Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

Why can’t we hold the ‘deep state’ to account?

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TAGS: Crime, Culture, Education

There is a so-called “deep state” in Greece that operates to the knowledge and with the tolerance of the official state. There is nothing new about this observation; everyone is aware of it.

Here we will address two examples of this “deep state.”

The first concerns the lawlessness that has been allowed to prevail on the grounds of the historic Athens Polytechnic, the site of a bloody student uprising against the country’s 1967-74 military dictatorship.

A recent article in Kathimerini (June 19) on this issue resulted in dozens of messages from students and professors at other higher education institutes around the country reporting a similar, if not worse, situation.

One student from the Athens University of Economics and Business claimed that he had been brutally assaulted two months earlier by eight individuals who have turned a basement area into their personal lair, who are involved in illegal activities and who bully anyone who tries to stand up to them. Nevertheless, no one, not even members of staff, want to mention their names because the gang has threatened to beat them up, burn their car, and such like.

The second instance concerns Greece’s historical monuments and archaeological spaces.

Why has the electronic ticketing system that so many ministers have promised still failed to materialize? What group of vested interests is reacting to such a rational measure in an area that brings such significant revenues to the state?

The answer can be found in another Kathimerini story, on October 15, 2015, in which evidence was presented showing that the Acropolis received 3 million visitors in 2014, yet half the tickets issued granted the holder free admission. This loss in revenues does not appear to worry any of the ministers who have passed through the Culture Ministry in the past few decades and nothing has been done to even investigate the phenomenon. Instead, we keep hearing suggestions and “tactful” admonitions – even the journalists trying to get to the bottom of the issue do so in guarded language.

In every case of such transgressions, evidence and examples are the stuff of anonymous testimonies that cannot be taken any further than that. The reach of the disease can only be implied, not quantified. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that when entangled interests, lawlessness and blackmail are allowed in the sectors of education and culture, then not only are their futures uncertain, they are also held to ransom.

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