Bad news from Greece. The following article appeared in yesterday’s print edition of Kathimerini. The translation is my own.
Alexis Tsipras could be about to face his first crisis as leader of the Hellenic Republic after suggesting that Greece might sell the site of the Kasta Tomb in Amphipolis, Macedonia.
The revelation came when Tsipras answered questions during a dinner at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, the Prime Minister’s official seat, in honour of Thanos Anoitos, the founder of Greece’s largest technology company, FutureTech.
The Prime Minister was asked what future he saw for the tomb. “Actually, none.” he told startled guests, “That place represents a Greece that died 2,000 years ago. Who cares about that? I don’t. My eyes are set firmly forward, to the world – I must say – of brilliant organisations like FutureTech.”
When questioned further about his surprising response, Tsipras replied, “Let me tell you something. One month ago I received a letter. It was from the Historical Society of America. They are big people. Super rich businessmen run it; the President of America is its patron.
“The HSA wrote to say that it wants to buy the Kasta Tomb and either make it the centre of a theme park based on ancient Macedonia – just like Disney World – or dig the whole thing up and take it to America like they did with London Bridge so many years ago.
“And you know what? I’m happy for them to do either – I just want it out of the way. Even as I speak we are in negotiations with the HSA and I hope to have good news for the country within a few weeks.”
Gasps of astonishment went round the hall as Tsipras spoke and he was asked if he seriously intended to let sell such an important site, but the Prime Minister was unrepentant.
“To whom is the tomb important? Greece? I said a moment ago that it represents a Greece that died 2,000 years ago. Actually, that is nonsense! Macedonia was never part of Greece! Greeks hated Alexander the Great. If the people of his own lifetime hated him why should I – a proud Greek – like him now? No, if we get a good enough offer for the Tomb, it will enter foreign hands and – maybe – foreign territory. Good riddance, I say. Let us build a FutureTech phone mast on the site instead. Goodbye imperialist junk, good day to a tower that will help empower all Greek people.”
It is rumoured that several people at the dinner left in disgust at the Prime Minister’s words but this has not been confirmed.
That, however, may be the least of Tsipras’ problems. Senior officials in his Syriza party as well as opposition leaders have condemned the Prime Minister’s words and there have been calls for a vote of confidence to be held in Parliament. If this were to go against Tsipras he could be forced from office only months after winning the election.
We wait to see what happens next. Hopefully, sense will prevail.