October 15, 2012 by pavlospapathanasiou
Almost a year ago, the former Education Minister Mrs. Anna Diamantopoulou, stated that the articles on famine incidents in Greek public schools was “populist propaganda” (1) Mrs Diamantopoulou who lost her seat in central Athens constituency in the recent elections had been one of the most controversial ministers in the last Papandreou Cabinet, famous for her arguments with the Opposition or with anyone within the Public Education System who had a different position than her. In addition she had been one of the most fiery supporters of the Memorandum signed with EU-ECB and IMF.
Some months later her own statements were dashed; The Ministry of Education was forced to held official soup kitchens for the students in the poorest areas of the country.The UNICEF report “Children in Greece 2012” revealed that children living below the poverty level amounts to 439,000, and the child poverty rate is estimated at 23%. For the rest of Europe, the same percentage is 20.5. (2) Moreover Russia Today (RT) last week aired a report from Athens claiming that more and more children are left in orphanages due to the high percentage of families who live below the poverty level as a consequence of the constant wage cuts demanded by Troika and due to the rising unemployment. (3)
One can argue that Anna Diamantopoulou like her party PASOK were punished by the Greek voters in the recent election. One the other hand she is still critized by various scholars and journalists for her arrogant rhetoric on the Memorandum-austerity policies. The fact however is still that nobody can ignore the negative consequences of his/her political choices by naming them elements of “populism”. This pattern has become extremely popular the last few years within the Greek politics and media, without making them more reliable though.
(1) http://www.lifo.gr/now/politics/4887 Oct 13 2011 statement from the Education Ministry (in Greek)
(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvftQMs39pI RT report