Saturday, April 27, 2013


Dear most distinguished, all wise and sagely Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic,
I am inordinately sorry to disrupt your hastening Greece upon the path of future greatness, while single handedly attempting to overcome your bewilderment as to how to sell off your Ministry’s land holdings overseas, as well as determining which of your consulates and embassies shall close in view of the budget cuts necessitated by the rapacity of the foreign financial invaders, simultaneously praying that Cyprus, (but not its oil) will just go away, but an ugly and ultimately false pustule of a rumour has reared its ugly head from the variegated skin of the Greek community of Melbourne that requires your urgent attention.
It is falsely alleged that a certain member of the Greek diplomatic corps here in Melbourne sought and obtained from your august Ministry, the sum of $10,000 in order for said personage to undergo an urgent medical procedure. It is further falsely alleged that the said procedure was actually cosmetic surgery which cost a fifth of the amount claimed and the inference is that the balance was pocketed by the entrepreneurial diplomatic personage.
Now I do not wish to cast aspersions upon anyone’s character, save to question why one would go to the lengths of propagating such ridiculous slander, but I would urge you to pause, and consider the following: Surely in this torrid and tortuous era, where brand name Greece finds itself besmirched, ridiculed and of little value and diasporic Greeks emphasize the need for rebranding, rebooting, repowering and relaunching our beloved place of origin in order to set Greece once more upon the path of righteousness, we can begin with the faces of our diplomatic corps – since they are the face of Greece to the rest of the world. Give them all a facelift I say, a tummy tuck and release them onto the unsuspecting populace as tanned, bronzed and absolutely breathtakingly sexy Olympians, ones that will even cause the icy hearts of the bankers (the b is silent and is pronounced as a w) at the International Monetary Fund, the European Union Development Fund and any other sort of Fund to melt from the heat generated by the friction of their well-toned legs rubbing provocatively against each other in sundry diplomatic forums. After all, their proclivities in this direction are amply proven by the example of the hapless former head of the IMF and French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Rather than demanding of our beleaguered homeland that it strips itself bare in order to make restitution of unpaid loan monies, select international bankers would be lining up in droves, willing to pay for the privilege of taking our Olympian diplomatic corps out to dinner and then a movie and them whatever happens, happens. In no time at all, the black hole in the centre of the Greek exchequer, which is so in the red, would be filled with manifestations of cosmic liquidity, rendering us back in the black and ready to assert our cultural and historical superiority.
O local arbiter of Greece’s foreign relations, heed my advice. After all, it is infinitely easy for a puffed up and cocky president of FYROM Gruevski to maintain a Caligulean countenanceoof immovable vigour with regard to the controversy surrounding the name if his country, when pushed and prodded by a person of your, let us face facts, rather uninspiring facial features. It is not, contrariwise, easy, for the said Gruevski to remain so implacable when caressed and cajoled by a Foreign Minister who looks like the goddess Aphrodite herself. Most likely he, (and any other politician except for Vladimir Putin who is glacial and cannot be moved under any circumstances, which is why he should extend his rule over Greece) would thus, breathlessly make over to her, not only the naming rights but the entire country itself. Similarly, who knows what effect the massage of a muscle bound and heavily oiled Adonis, or a Magnes, the handsome youth from Smyrna noted for his elegant clothes and fancy korymbos hairstyle which he bound with a golden band, would have upon the tense shoulders of violator of Greek airspace and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan? It is of such matters that the imponderables of foreign relations are constituted.
Was not Helen’s the face that launched a thousand ships? Surely then, such an approach can even be applied to the boosting of Greece’s flagging maritime industry. Was it not the idle beauty of the mindless Pandora that caused her to open the dread box, which unleashed plague and pestilence into the world? Surely this, suitably wielded by Evelina Papantoniou could comprise a weapon the likes of which would even sow fear into the contraption that serves as a heart of King Jong Un, thus ensuring our military dominance. And while, we are at it, once having seduced our way into becoming a player on the international stage, what better way to maintain our position than to make use of our own nubile players, the cohort of inexplicably beautiful boys and girls whose revolving love lives are so carefully scrutinised on Greek daytime talk shows?
Furthermore, my proposed ideology, for which I beg leave to coin the term “stunning diplomacy,” is eminently exportable to the rest of the world, assuring the dominance of fair Hellas on the international stage. The United Nations Assembly could be abolished and replaced in turn, with a global “The Earth-sphere’s Next Top Model,” with disputes between countries being adjudicated on the basis of their jaw-droppingly pulchritudinous representatives proven capacity to pout more effectively, or display their abdominal muscles in such a way as to better catch the glare of the studio lights. Persistently errant nations could be kept in check by being taken aside gently and advised that the particularly effervescent young Greek diplomat that is encouraging peace and moderation from them, is actually a Lamia, who will eat their first born children, if the requisite amount of cooperation is not offered. Failing that, securing compliance through the enticement of them being able to obtain a little bit of Alex Perry glamour in their otherwise colourless lives usually does the trick. Not pretty I know, but that is diplomacy for you.
In the aftermath of our restoration, if you are so minded, please send us diplomatic corps who:
a)      Actually effectively promote Greece’ interests in the countries they are being sent to. It is very easy to indulge in the squabbles and micro-politics of the disparate diasporic Greek communities around the world. It is not so easy to be respected and influential within the countries that they reside. To this effect, it should be immaterial to the diplomatic corps whether the Pan-Cycladic Federation of Timbuktoo and the Federation of Pan-Cycladic Associations of Northern Timbuktoo unite or not because quite frankly, there is a reason why they have split into two separate groups and they are happy to remain that way. Instead, of material interest is why any particular country will not intervene to protest against the violation of Greek national sovereignty, or foster closer trade links.
b)      It follows axiomatically from the above that there is absolutely no point in diplomatic corps attempting to influence the proceedings of various political or historical beliefs or diasporic organisations, especially since their pretensions to practising policy have always been unheeded by you and your predecessors. Certainly such well-meaning groups should not be discriminated against, mocked or icily excluded from accessing your employees, on the basis that they happen not to conform to the prevailing political ideology of the time. The rolling of the eyes, the contemptuous glare, the crossing of the arms and the shoulder snub – all these tropes are not pretty and must be banned. Furthermore, and considering that the diplomatic corps should have no interest or influence in the cultural activities of diasporic clubs and brotherhoods, no attempt should be made by your employees by way of example, to dissuade the Folegandrian Club, which is currently fighting against the Former Cycladic Republic of Folegandros’ misappropriation of their identity, from organising an exhibition of Folegandrian art and history at the local museum, by stating flimsily and irresponsibly that the time is not right and that you are already arranging for the Louvre to send their extensive collection of Folegandrian artefacts to the local museum, when this is evidently not the case.
c)      While you are at it, kindly instruct your employees in the finer art of etiquette and deportment. We not only want to be mesmerised by them, we also want to respect them and, perchance, have our requisite needs serviced by them, with the minimum of friction and the maximum of pleasure.
Finally, in keeping with the economic philosophy of this supposedly plastically altered member of your diplomatic corps, should you, in your infinite wisdom determine that mine is the path upon which the future of Hellenic foreign relations should tread, I advise that I am more than amenable to being in the receipt of only ten percent of the gross savings made by the Ministry in adhering to the aforementioned guidelines and/or free injections of botox and liposuction treatments for the rest of my corporeal manifestation.
Yours in Hellenism,
The Diatribist.
A version of this article was first published in NKEE on Saturday 27 April 2013