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Beware of the Greeks bearing Trump's messages

Nikos Fotakis' Big Fat Greek Week in news

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Greek American George Papadopoulos served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Photo: Real Time Trump

13 November 2017

· Remember a time when George Stephanopoulos was the Greek name in the White House? When he was this cool, albeit a bit nerdy, adviser to Bill Clinton? When even Rachel and Monica in the first season of Friends were obsessed with Stephanopoulos and were trying to stalk him?
· Did you feel weirdly proud that a smart Greek was standing next to the coolest US president since Kennedy (until Obama)? Almost as proud as when Pete Sampras ranked No.1 tennis player, about the same time?
· Clinton-era nostalgia is a thing; New X-Files episodes are under way, a new generation of viewers are binge-watching Friends on streaming video platforms, and a grunge revival is long overdue. Millenials love the '90s.
· So, it's okay to feel nostalgia about the Clinton White House, especially if this is combined with the embarrassment created by the Greek name now associated with the current President, George Papadopoulos.
· Even Wikipedia, in its entry for the former foreign policy adviser of the Trump campaign warns: "Not to be confused with journalist and former Democratic American policy adviser George Stephanopoulos with a similar-sounding name".
· Thanks, Wikipedia, for putting salt to our wounds of national shame.
· Of course, it is a bit silly to feel 'national embarrassment' by the actions of one prominent Greek, like their actions somehow rub off to the whole of Hellenism, making Greeks look bad.
· It is equally silly to feel 'national pride' when someone of Greek background excels in their professional field. But most of us are susceptible to this.
· Even the Greek post issued a series of stamps, last year, honouring people like film director Costa Gavras, actress Rita Wilson and yes, George Stephanopoulos.
· It is pretty safe to assume that no such honour awaits George Papadopoulos, who admitted offering to liaise between then presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Putin regime, in order to co-plot a way for him to win the presidency.
· Which he did.
· Did Papadopoulos have anything to do with it? According to court documents, Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about the timing of contact between him and a Russian professor in London, who he believed to have substantial connections in the Russian Government, and who claimed to be offering the Drumpf campaign "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, in the form of "thousands of emails".
· This investigation is ongoing, and many think that it could bring down the Trump presidency.
· The Greek opposition even hopes it may bring down Tsipras.
· Or at least, the Greek government's deputy leader, Defence Minister and leader of the far-right Independent Greeks Party.
· Who had met with Papadopoulos, boasting about it, becoming one of the most vocal Trump supporters in Greece.
· After Papadopoulos' role in the Russian-meddling-in-the-US-elections scandal was revealed, there is a wave of reports in Greek media, chronicling the foreign policy adviser's days in Athens and meetings with officials ranging from the flamboyant Mayor of Marathon (and former celebrity manager) Elias Psinakis to Kammenos to the President of the Democracy, Prokopis Pavlopoulos himself (who seems to be always available to meet with members of the diaspora).
· You can sense the excitement lurking between the lines; the hope that someday it may be revealed that Panos Kammenos, with his ill-thought enthusiasm, and the Putin-struck government of Greece somehow played a role in the Russians backing the Trump candidacy in the most shady manner possible.
· Now that would be a national embarrassment.
· But it would still be better than what any Greek with a shred of dignity feels when the name 'Milo Yannopoulos' comes up.
· Because if George Papadopoulos was the person delivering Trump's message to shady allies in Europe (and vice versa), Yannopoulos is the embodiment of Trumpism in all its ill-conceived, glory. A loud, arrogant narcissist spewing vile rhetoric at an unprecedented level.
· The alt right theoretical leader is on his way to Australia on what he calls 'The Troll Academy Tour', which will see him preach to the converted ears of frustrated conservatives and Andrew Bolt readers all over the country.
· His Sydney and Melbourne dates are already sold out.
· A lot of people had $90 to spend on a person calling feminism a cancer and claiming that sex between mature and adolescent men is beneficial for the latter.
· Behind Yiannopoulos's tour is another Greek, Penthouse magazine publisher Damien Costas, who compared the right-wing agitator to Martin Luther King and the freedom riders of the 1960s.
· Please stop.
· That's enough embarrassment for one week.

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