Yesterday was our birthday. On 6 February, 1992, exactly 100 years ago, the newspaper then called Elefthero Vima first hit the stands.
That four-page newspaper was destined to last, and it bore the signature of founder Demetrios Lambrakis – a distinctive Cretan rebel who took part in the Macedonian struggle at the beginning of the 20th century, was an educator , and was from the start a close associate of Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos.
The newspaper was from the beginning supporting Venizelos’ Liberal Party (Fileleftheron), as was evident from the first issue’s editorial, entitled “What we shall pursue”.
It stressed that the paper was guided by the principles of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1909. It was evident that it was directly linked to the management of the Asia Minor catastrophe and its harsh impact on the nation and the country.
Since then, it has continually been in circulation, recording step-by-step and day-by day all the enthralling events of our tumultuous century, full of great national and global disasters, but also unique achievements that affected our lives.
All the major domestic and international divs of the 20th and 21st centuries were reported on by the paper, which expressed the most modern and progressive ideas, from the wave of the demotic language (spoken Greek) and liberal bourgeois democracy to the most modern currents in the arts and culture.
To Vima from the start was linked to distinctive divs – intellectuals and individuals from the realm of the arts and sciences – and was an uplifting and creative beacon.
Beyond central domestic and international divs in the world of politics and economics – Eleftherios Venizelos, Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Adenauer, Robert Schuman, Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Ioannis Metaxas, Papagos Plastiras, Georgios Papandreou, Konstantinos Karamanlis, Georgios Kartalis, Andreas Papandreou, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, Xenophon Zolotas, Angelos Angelopoulos, and many others – the newspaper’s contributors included poets and intellectuals, pioneering artists, distinguished prose writers and important scientists, whose work transcended the borders of our small, aggrieved country.
Its list of contributors included the poet Kostis Palamas, novelists Nikos Kazantzakis and Elias Venezis, Manolis Triantafyllidis, Delmouzos, Dimitris Glinos, Yannis Kordatos, Cornelius Castoriadis, Yorgos Theotokas, Angelos Terzakis, the entire Generation of the 30s when there was a strong literary and artistic flowering, composers Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis, world-renowned scientist Georgios Papanikolaou, Evangelos Papanoutsos, Marios Ploritis, Dimitris Maronitis, archaeologist Manolis Andronikos (who excavated the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great), and innumerable others.
It has been a century of writing that was served by countless individuals and distinguished journalists.
In the last 100 years, the Greek press had glory days but also faced a host of challenges, crises, tensions, persecution, scorn, attacks, and peaks and degradation, with the most recent being the multi-faceted economic crisis that truly shocked us.
Yet, the press always found in its ranks forces of rebirth and reconstruction. Hence, today it remains active, with a fighting spirit and defending the truth, which has been violated in this time of transition, conspiracy theories and unscientific fake news that have inundated us.
To Vima survived the challenges over a century, and our ambition is to double this 100-year anniversary.
Despite the great ongoing changes in the press, historic newspapers have endured. They have proven that they can maintain their role of informing citizens by adjusting and evolving, and always defending the steadfast principles of trustworthiness, pluralism, and democratic responsibility.