On 1 September, a set of five stamps will be placed in circulation, with the misleading title “Distinguished Greek Personalities” instead of “2016 IFG Awards”, the sequel of the sad affair of 2013. Back then, there was very strong criticism from the Hellenic Philatelic Society, as well as from the whole of organised philately, as the stamps depicted living individuals.

For the remainder of 2013, as well as 2014 and 2015, there was no similar incident, most probably because of those strong reactions. However, in 2016, there was a compromise: we saw stamps of Glezos, Zamanos, Maragoudakis and Vardinoyannis in the 75th anniversary of the EAM set, as well as of Theodorakis in the Lambrakis Movement set. For these persons no objection was raised whatsoever for obvious reasons: they are enjoying the closing stages of their long adventure, the chapters concerning their history have already been concluded. They are living legends.

The repetition of the regrettable 2013 set is very much upsetting. Also upsetting is that the carbon-copy events of 2013 indicate that the new leadership of the Hellenic Post was asked to ratify a decision taken in its absence. It is upsetting that they approved the set, completely ignoring the logic behind the honourable compromise of their predecessors. Causing further upset is the reappearance of this unknown, foreign (!) foundation, whose logo will appear for a second (!) time on a Greek set of stamps. It is upsetting, as it was emphasised back in 2013, that Greek stamps, timeless symbols of our national culture, will be relegated to nothing more than a mere firework to an event celebrating ‘lifestyle’.

We do not call into question any good intentions those behind this issue may have, nor, of course, the worthiness of the five honorees. However, it is upsetting to observe the lack of respect shown towards the regulations regarding depictions of living individuals on stamps. Equally upsetting are the common ‘oriental’ ways of levity, pretentiousness and ostentation, meddling or ‘pulling rank’, of which, it seems, we can never rid ourselves.

The 2016 IFG Awards are: Rita Wilson, Costa-Gavras, John A. Catsimatidis, George Stephanopoulos and Peter H. Diamandis