Stathis Stavropoulos replies to “Bild” and its furious readers

The man presented in Bild as “the cartoonist who draws Merkel as a Nazi”, sets the record straight after an avalanche of hate-mail from the German newspaper’s readers.

Böse Karikaturen Griechen-Hetze immer schlimmer

Karikatur von Stathis Stavropoulos. Der Nazi-Geist: „Sieg“. Die Kanzlerin: „Heil“. Dazwischen steht: „Geldwirtschaft befreit“

Cartooning is an art that often provokes controversy. Even so, the letters we received in our mailbox after the German newspaper Bild claimed to have located “the Greek Cartoonist who draws Merkel as a Nazi”, were more telling of the quality of sensational tabloid’s readers than of the actual content of the cartoons themselves. Stathis Stavropoulos, a prominent Greek cartoonist, is famous for his strong imagery and his bold choice of words, so he is no stranger to criticism which often takes the form of outright polemic. What he does not welcome though, is distortion of his words and intentions, which seems to be the case here, as Stathis accuses the newspaper of heavy censorship of his interview, sacrificing essential parts of a complex reasoning in order to make a more demonizing portrait of the cartoonist and Greek public sentiment in general. And it seemed to have succeeded in that: we don’t have to resort to dictionaries to understand that the word “sweine” in one of the letters does not mean anything possibly good. Stathis was kind enough to pen a response in order to set the record straight:

Dear Sirs and Madams

Thank you for your letters. As I mentioned in my BILD interview (which has not been published) and my SPIEGEL interview (which was published) “in my mind, Germany is the birthplace of Goethe, not Hitler”.

That said, cartooning is an art that often uses exaggeration in order to create a shock effect to make its point and provide food for critical thought.We should learn from History. Oblivion enables tragic mistakes to occur again. So when German officials ask for a special supervisor to watch over Greece, the word “gauleiter” does spring to mind. The same occurs when “Zones of Special Economic Interest” evoke so eerily the logic of “Vital Space”.

The Greek people are asked to pay for a debt that they did not themselves create, but was the result of acts of Greek capitalists working in perfect accordance with European capitalists.Even so, the Greek people do not refuse to pay back their debt, what they ask is not to be burdened with the monstrous interest provisions attached to the loan they have been given.For it is a loan, and not “financial help”. On the other hand, Greece did help out Germany back in 1950 and 1953, when the country had to give its own debts a good “haircut” in order to rebuild itself.

Furthermore, Greece has not yet received a single cent of the 168 billion (before interest) of the war reparations which Germany has acknowledged in treaties on 1946.Greeks are neither collectively “lazy” nor “corrupt”. They are as hard working as German, French, Dutch and plenty of other people are. So they could really do without the racist remarks.And one more thing, about the word “hate” itself. I am not against “hating” certain things. I hate Nazism. I hate anti-Semitism. And I hate loan-sharking. What I do love, is humanity.

With all respect,

Stathis D. Stavropoulos

Cartoonist

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