Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Calling the shots behind the scenes

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

There are times when it’s hard to believe that anything can save this country. For the past 25 years, Greek political life has constantly revolved around the issue of political and business entanglements. Prime ministers have come and gone, but vested interests have escaped unscathed. Paradox has become the norm.

After coming to power, one prime minister once said, “I will be a successful premier if by the end of my tenure, X and Y have stopped plundering the sectors they operate in.” He meant what he said. By the time the politician stepped down from office, X had actually strengthened his company’s ties with the state while Y had spectacularly increased his profit margin.

Neither the media nor the politicians ever dared to cut to the bone of the issue. To be sure, casting light on such cases is no easy task. However, the foot-dragging and complete failure to fully investigate any of these corruption cases never ceases to amaze me. It is never proved in court that Mr X was an arms dealer, or that Mr Z was a middleman who arranged the commissions with a certain group of politicians in a certain shady room in a certain place.

Meanwhile, talk about waging war on corruption never stops. A few, small steps have been made. And that is thanks to serious investigative journalism and some solid judges.

Corruption however is deeply rooted, particularly in specific areas. Even if you are prime minister, it’s next to impossible to find any state official willing to help you on the phone if you want to find out the truth about a contract.

Purging Greece of corruption appears to be a distant dream. Greek society has become apathetic and cynical. They put the guilty and the innocent in the same bag. Some officials in the SYRIZA-led coalition government have gone way too far in the name of a totally misguided left-wing purity.

As for the big-time godfathers acting behind the scenes, they’re having a blast under the radar. I heard of one guy – but I can’t prove it – who boasts about having the largest number of grants from politicians.

Another guy, who plundered the country for decades, now states publicly that the best and only solution is for Greece to give up the euro and return to its old currency, the drachma.

We have all suffered from this crisis, the international bailouts and the impoverishment of the country, and some guys continue to call the shots behind the scenes. And this is outrageous.

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