These political cartoons satirize Germany’s Angela Merkel visit to Greece this week.
It was brief but certainly daring, since the German Chancellor is not exactly the most popular figure in Greece at the moment.
Merkel after all is responsible for forcing Greeks onto an extreme austerity diet.
Then again, it’s also thanks to Merkel that Greece is still in the euro game.
These political cartoons reflect the saint and sinner image of Angela Merkel in Greece.
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Marco Werman: And since we’re on the Arts, let’s talk fashion briefly and Angela Merkel’s pale green blazer that she wore when she visited Greece this week. The Italian press noticed it was the same blazer the German leader wore when Germany beat Greece at the European Soccer Championships last June. Perhaps not a good omen for her visit to Greece. The World’s Carol Hills joins me now to talk about other sardonic views of Merkel’s arrival in Greece through cartoons. What are you seeing, Carol?
Carol Hills: Well, you know Angela Merkel isn’t exactly beloved in Greece. She’s kind of like the female Darth Vader, in fact. A lot of Greeks didn’t really want to have her there but a lot of political cartoonists jumped right in – Greek cartoonists and other Europeans, even a few Middle Easterners. There was a couple red carpets sort of welcoming kind of notch. One of the red carpets covered up all the protestors; this guy is kind of sweeping them under the rug. Another one, she is walking down the red carpet and she’s carrying this big sign ‘Austerity’ and there’s people starving and collapsing along the red carpet.
Werman: The cartoonists’ pens get sharp when Angela comes to town. Now, another cartoon shows a sort of ‘Zorba the Greek’ character on top of the Greek parliament and he’s shouting, “Repent, Merkel is coming.”
Hills: “Repent, Merkel is coming” [laughs]. Yeah, there’s Zorba the Greek and there’s another one…one of my favorites…is Merkel standing with the Greek Prime Minister and he says, “I thought we’d grab a spot of lunch. He’s rummaging through a trash can and Merkel is looking horrified, “Eww!”
Werman: The take away from this, Carol, is that Merkel is not a big…Merkel is not a hero in Greece.
Hills: Well, it’s mixed. She’s not a hero in Greece. Lots of Greeks hate her but there’s also the recognition in the cartoons and, as we know, from our reporting that she’s also saving Greece, that Greece is even still in the Europe games. So it’s a completely mixed bag and it’s that sort of tension within Greece about that very fact.
Werman: So, how many of these cartoons are actually penned by Greek artists, Greek cartoonists?
Hills: Well, it’s interesting. Until today, I haven’t been able to really run Greek cartoonists. I haven’t had access to them in English, but I stumbled upon a blog of this Greek-American living in Greece and he does a great blog. He translated a bunch of Greek cartoons about Merkel’s visit. So, that was exciting because there’s a lot of them. I just don’t have access to them in English so this was a thrill.
Werman: If you just look at the visuals, do they look kind of sharp and acerbic?
Hills: Well, conveniently, the blogger translated them for me.
Werman: [laughs] Excellent. Well, listeners can see the cartoons at theworld.org. The World’s cartoon maven Carol Hills thanks so much.
Hills: Thanks, Marco.
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