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Controversial video: did Varoufakis raise middle finger to Germany?

Did Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis raised his middle finger against the country’s lenders or not? A video from a speech Varoufakis held at an international conference in Zagreb in 2013 was aired at a television talk show of German broadcaster ARD on Sunday evening, while the Greek Finance Minister was on live stream for an interview. Varoufakis claimed that the video was “doctored”, which prompted the program presenter Guenther Jauch to say that his team would investigate the originality of the video.

varoufakis ARD

In the ‘finger’ video, Varoufakis sharply criticized Germany economic policy and that was long before he became a finance minister of the debt-ridden country.

Video: ARD program, March 15, 2015.

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Τhe video was filmed at a conference “Subversive Festival” in Zagreb in May 2013.  Some of us, Greeks, can reckon that the “original” – finger – video has been circulating for quite some time, after Varoufakis became a Finance Minister.

Video: uploaded on Youtube by Alessandro Del Prete on February 20, 2015

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UK’s The Guardian reported on ARD program:

The finance minister said in English: “Greece should simply announce that it is defaulting, just like Argentina did, within the euro in January 2010, and stick the finger to Germany” – at which point he appeared to raise his middle finger – “and say, ‘Well, you can now solve this problem by yourself’.”

Gunether Jauch then asked Varoufakis, who could be seen shaking his head in the background: “The middle finger for Germany, Mr Minister? The Germans pay the most, and are criticised the most for it. How does that go together?”

Varoufakis claimed the video had been doctored, and that he had “never given the finger ever”. But Alessandro Del Prete, who uploaded the six-minute video from which the clip was taken, tweeted later on Sunday to deny that the video had been altered. (Τhe Guardian)

It seems that presenter Jauch was surprised that it was an older video and thus some two years before Varoufakis became a finance minister. German columnist Stefan Niggemeier, founder of media watchdog website Bildblog, pointed out that “the ARD had manipulated the Varoufakis’ video and had clipped out the audio when Varoufakis referred to January 2010, making it look as though Varoufakis was illustrating Greece’s current attitude.”

Anyway, the video triggered an outrage in Germany, with the media engaging experts to find out whether the video was doctored or not, and whether the finger was real or fake.

Cameraman Alessandro Der Prete who had filmed Varoufakis speaking at the conference twitted that the video was original and that he had edited a short version out of 57-minute long film.

DER SPIEGEL wrote on the issue that “it went unnoticed that Varoufakis was referring to the events of 2010 and therefore did not speak neither as a minister nor did he comment on the present situation.”

Unnoticed went also everything that Varoufakis told to ARD with regards to present situation, overshadowed by a disproportionally long middle finger.

UPDATE:

at the end of the day (yesterday), Yanis Varoufakis tweeted the full video from the 2013 Zagreb conference, with the note: “And here is the ‘undoctored’ by the unscrupulous media’s video” .

At 40:25 he does indeed shows the middle finger.

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So his objection to ARD was referring to the fact that the ARD had clipped out his reference to “2010” and thus having created the misleading impression that Varoufakis was referring to the present situation with Germany.

The whole misunderstanding was also a bit lost in translation during the live stream with ARD.

Nevertheless, at that time, Varoufakis was not FinMin – neither he was thinking that he could become one, some day.

Focus

Talking about middle fingers…. a reader reminded me of the infamous German weekly FOCUS that had showed the middle finger to a whole nation. That was on 20. April 2011.

 

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13 comments

  1. I agree with Varouvakis at that time, 1-1-2010 was the right time for Greece to go defauld.
    I am not agree that The finger is a wrong Thing.
    at that time it was maybe wright
    you cannot get somebody on the negative side for a meaning wath is two years ago!
    we all learn in the time.
    we get info and we meet People and we talk and life goes on.
    I thnk he does a good Job.
    Yannis go on!!!!

  2. “The global economy is going to be detramentally effected if the Eurozone goes”
    SAID MR. YANNIS VAROUFAKIS. SIR.
    1: AUSTRIA
    2: BELGIUM
    3: CYPRUS
    4: ESTONIA
    5: FINLAND
    6: FRANCE
    7: GERMANY
    8: GREECE
    9: IRELAND
    10: ITALY
    11: LITHUANIA
    12: LUXEMBURG
    13: MALTA
    14: NETHERLANDS
    15: PORTUGAL
    16: SLOVAKIA
    17: SLOVENIA
    18: SPAIN
    Dear Mr. Varoufakis Sir.
    How is it possible that these 18 small countries
    AND GREMANY IS A BASKET CASE
    AND GERMANY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BASKET CASE
    AND THEY STORIES OF GERMANY THE GREAT & INDUSTRIOS ARE RUBBISH ONLY FOR GERMANY HAS BEEN PROTECTED BY THE WEST
    THEIR INCESTIOUS BROTHER.
    It is the rubbish of the Royals & aristocracy & the homeland.

    – Wallis Simpson was sent by the Wealthy Monarchists of the AMERICA to bring the KING HOME to America – KING EDWARD VIII
    IT WAS AGREED THAT Edward VIII would be King of America & HIS BROTHER KING GEORGE VI would become King of England – it was agreed by everyone.
    When it all went horribly wrong – as most stupid ideas do – EDWARD VIII was out in the cold – so he went to Adolf Hitler & said “conquer Britain & give me back my throne” _ they struck a deal.
    There are still supporters in America for a king with origins in Germany – the mother land.

    This is the stuff that rules all these relationships.
    For Gods sake – underneath the British throne lay the “stone of Jacob – Jacobs pillow – the Stone of Destiny” WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DIVINE ORIGINS OF THE BRITISH THRONE – OF BIBLICAL PREPORTIONS – WHICH BEGAN IN THE MOTHERLAND GREMANY.

    The dungeons & dragons of reality –

    But also the TTIP agreement will take away the individual powers of the the EU nations & give thenm over to Germany & the US – Britian & France – their retardes siblings will be thrown the scraps after the feasting.

    VAROUFAKIS is beating THAT drum for THE DIVINE ARISTOCRACY THE WANTS TO STEAL THE WORLD FROM US SO AS TO USE IT AS THEIR PRIVATE – PUBLIC TOILET – AS THEY HAVE DONE TO THE MIDDLE EAST.
    Yannis, Yannis sadly, you got lost in the woods at some point man !

  3. So, this the footage was in 2010, not 2013. At both those years the victory of Syriza was not probalble. But now we are at 2015 and Syriza won the elections. So, the pro-german EU propaganda media is trying to discredit Varoufakis anyway possible: “sticked fingers”, “paris match photos”, whatever. This should be considered as normal. So, Varoufakis has to face it, talk about it, and keep going ahead. Keep going, Varoufakis, make history.

  4. Someone is lost in the woods but its not Varoufakis.

  5. Of course it’s a fake.

    (1) Anyone with even the briefest exposure to his myriad lectures & interviews over the years knows that this is exactly NOT his style – he is invariably diplomatic, persuasive and articulate. This is his great strength.

    (2) He has never yet ‘blamed’ and has no need to, since what he says is 1000 x more damning of illogic / malintent. His aim as an economist has been to creatively solve problems, not create them; and as a Greek to help Greece. Any such stupid gesture would have backfired totally, since it would have instantly disqualified him from interviews AND his present position as FinMin.

    (3) The Zagreb conference was widely disseminated across anti-EU Europe. Had such a gesture taken place it would have been gratefully posted by dissidents, university groups etc. on YouTube. But it wasn’t…

    Last, Eurogroup has worked to demonize and isolate him from the start, even calling for his dismissal. Which side therefore benefits more in displaying such a doctored video?

    Wake up!

    • (1) – wrong
      (2) – wrong
      (3) – wrong

      The rest – wrong.

      But I am sure, you don’t care…

  6. It would be as well to point out that character assassination is a ploy used to attempt to discredit opposition and thus turn public opinion to your side.
    Greek people know full well the venom which this creates because this is a ploy which has been used against Greece as a nation. The onslaught and derogatory press reports giving reasons why the Greek economic crisis is entirely the Greek peoples fault was spread throughout the European Union. The Greek people were admonished and belittled, everyone was told that this was due to their idleness… their laziness… their overspending….and their quest for a free ride, all of which has proven to be totally false.

    This latest attack is rubbish and should be dismissed as such.