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Author Topic: Metapolitefsi  (Read 642 times)

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Offline LiliasTopic starter

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« on: July 24, 2009, 06:19:43 AM »
I didn't even know Wikipedia had such a word, but then there's a lot I don't know.

The Metapolitefsi (Greek: Μεταπολίτευση, translated as polity or regime change) was a period in Greek history after the fall of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 that includes the transitional period from the fall of the dictatorship to the Greek legislative elections of 1974 and the democratic period immediately after these elections.

The long course towards the metapolitefsi began with the disputed liberalization plan of Georgios Papadopoulos, the head of the military dictatorship. This process was opposed by prominent politicians, such as Panagiotis Kanellopoulos and Stephanos Stephanopoulos. Papadopoulos’ plan was halted with the Athens Polytechnic uprising, a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta, and the counter coup staged by Dimitrios Ioannides.

Ioannides’ failed coup d’état against the elected president of Cyprus, Makarios III, and the subsequent Turkish invasion resulted in the fall of the dictatorship and the appointment of an interim government, known as the “national unity government”, led by former prime minister, Konstantinos Karamanlis. Karamanlis legalized the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and formed a new party named New Democracy, which won the elections of 1974.

(Despite this being an excellent abstract of the history behind the event, do go read the whole – long and comprehensive – entry here.)

It's been 35 years, and mostly everyone involved in those events has been long dead by now. Most people will know (and see briefly in the news) that there is a big reception held at the Presidential Mansion, and no party leader would dare not attend. But I don't think anyone who isn't old enough to have lived through the events will think of the significance of the day five minutes after that. I'm not even sure if that period is covered in history textbooks. Democracy is taken for granted. Well, not two full generations ago, there was blood in the streets in the name of democracy, its suppression and its restoration. Would I be a catastrophist if I said that such complacency towards an earned right is the first step towards that right being revoked? This is why I have issues with those who don't bother to vote – because they waive a right that their ancestors (in this case, the very recent ones) fought to secure for them.

I may have been too rattled by reading Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four back to back a few days ago, but still…

Offline Jude

Re: Metapolitefsi
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 07:03:53 AM »
I think celebration of Democracy/Freedom and respect of those who died to present it is respectable, but at the same time it does send the wrong message.

We pretend as if Democracy/Freedom is a innate right in America (we almost make it Theological)  and then we thank those who "give" it to us?  If it's an innate right, no one gives it to you, you have it because humans are supposed to have it.  In which case the function that the military serves is more of deterrence than giving you anything (i.e. more accurate to say war heroes died to stop people from trying to take your rights away).

It'd be nice to find some in between, some moderated position that recognizes that Democracy is a style of government that is maintained by more than just the military.  To be in a Democratic Society also has certain responsibilities that I don't think Americans take seriously either.  In a lot of ways I feel we idealize the military, build them up as the "givers" of freedom, then forget we pay taxes that funds their existence (which, in that way everyone supports the troops).  Not that they don't deserve more respect, I absolutely believe they do, but it sort of trivializes the role civilians play in holding it all together.

Democracy only works if the decisions being made by the citizenry are good enough to hold the country together.  And that only happens if the populace remains educated and engaged in the country's issues.  Saying "I support the troops" sounds nice and all, but if that's all you do and you don't vote, or do a poor job of it you're not doing your part.  If you want to be a good citizen you need to follow your government, know who does what, learn the big names and the positions on the federal and local level.  Follow the issues as they come.  Talk to your fellow citizens about your opinions.  Raise political awareness in this country.

From the perspective of a good portion of the country (I would say) Iraq has been an unnecessary strain on us, I think one which could've easily been avoided had people been more engaged in the political process after 9/11.  Wouldn't supporting the troops there have been keeping them from engaging in a war that resulted in loss of their lives and uprooting them from their home to fight, die, and live overseas in the desert hellhole that is Iraq?

All I'm saying is, rhetoric is good and nice.  "Respect", patriotism, etc.  That's fine.  However it's not as important as actually doing anything.  When I hear how few people can actually name any of the Supreme Court Justices, who the Democratic Majority Leader in the Senate is, etc.  It's horrifying.  Everyone's okay with having an uneducated opinion; few people take the time to take it seriously enough to actually pay attention to something more than petty news.  Learn statistics, learn facts, watch your leaders.  C-Span is boring, but at times you'll learn more from that than sitting in front of MSNBC or Fox.

Citizens need to do take their real responsibilities more seriously.