτοιες ενέργειες να ανατρέψουμε λάθος πολιτικές μάλλον δεν θα το καταφέρουμε ποτέ….

2: In modern Greek, it would be ‘Αυτός που σιωπά, συναινεί‘, or ‘Όποιος σιωπά συναινεί‘. It may be a translation from Latin, from either ‘Qui Tacet Consentit [silence implies consent]’, or ‘Qui tacet consentire videtur [he who is silent is taken to agree]’.

3: Others seemed to show at least some sympathy with Andreas Papandreou too. For example, Olympiada called Giorgios Papandreou “the person who managed to nullify an ancient dictum [that]… ‘the sins of the parents are visited upon the children’ [Ο άνθρωπος που κατάφερε να ακυρώσει ένα αρχαίο ρητό… το ‘αμαρτίαι γονέων παιδεύουσι τέκνα‘]”, because the target of the protest against Giorgos was the statue of his father, Andreas. (In modern Greek, it would be ‘τα λάθη των γονέων ή των προγόνων βασανίζουν τα παιδιά ή τους απογόνους [the errors of the parents or ancestors torture the children or descendants]’.)

Naturally, a lot of people shared tsortsil’s opinion: ‘An insult and attack! An unacceptable and reprehensible act. Respect chimpanzees! [Ύβρις και προσβολή! Απαράδεκτη και κατακριτέα κίνηση. Σεβαστείτε τους χιμπατζήδες! (YVRIS KAI PROSVOLH!!! APARADEKTI KAI KATAKRITEA KINISI. SEVASTEITE TOUS XIBATZIDES!)]’

That is a Greeklish ‘B [ΜΠ]’, not a Greeklish ‘B [Β]’. Otherwise, it could easily have been a reference to the Greek super-rich over-class of ‘ship-owners and [big-brand] yoghurt-makers and halva-makers and factory-owners and contractors who have yachts and haven’t ever eaten out at a little shop on the islands [εφοπλιστές και ΜΕΒΓΑΛ ΦΑΓΕ γιαουρτάδες και χαλβατζήδες και εργοστασιάρχες και εργολάβοι που έχουν γιωτ δεν έχουν φάει ποτέ έξω σε μαγαζί στα νησιά]’.

Some people are angry that ‘the Papandreous didn’t have food to eat before they got involved in politics and now they’re millionaires [οι Παπανδρέοι δεν είχαν να φάνε πριν ασχοληθούν με πολιτική και τώρα έχουν εκατομύρια ευρώ]’.

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