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Greek PM dances for Greeks who feel like crying… (video, pcts)

 Diamond pearls of tears flooded my eyes, my back hair stood, I started to shake and shiver… emotions overhelmed my bankrupt soul the very moment I heard the first tunes of classic rebetiko “Cloudy Sunday” and saw our Prime Minister George Papandreou, a dark shadow in a broken country, dancing the proud Zeibekiko on the early hours of the “Happy New Year 2011”.  

Video: after 0:34 min.

The picture and the report were published in center-right wing newspaper “Dimokratia” and drew a series of negative reactions. 

Frankly I don’t understand the populist criticism (“PM dances while poor Greeks celebrate at home”) and ironic comments (“PM dances while audience clap their hands”) by some Greek media.

Can somebody dance the Zeibekiko without people clapping their hands?

Should the Prime Minister of debt-ridden Greece stay home and cry on the night of the “Happy New Year” just because the “2011” will be economically even worse than 2010?

Unconfirmed reports have it that it were the restaurant customers who asked George Papandreou to perform the dance. I can imagine them calling on him “Ελα, Γιώργο! Οπα! ” (Come on, George!Opa!). 

The long Zeibekiko story of  G. Papandreou

Our Prime Minister is not famous just because he is the son of legendary PM Andreas Papandreou, grandson of mythical PM Georgios Papandreou, or because he is the first PM to drive Greece into the arms of IMF. George Papandreou is also famed to be an excellent Zeibekiko-dancer, the most prominent amoing Greek politicians.

Unforgettable are the moments of Greek-Turkish rapprochement when Papandreou-as a Foreign Minister -danced Zeibekiko in front of his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem – he was clapping hands, of course! – back in July 2001.


Solo Zeibekiko

After Papandreou introduced dancing as a means of “rapprochement”,  many government Ministers and Lawmakers started following  his example.

There have been times in the Greek political scene, when every male or female politician felt like dancing  zeibekiko in front of the public and expose his/her  ‘populist’ face.

Ex Defense Minister    Akis Tsochatzopoulos

However as some dancers disappeared from the Greek politics, others grew older and at the same time the economic crisis grew uglier, no politician dares dancing in public, out of fear of being booed, harassed, assaulted or even stoned with bowls full of salad.  Except our Prime Minister George Papandreou.

On that historical night at the restaurant of the noble north Athens suburb of  Kifisia, in the early hours of “Happy New Year 2011”, our elected Prime Minister simply could not resist to the calls of the public urging him to the dancing floor.

George Papandreou stood up, ordered the musicians to play “Cloudy Sunday” and started dancing like a proud warrior, like a hawk. Symbolically for all Greeks! He danced symbolically for all Greeks, who are not in the mood for dancing but rather feel like crying… 

Rainy Sunday for Cloudy Souls

“Cloudy Sunday” is the most famous Greek rebetiko song, full of sorrow and pain : 

Cloudy Sunday – you look like my heart – Which is always cloudy- You’re a day like the one I lost my joy – Cloudy Sunday – you make my heart bleed – When I see you rainy – I can’t find a moment’s peace – You blacken my life –  and I deeply sigh.

I just wish our Prime Minister would also follow the public calls asking him to punish those who have overspent, over squandered and over pocketed public money *sigh*

See Related Articles about Zeibekiko:

Zeibekiko: Dance Like a Proud Hawk/Part I (videos)

Zeibekiko: Unwritten Laws for a man’s Honor/Part II (videos)

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  1. Interesting post. Cloudy Sunday, of course, has great historical significance. Supposedly written the day that the Germans invaded Greece it was played a lot both during the German occupation and the rule of the junta. While the lyrics aren’t explicitly political, and thus it couldn’t be banned, everybody knew the clouds were political as well as personal.

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    Thanks, Alan. Cloudy Sunday seems to be a passe-partout song. Tsitsanis had apparently said that he was inspired by the German occupation and a death of a young man. Tsitsanis said he wrote “Cloudy occupation” with the title “Bloody Sunday”(nothing to do with the Irish Bloody Sunday).
    As a child I remember defeated footbal fans singing the song on … Sundays.

    And many more sang and keep singing bearing in mind a lost love. Odd enough the song wasn’t clearly political in Greece. But it has been THE national anthem among popular Greek songs for decades – I think it must have been written somewhere 1944-46.