Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) did not contain anything remarkable. Nor did he convince anyone with his unfounded optimistic description of the economy and an old recipe of benefits that even if implemented would not materialize for years.
And it was indicative that the limited applause he received from a friendly audience, lacked enthusiasm, as did he.
Notably, though, there was a positive exception to his speech: his bold reference to longstanding ties between the United States and Greece.
Specifically, the prime minister said that “on this occasion, I would like to welcome the United States delegation, which is the honored country of the Thessaloniki International Fair this year. A country with which we are connected by a strong strategic relationship. But also struggles for common values at significant moments in history.
“From the struggle for independence against colonialism and the Declaration of Independence, to the struggles to abolish slavery with the stamp of President Lincoln. And from the common struggles against fascism and Nazism, to the great battles for the safeguarding and respecting of human rights against racial discrimination.”
Unfortunately, the prime minister missed the opportunity to mention the most important link between the two countries: Greek-Americans. A link that is a bridge between Greece and the United States, in calm but also stormy periods, which provides dynamic encouragement and support, and which often acts as a mediator between the two. Why was this omitted?
Probably because we are too far removed from Tsipras’ thoughts, or because his reference to our humble existence would recall his unacceptable opposition to granting the vote in Greek elections to Hellenes Abroad.