Alexis Tsipras : “Freedom demands virtue and courage”

My quick translation of the French translation of Alexis Tsipras’s speech earlier today. I’m happy to correct any errors.*

July 4, 2015

Citizens of Athens, people of Greece.

Today we are not protesting, not demonstrating; today is a day of celebration. This day is a celebration of democracy. Democracy is a celebration and a joy, democracy is a liberation, democracy is an outcome. And today we celebrate the victory of democracy. We are already victorious, whatever the result of Sunday’s election, because Greece has sent a message of dignity, a message of pride. Nobody can ignore this passion, this anxious desire for life, this anxious desire for hope, this anxious desire for optimism. Today we celebrate the courage that has led us to take our destiny in our own hands, to give the floor to the Greek people.

Today, we celebrate and we sing. We celebrate and sing to replace blackmail and fear.

Europe, as we know, Europe as it appears in the mirror of its founding principles does not have the slightest connection to threats and ultimatums. And today in the same moment, all the eyes of Europe are turned toward us, toward the Greek people, toward 3 million in poverty, and a million and half unemployed. Today the entire planet’s eyes are on Syntagma Square and on all the places, small or large, of our homeland. Here we saw the birth of democracy, we are giving democracy a chance to return. To return to Europe, because we want Europe to return to its founding principles. To these principles that it swept away to apply programs of austerity without results, against the will of the people.

Citizens of Athens, people of Greece.

Sunday, we are together addressing a message of democracy and dignity to Europe and to the world. We are sending people a new message of hope. Because we are not only deciding, this Sunday, to stay in Europe. We are deciding to live with dignity in Europe, to work and to prosper in Europe. To be equals in Europe, equally with all. And believe me nobody has the right to threaten to cut Greece from its natural geographic space. Nobody has the right to threaten to divide Europe. Greece, our homeland, was, and remains the cradle of European civilization. It is in this location, according to mythology that Zeus, by leaving it, abducted the princess Europa. And it is here that the technocrats of austerity now wish to remove her. But this will not happen. Because Sunday we will say “no” to them. We will not let Europe pass between the hands of those who hope to remove from Europe the democratic tradition, its democratic conquests, its founding principles, principles of democracy, of solidarity, and of mutual respect.

Citzens of Athens, men and women of all ages who are here today, who flood Syntagma Square, the streets of Athens, and the other large cities braving the orchestrated rising fear, the rhetoric of terror propagated everywhere in recent days.

Citizens of Athens, the Greek people have repeatedly demonstrated in the course of history that they know to return an ultimatum to its sender. Because ultimatums sometimes come back to their sender. The brightest pages in the history of this country and people are the pages on courage and virtue. I call on you to see what we have written together, again; these historic pages, these of our recovery and these of our freedom. I am calling you, this Sunday, to voice a “no,” loud and clear to ultimatums. To turn your back on those who everyday sow fear and intimidation. And Monday, regardless of the outcome of our democratic process, of this popular verdict that some feared and wanted to block, we equally say  “no” to divisiveness. Monday, regardless of the election result, the Greeks will have nothing to separate them. Together we fight to rebuild a better Greece than what we have left after five years of disaster. Finally, I am calling on you to not lend an ear to the sirens whose echoes do not cease to amplify, these sirens screaming in fear.

To decide with your soul and your heart.

To be determined with calm and resolve.

To speak of in favor of a proud Greece in a democratic Europe. In favor of a people, of a small people who fight, as the poem says, without swords and without bullets. We are a people who, however, fight having the strongest weapon in hand: justice. Because justice is with us, because we are in the right, we shall overcome. And nothing can erase this. Nothing can overshadow this fact: we are within our rights.

Citizens of Athens, people of Greece, liberty demands virtue and courage. We, you, all of us, have courage and virtue. We are free. We breathe a wind of freedom. Whatever comes, we are victorious. We will be victorious. Greece has triumphed. Democracy has triumphed. The blackmail and the threats have been defeated.

I salute you all! You are strong, you are proud and dignified. Our “no” will go down in history. Our people will move forward – in a democratic and unified Europe.

*Many thanks to Dennis Riches for sending some helpful corrections!

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2 Responses to Alexis Tsipras : “Freedom demands virtue and courage”

  1. Pingback: Radical austerity’s brutal lies: How Krugman and Chomsky saw through dehumanizing neoliberal spin – Salon.com | digger666

  2. Tenduf-la says:

    So beautiful! So inspired! Greece is us! The crux of this Economic Warfare leads us to ask as Patrick Smith has ask; “Does the polity serve the market or does the market serve the polity?” In other words do the banks and the IMF serve life or does life serve the banks and the IMF ?? How long this death march!

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