THE election campaign has livened up thanks to the publication of a book by the former governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Panicos Demetriades, into the collapse of the economy, the haircut on deposits and the aftermath.
A review of the book, titled A Diary of the Euro Crisis in Cyprus, was published in Politis on Sunday, and the candidates’ campaign staff have talked about little else since then.
The presidential palace in particular was not impressed as President Anastasiades was not portrayed in a positive light. The veracity of his version of events that led to the haircut was disputed by Demetriades, who also gave a frightening account of the slapdash way the politicians handled the crisis. The political system was in disarray, following advice from big law offices and audit firms that were protecting the interests of their clients.
The Anastasiades camp has issued several announcements rubbishing the claims made in the book and accusing Demetriades of being a liar and resorting to falsehoods. This labelling of anyone who dares challenge the president’s version of important events a liar is becoming a bit of a habit. Before Demetriades, Espen Barth Eide had been officially declared a liar by the president for offering a different narrative about the collapse of the talks in Switzerland to the president’s.
This is a very simplistic approach, betraying an authoritarian mentality and astonishing narrow-mindedness. Perhaps Anastasiades is not aware that each person interprets and understands events in a different way and that his version of events is not the absolute truth and neither is that of Demetriades. The former governor in his book was much more charitable to the president that appointed him, Demetris Christofias, despite having the main responsibility for the meltdown, than he was to the president who forced him to resign.
We doubt, however, that he is liar and resorted to falsehoods as the presidential palace rather simplistically has claimed.
In fact, different versions of events help those, who do not subscribe to dogmatism, form a better picture of what actually happened. For this reason, books like Demetriades’ are very useful. Demetriades’ predecessor at the central bank, Athanasios Orphanides, also published a book about the economy’s collapse, which was lambasted by Akel because it was scathing about Christofias.
Interestingly, both former governors in their books present themselves as blameless for what happened to economy, heaping all the blame on the politicians. Each one, like Anastasiades, has his own version of events, from which they emerge without any responsibility for the banking system’s collapse. They are not liars, but their accounts are shaped by an instinct for self-preservation. In this respect, they are no different from Anastasiades.