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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.