The National Herald: No Choice
But To Promote Dictatorship?
REPORT AND ARCHIVE
By Nikos Evangelos
The sole daily Greek-language newspaper of New York, Ethnikos Kirikas (The National Herald), ran the following advertisement in its print edition on Sunday, April 21, 2013. On the 46th anniversary of the 1967 military coup d’etat in Greece, the ad extols the virtues of the CIA-backed dictatorship that held power from 1967 to 1974, and suggests that a return to such a regime would be a good thing:
Contrary to common newspaper practice, the ad ran without attribution. The photo shows the dictator and head of the colonels’ junta, Papadopoulos, saluting a crowd. (After the fall of the junta, Papadopoulos was convicted for treason and for many atrocities committed under his rule, and was sentenced to life in prison.) The insert shows the standard of the junta: an eagle or phoenix rising from a fire. The diagonal black banner proclaims that Papadopoulos has been “VINDICATED.”
Translation in full:
[“HE IS VINDICATED”]
LONG LIVE THE 21ST OF APRIL 1967
With our country in the midst of unprecedented economic crisis, institutional corruption, attacks against the Greek family, disquiet on every level of the community’s daily life, and the fragmentation of our national sovereignty, the work of the Revolution for National Salvation is vindicated.
NOW YOUR NAME WILL LIVE FOREVER.
Perhaps it is true that in the old days, before the crisis, this nostalgia for tyranny would barely have been noticed. In 2013, however, Greek democracy is once again in genuine peril. The possibility of a fascist dictatorship is no longer historical. And we have the Internet. A pdf of the page got around well in advance of the paper’s publication on Sunday. By Saturday morning, the offices of the E.K. in New York and Athens were bombarded with calls and mails of complaint. (We shall archive a few of these below, and add others as we discover them.)
By Saturday afternoon, in response to this author’s letter to the editor, I received a series of e-mails from two E.K. staff members, both of whom contradicted themselves. Veta Diamataris Papadopoulos of the advertising department first claimed the paper had no choice about running the ad, then suggested it had been published by mistake. An editor in Athens first denied that such an ad even existed. Eight minutes letter, she sent an apologetic correction, stating that the ad had indeed been printed and assuring that my complaint would be forwarded to the publisher.
On April 22, E.K. publisher A.H. Diamataris ran an editorial under his own name in which he unconditionally defended his publication of the advertisement:
Later, E.K. circulated an English translation of Mr. Diamataris’s article. This differed in several ways from the Greek. While this is not unusual editorial practice, a few of the differences are revealing. Here therefore is a more literally correct translation of Mr. Diamataris’s article. The bilingual are invited to check it carefully against the Greek version:
The Superiority of Democracy
By A.H. Diamataris
The pro-junta advertisement that appeared in our Greek language newspaper in the weekend Edition – which was once again published in our paper this year – provoked reaction from a small group of [our] readers – and non-readers – who knew each other and who protested to us in emails from around the world.
They are preaching to the choir, however, as they should have known if they even had a cursory knowledge of the newspaper in general and on its position on this issue.
Besides, a greater number of our readers put the matter in its proper perspective.
I thank both groups for contacting me. I consider any communication from readers on any subject to be precious.
I usually do not comment on the positive or negative reactions of our readers. That is the function of the Letters on page two of the Greek edition, where we publish reader letters if sent in the Greek language, with a special interest in publishing letters from readers who express a different opinion than that of the newspaper and our staff.
That I make this exception now is due to the sensitivity of the matter, but also because I want to present, once again, the philosophy that governs the publications of the Ethniko Kirika, and to express the honor and responsibility I feel for being the publisher and editor:
1- EK does not need to put on special display its deep opposition to any form of authoritarian, non-democratic systems of government, including, of course, the junta of the Colonels.
2- E.K. publishing philosophy is that of the Western journalistic principles and practices regarding the role of the press. We believe that we have an obligation and responsibility to inform readers about the issues of the day in the broadest way possible.
3- E.K. believes so strongly in the right of the other person to express his views, especially the minority viewpoint, that we are even willing to fight, if necessary, to protect the rights of those with whom it disagrees to express their opinion.
4- Advertisements, as is the case with all newspapers, express the opinion of the people who place them. The newspaper has no legal right to refuse an advertisement based on its disagreement with its message.
5- The decision to include this particular ad was not a pleasant one to make.
However, it is in just such circumstances that the quality of the media shines, as well as the power and superiority of the democratic system.
Just think: Would a dictatorship ever allow a newspaper to publish an item that was opposed to it? Never.
Such cases thus increase the appreciation and respect of the citizen for the goods of Democracy, which in the end is the only effective way of protecting Democracy, and confirms it as the wisest system of government ever discovered by man.
Mea culpa: Due to a technical error, the name of the man who was responsible for the ad was missing from it. His name, which we publish with his consent, is Dionysis Pilarinos. [Διονύσης Πυλαρινός]
To finish with this matter: it is time to end the lectures of supposedly superior democratic preachers and pseudo-progressives. We have seen where such Third World-type reactions have gotten us. It is time to get serious.
 E.K. English version differs: “The pro-junta advertisement that appeared in our Greek language newspaper in the weekend Edition – which is placed every year – provoked reaction from a small group of readers – and not – who protested in emails from throughout the world.” (Omits the claim, made in Greek, that all complaints about the ad came from the same group of people.)
 How is this known? A reader poll? Greater number of mails received from readers supporting the publication?
 E.K. English differs: …editor “of this historic institution.”
 E.K. English: “Advertisements, as is the case with all newspapers, express only the opinion of the people who place them. The newspaper cannot refuse an advertisement based on its disagreement with its message.” (Omits the claim, made in Greek, that newspapers have no legal right to refuse an advertisement.)
 This unpleasantness is apparently repeated every year?
 Board member of the Federation of Greek Societies of Greater New York (a.k.a. Greek Independence Day parade committee a.k.a. Stathakion Center) from 2008 until his expulsion from the board in 2012.
 Where? (Wait, what? No, seriously: What does this mean?)
A key difference between the Greek text and E.K.’s English translation is the omission (in English) of Mr. Diamataris’s spectacular claim (in Greek) that privately owned newspapers published in the United States (or elsewhere) are legally required to accept all advertisements submitted for publication. Once this gets around, the Western press will never be the same!
Want to Tell Them What You Think?
Ethnikos Kirikas / National Herald Contact Information
New York Office
37-10 30th Street, Long Island City, New York 11101
Tel: (718) 784-5255, Fax: (718) 472-0510
Editor – Publisher
Antonis H. Diamataris email@example.com
Advertising, Executive Vice President
Veta H. Diamataris Papadopoulos firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Associate Director
Christopher Tripoulas email@example.com
Mail Subscription Department
Home Delivery Subscription Department
Alexander C. Tsoukias
Letters to the Editor
Now, contrary to Mr. Diamataris’s telling, not everyone who wrote a complaint to E.K. knows everyone else who did so. Of course, as word gets around, people copy from each other. But the fact that Mr. Diamataris felt compelled to issue an immediate response – one that seeks to redefine the meaning of sophistry – supports reports we’ve heard that the number of complaints he received was overwhelming. Since he is not publishing any of these just yet, we’re stuck with providing you examples from people we know, or from people who have published their own.
Feel free to submit yours via our Contact page.
April 20, 2013
Subject: Remove the JUNTA advertisement immediately!
I would like to bring to your attention the irony that your newspaper hosts in its pages! In the page that you report in detail the tragedy that still unfolds in Boston after the terror released by a couple of sociopaths you hail Long Live the dictator George Papadopoulos, someone who was responsible for the death and torture of thousands of people.
Your newspaper should seriously reexamine its purpose and its role in how the Greek-American community is represented. You seem to condone the ideologies represented by Neo-Nazi groups such as that of the Golden Dawn and to invite further negative attention to the community.
I do not need to remind you the articles in the American NYC-based press about the reemergence of fascist ideologies in our community. Neither I need to point out to you the ideological affinities between GD and the Junta of 1967.
Please remove the advertisement immediately!
A.S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies
New York University
April 20, 2013
Subject: April 21st
To the Editor,
As a long-time subscriber–and sometime advertiser–to the Herald I expected an article marking the anniversary of the dictatorship installed by the military in April 21, 1967.
I found nothing in your editorial pages but instead was shocked to find an ad exalting the fascist junta and its leader, George Papadopoulos.
During the seven years of the Junta’s brutal rule, many were killed, imprisoned and tortured. Censorship was imposed and newspapers, whether of the right such as those published by Helen Vlachos or the left, were banned. There was no freedom, only tyranny. The dictatorship was condemned by practically every country in the world and the UN.
And yet the Herald carried an anonymous ad praising the Colonels. The advertisers praise fascism but don’t have the guts to identify themselves.
I suspect that your response will be that this is not the Herald’s opinion but simply an ad.
I don’t accept that for two reasons.
One, I assume you have standards for advertisers and would not publish pornographic ads or those advocating criminal acts. I further assume that you would not accept an ad praising Hitler’s crimes against the Jews or a Turkish ad advocating the ethnic cleansing of Greeks from Cyprus or an ad stating that Macedonia is Slavic not Greek.
Second is your timing. I hope you share the concern of many that the rise of the ultra right in Greece, generally, and of the Golden Dawn, specifically, is a grave danger to the democratic rights of all. Golden Dawn has taken extreme racist positions and has not only assaulted immigrants, but members of Parliament. Their growth threatens your fellow journalists.
To publish an ad that celebrates the fascist legacy which Golden Dawn now seeks to emulate, is dangerous and a harsh reminder as to how important it is to fight for these democratic rights.
Eric G. Poulos
April 20, 2013
Dear Editors and Staff of Ethnikos Kirikas,
I was shocked to see that in your upcoming edition of the newspaper, on the anniversary of the 1967 military coup d’etat in Greece you are including an advertisement for the Greek Dictatorship that exudes nostalgia for the 7-year long junta in Greece. In this ad there is a photo of the dictator Papadopoulos (convicted to a life sentence for high treason and for the atrocities committed during that time) saluting a crowd, with the junta symbol (an eagle rising from a fire) and a graphic banner proclaiming that Papadopoulos has been “VINDICATED.” The text is provocatively making the case that a return to a dictatorship is a plausible idea.
As a Greek living and working in the U.S. and as an academic, I am appalled at your decision to align your newspaper with fascist, violent and totalitarian ideas, especially at such a difficult time for our home country. At a time when civil liberties are curtailed, labor rights are abolished and racism and nationalism are at new heights, the ad suggests that the solution to these problems is the abolition of democracy and the violation of the constitution.
Most importantly this ad is a disgraceful insult to all those, killed, tortured and robbed of their civil liberties and human rights during the seven violent years of the dictatorship.
As the Greek people are dealing with the terrible consequences of the raise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn (a party that is particularly nostalgic of the Dictatorship of 1967) that is responsible for a barrage of racist attacks throughout the country, the ad you are publishing awakens dangerous memories for the future of Greece in a Diasporic community.
I believe that the Greek Diaspora should be at the forefront of progressive voices against fascism, racism, and totalitarianism instead of serving as spokesman of reactionary and fascist politics.
I urge you to cancel the publication of this ad and to issue a public apology to all Greeks and Greek-Americans in the name of democracy.
Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
April 20, 2013
Subject: Pro-Junta Advertisement in Your Sunday Edition?
Dear Staff of the Kirika,
It has come to my attention that you may be publishing the attached advertisement in the ETHNIKOS KHPYX, Greek print edition this Sunday, April 21st, on the anniversary of the 1967 military coup d’etat in Greece. The photo shows the dictator Papadopoulos saluting a crowd, with an insert of the junta’s standard (an eagle rising from a fire) and a graphic banner proclaiming that Papadopoulos has been “VINDICATED.”
Do you intend to publish this ad? If so, this is rather shocking. I urge you to cancel this publication.
Of course your paper has the right to sell advertising space to anyone. However, the ad is praising a dictatorship that overturned democracy, censored the press to an often Kafkaesque degree, imprisoned journalists, and tortured prisoners. These were among many other crimes against humanity, for which Papadopoulos and other junta members later received life terms in prison.
In Greece and within the Greek-American community, sadly, a minority have always looked back on those years with nostalgia. Rather than recalling the torture chambers, they mythologize an era of order, cleanliness, forced obedience to Christian virtues, and supposedly manic road-building.
We now face a far greater problem than the nostalgia of unreconstructed junta supporters. This is a time of extraordinary crisis for Greek democracy and for human rights in Greece. The ad effectively lends support to those who see a new dictatorship as the solution.
The present-day attack on democracy is so dangerous because it is led by the establishment itself. Greek society is fraying under the economic devastation wrought in the name of “the market” by the Greek elites, creditors, and the Troika. Successive governments have violently suppressed protests and strikes and turned a blind eye to police torture.
A neo-Nazi party received 7 percent of the vote in the last two elections, and they are explicit in calling for the end of democracy, for a racialized society, and for the summary expulsion of all foreign migrants. (To where?)
These are among the reasons why the group of which I am a member, AKNY-Greece Solidarity Movement (Aristeri Kinisi Neas Yorkis), has called for a gathering at Athens Square Park this Sunday, to proclaim: “April 21, 1967——Never Again.” We have informed your staff and hope your paper will be present to cover the event. (See http://akny.org)
Today, the KHRYX headlines the shocking story of the shootings Wednesday in Nea Manolada. 200 migrant strawberry pickers who had not been paid in six months gathered near a road in the Peloponnesian town, in the expectation they would receive their long-overdue wages from their foremen and supervisors. The latter, who appear to have Golden Dawn ties, instead opened fire on the workers with guns, wounding 29 men, seven of them seriously. By some miracle (as the Kirix also characterizes it) no one was killed. This atrocity is understandably making waves internationally.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Nea Manolada bloodletting is the thought of what must have been in the minds of the perpetrators (and the alleged moral instigator, who has also been arrested). They were not insane; this was apparently their response to what was, from their perspective, a business problem. Have things got so bad in Greece that they imagined they would get away with the attempt at mass murder, as long as the victims were penniless Bangladeshis and Pakistanis?
In short, this is a terrible time to have voices from the Diaspora–which carry a special weight among the people in Greece–to be propagating historical lies about the 67-74 dictatorship. Or, in effect, to be speaking out in support of a new dictatorship.
How far would you be willing to go? What else could a paying advertiser publish in your paper? Four Golden Dawn MPs recently spoke in favor of “euthanasia” policy for the disabled. Would you publish an ad supporting that idea?
Should I go as far as asking if you would publish an ad proclaiming that Hitler had been “VINDICATED”? We’re not supposed to compare anything to Hitler, but as well you know, these same parliamentarians and leaders of Golden Dawn are, in fact, supporters of Hitler. (In the name of Greek supremacy, bizarrely enough given the awful suffering in Greece during the Nazi attack and occupation.)
I submit it is impossible for a free press to profess neutrality when democracy itself is under attack. Please act as a free press must: in defense of democracy, in defense of human rights.
Astoria, New York