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The tripartite coalition will not disintegrate easily

02 October 2012 / 21:10:39  GRReporter
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However, they do not meet the standards for balanced content of their own and European productions in their programmes, whether relating to their information or the entertainment side. So, they themselves undermine the end product.

Last week, the police apprehended a young man, just because he had uploaded a satirical profile on the social network Facebook. Is there freedom of speech in Greece?

I would say that it does not exist at all levels. It applies to many things, but apparently, some topics are forbidden. This anachronistic law, which hardly exists in any other European country, is still in force in Greece. Although most parties came out against the arrest of the youth, none of them proposed to cancel the law. So, there could be a new case after a few months and a new arrest might follow because police and prosecutors are obliged to observe the law. I think it's a question of political will. Many parties are not ready to confront the voices of intolerance. At the same time, many people are believers, but are against intolerance. I disagree that people who do not believe in God have no right to express their opinion. Otherwise, we will have no right to call Greece a European country; we should call it Iran instead. In this case, one of the parties has to take the necessary courage and propose cancellation of the law. It would be really interesting to see then who are those ready to say goodbye to some of their supporters and in what way.

All parties are afraid of the fate of the government of Costas Simitis in early 2000 when the Church organized protests against the decision to not state a person's religion on their identity card. Many commentators argue that the specific government fell because of its collision with the Church.

You are a director and a producer. What is your opinion about the film that stirred the spirits in Muslim countries, and how would you comment on this outburst of violence?

I watched a little more than half of the excerpt of the film uploaded on Youtube, but not consistently, because it is really terrible. Not only in terms of the propaganda it is making but as regards video quality too. This thing cannot be defined as a film, it's just ridiculous.

The main issue is that its creators had intended to cause confusion and this is quite clear. I am not in the position to know who would do this and why.

The film and the response to it were negligible. As far as I learned, it was shown in a small cinema in Los Angeles in the summer. There were 200 to 300 viewers at most. The big fuss came after an Egyptian TV       devoted hours to the analysis of this film. They had invited Muslim Imams - representatives of extremist Islam in Egypt to comment on it and they excited so many people that they started going out in the streets and demonstrating in a violent way.

Certainly, there is a confrontation between the extreme Islam and the West. Jihad, revolts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Arab Spring in some cases are associated with this conflict. The question is how to help moderate Islam to not give in to extremists. I have been following the developments in Tunisia after the first democratic elections. The government, which has formed, involves moderate and far parties. I often read calls for support from the president himself to the West because the danger for these countries to fall into the trap of extremism is significant.

This is a big discussion. It is surely necessary to raise the level of education and to improve the living conditions of the people there. The model of development, which they will choose cannot copy that of the West because the social and cultural conditions there are quite different. It is necessary to change things slowly. Otherwise, the threat of extremism is very serious.

But, after the arrest of one of the producers, the protests faded somewhat. The film was banned in some countries and the case will be forgotten at some point, without necessarily meaning that something like this will not happen again later.

However, when such a frivolous story goes so far as to threaten the peace of the world we understand how powerless the political departments of the states are sometimes. For several years, President Barack Obama has been trying to establish good relations with the moderate governments in Muslim countries but some strange guys made a poor quality film in the space  of a summer, thus cancelling out the entire US foreign policy. It sounds crazy, but this is what happened actually.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyTripartite coalitionProtestsYiannis Koutsomitis
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