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One-and-a-Half Men: Hero Glezos, Scoundrel Tsipras

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Veteran politician Manolis Glezos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yorgos Kontarinis)

Former Not-Ready-For-Premier-Time Alexis ‘Profile in Courage’ Tsipras, now the major opposition Looney Left SYRIZA leader, loved to talk tough when he was in power for 4 ½ years about how he was going to stare down the country’s creditors, sweep a Leftist revolution across Europe, take Greece out of NATO, kick the American military out of Greece, all with fake snarls.

When push came to shove, he showed his true color – yellow – leading a demonstration in the Nov. 17 annual protest against the 1967-74 military junta that was backed by the United States, a parade that ends outside the U.S. Embassy where he would have been in the embarrassing position of scorning Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who had been an ally.

Deciding that was tougher than climbing up under the Acropolis in 1941 under the guard of Nazi gunners, taking down the Swastika and replacing it with the Greek flag to shine the next morning, he bailed out halfway, nowhere to be seen, but likely behind someone’s skirt.

One of the people who did heroically take down the Nazi flag is Manolis Glezos, the Last Lion and real hero of Greece who, with his friend, the late Apostolos Santas, risked his life for symbolism, to show that Greeks would never stop resisting the Nazis.

Tsipras wouldn’t even appear in public or walk down Athens’ main shopping area of Ermou Street on the other side of Syntagma Square across from the Parliament and Maximos Mansion where the man of the people, not cutting sugar cane in Cuba with his comrades, was hiding out, thinking he’d have egg on his face – thrown by detractors.

When he visited Athens, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife made that stroll but, being the political pantywaist that he is, Tsipras prefers to stay safe and write out little manifesto speeches that sound like John Candy’s character Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, brainwashed by the Communists.

“Our enemies are all those in league with imperialism, the big landlord class and the reactionary section of the intelligentsia attached to them,” said Candy's character.

Lacking that wit, and unable to bring himself to say the U.S. and conservative bankers and politicians – to whom he bent the knee to get a third bailout for 86 billion euros ($93.57 billion) seven months after taking office in January, 2015 – were “running yellow dog capitalist imperialists,” Tsipras had to come up something less cheesy.

That was saying that the now ruling New Democracy who ousted his sorry behind in July 7 snap elections after he lied about reversing austerity measures that whacked the poor, pensioners, and the most vulnerable, was trying to protect “parasitic oligarchs.”

That would be the people he said he would go after, promising to “crush the oligarchy” before finding out that riding on yachts is a lot better than bicycling to work and having drinks with people with money beats having a souvlaki with the working class.

His most shameless moment, however, had nothing to do with the economy or politics, but with the mocking of Glezos, who, at 97, could break your hand with his grip and has what Tsipras lacks: character and integrity.

Glezos, who was elected to the Greek Parliament with SYRIZA in 2012 and then the European Parliament, still believing in the party before quitting in disenchantment, was hospitalized recently and Tsipras had the gall to visit him, hopefully not within the iron reach of a hero.

Glezos’ reward for bravery got him three death sentences, 12 years in prison – where he was tortured – pepper-sprayed at a protest outside Parliament, and four years in exile. The closest Tsipras got to a prison was when his party ended high-security facilities and paved the way for terrorists to get furloughs.

“We had absolute consciousness that it was a historic moment,” Glezos told The New York Times in 2014, which said he gripped a reporter “with a viselike handshake,” and – trust me on this one – can drink you under a table when it comes to raki.

“No struggle for what you believe in is ever futile,” he said, words that should have been heeded by Tsipras who spouted empty words of resistance against bankers – not Nazis – betrayed his alleged principles and rolled over without a swastika or machine gun in sight.

There haven't been awards for Glezos, while Tsipras was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for the incomparable bravery of giving away the name Macedonia, an ancient Greek province, to North Macedonia.

In November, 2017, Tsipras was given the Political Courage Prize by the founder of the French magazine Politique Internationale, Patrick Wasjman, whose view of courage didn’t include climbing up the Acropolis in 1941.

Wasjman said Tsipras “had the courage to make decisions in favor of Greece and Europe, he is a man of convictions and bravery,” words to make you puke.

Here’s courage: after Glezos and Santas brought down the Nazi flag, they cut it in pieces and buried it in a hole. When Glezos got home his mother asked him where he’d been, the Times said. “I opened up my shirt and pulled out a piece of the swastika,” Glezos recalled. “I showed it to her and said, ‘that’s where I was.’ Without saying a word, she hugged me and left.”