The media and the riots

Following the Greek twitters I worked out that in Greece the ‘game’ is still on. Every day something happens: a student is randomly shot, unknowns strafe a riot police bus, unknowns shot a moving train wagon. Bullets and fear have entered Athenians daily lives…..
Reading an article in the local Newspaper written by a Greek journalist Iason Athanasiadis -writer specialized in Middle East- I found quite interesting the angle which he is looking at the events, because all these days I am trying to find and read the latest news about Athens in the international media, unsuccessfully of course. Partially we had the same inquiry and he explains the fact from his point of view “……..But you won’t read any of this (the everyday riots happenings in Greece) in the international media. Just as Iranians point to the sustained BBC coverage of their Revolution as proof that the British government sponsored the overthrow of the Shah, so Greek protesters claim that the international media sabotaged their efforts, first by covering only the most violent demonstrations, and then by giving scant coverage to publicity stunts such as the takeover of several radio and TV studios.
One compelling argument is that media inattention is due to the story not “fitting in” to any of the established narratives with which we navigate our lives. The riots seemingly confound the received wisdom that class struggle is dead.
Jonathan Davies, a lecturer at Warwick Business School in Britain and specialist on trade unions, argues that the international media has largely ignored the unfolding events “partly because riots can easily be depicted as irresponsible and futile and in the end trivial, and partly because the dominant political narrative in this country is that class is dead. Hence, any sign that class is not dead, here or anywhere else, must be studiously ignored”.
The existence of 24 hour news-cycles is an unlikely co-conspirator because it has diluted the tradition of day-after analysis. One undoubted by-product of our globalising world is the dramatic erosion of the collective attention span. Terrorism in Mumbai today, riots in Athens tomorrow and bombing in Gaza the day after. There is always another dramatic headline.
In Greece, the “episodes” are already being referred to in the past tense. The commentator Evfenios Aranitsis in the Eleftherotypia (Free Press) daily noted that “with the speed of channel-zapping, Athens segued from the fever of protest to reverentially receiving the Three Wise Men with their gift-vouchers and 29 interest-free payments as if nothing unpleasant occurred in between. But what we are incapable of perceiving is that ‘nothing’ had something to tell us and that, since we did not hear it, it will return with a vengeance – exactly because we rejected it – to shatter our eardrums.”
After all, amnesia is a Greek word too.”

Iason Athanasiadis is reporting on Greece through a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington.

13 thoughts on “The media and the riots

  1. Well I cannot say that fear has penetrated my life here in Athens, on the contrary, but surely amnesia is a worldwide attribute. I was expecting to see the outcome of events but all I see is celebrating feasts denoting that last week is almost a year away, or even much more 😦

  2. αλήθεια γιατί με παρασέρνεις και απαντώ στ’ αγγλικά, που ωραία γλώσσα, μεν… ξένη, δε????

  3. Meniek yes indeed.. for the 1st comment. Some non-Greek friends told me it is nice to read your blog but it would be nicer to follow the comments as well, it’s all Greek to us!!! Here you are then… συμφωνώ ότι τόσο ξένη…

  4. The importance of the news is largely what the media depicts. The importance of reality is something totally different. People’s memory is driven by the media. This time a lot of issues were drawn on a social canvas causing a crisis at a time where people were not ready to deal with them. Therefore I see the “amnesia” as a self defense escape. But unfortunately as Iason Athanasiadis points out it will return.
    By the way he is an amazing kid.
    Mακια καρδουλα ψαχουλω!

    • The main source of information for most of the expats is the media and if we can’t find anything there we presume the situation is back to normal! I agree that the amnesia is a self defence mechanism, like a painkiller hides the cause but doesn’t cure it !
      Do you know him ?? Oσο για το ‘ψαχουλω’ τίποτε δεν είναι τυχαίο σε αυτή τη ζωή, για το πως είμαστε και που βαδίζουμε ;)xx

  5. Πηνελοπάκι μου καλησπέρα.
    Σε χαιρετώ από την Κύπρο. Μεθαύριο γυρνάω Αθήνα και το κεφάλι μέσα πάλι. Ελπίζω η κατάσταση γρήγορα να εξομαλυνθεί. Δυστυχώς βρήκαν ευκαιρία με την αναμπουμπούλα να σηκώσουν κεφάλι και διάφοροι περιθωριακοί, δήθεν Επαναστάτες (τρομάρα τους). Οι πυροβολισμοί κατά της κλούβας και του νεαρού αστυνομικού δικό τους έργο είναι.

  6. Γεια σου Μεροπάκη καλή επιστροφή εκεί στη ζούγκλα ! Αχα τώρα κατάλαβα τα ίδια παντελάκη μου τα ιδια Παντελή μου, καμμία αλλαγή λοιπόν.. χχ

  7. Καλέ διαδόσεις. Μια χαρά είμαστε. Κάναμε και ανασχηματισμό, συζητάμε ανοικτά τα περί πανεπιστημιακού ασύλου, η διαφορά ανάμεσα στα κόμματα κλείνει – μεχρι την επόμενη γκέλα της ΝΔ – ο Γιωργάκης, Γιωργάκης, ο Λαλιώτης παει να χάσει το σπίτι στο χωριό… Να, αυτά.. Τώρα, τί μαγειρεύεται εντός, τί να σου πω φιλενάδα μου, δεν ξέρω. Προς το παρόν διαδιδω σε φίλες μου το βλιβλιον σου…λιαν ευχάριστον και διασκεδαστικόν,οπως με ειπε η φίλη μου η Σοφία Αραβοπουλου που πρέπει να σουστειλε μηνυματάκι.

    Αυτον τονδημοσιογραφο τον ξέρω.Εκείνος με ξέρει ?

  8. Σε χαλεπούς καιρούς o Johnny βάζει ένα χαμόγελο στα χείλη. Σε ευχαριστώ Ριτσακι μου και το έλαβα και χάρηκα τόσο πολύ δεν λέγετε..
    Για να τον ρωτήσω λοιπόν τι ξέρει ???

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