Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

The state we’re in

COMMENT

TAGS: Crime, Athens

There were two mafia-style attacks in the Greater Athens area within the space of 24 hours this week, one at Akti Kondyli in Piraeus and another in Ano Voula. In the first attack, the victim survived with injuries; in the second, the victim was shot to death.

Early indications suggest that the incidents were connected to the settling of scores between crime gangs.

Kingpins, death contracts, drug trafficking and the like. Meanwhile, three 15-year-olds were arrested for attacking OASA buses with stones and air guns. They were also operating at night, and in close proximity to underground passages so they could escape quickly, witnesses said.

It’s not certain whether the kids were attacking the buses for fun or if they are have psychological problems, an official said – although the latter explanation is hard to question.

Hooded youths recently attacked students with pieces of wood and vandalized equipment inside the capital’s Panteion University, while the anti-establishment Rouvikonas group casually stages raids where it deems necessary, and drug dealers and addicts have free run of university premises.

On Thursday, members of the Roma community attacked a police patrol car, injuring two officers.

Requests for stricter policing remain unfulfilled because of shortages in staff and equipment, as well as pockets of corruption inside the security forces. By summing up the problems we may be ironing out their particular characteristics.

However, the overall picture allows no room for relaxation as violence and lawlessness top the agenda. The “law of the night” is constantly gaining ground at the expense of what we call city life.

It is not the first time that we have drawn attention to the issue. The paradox is that the more we seem to talk about it, the worse it gets. Gangster-style behavior blossoms inside a hotbed of impunity.

There is nothing new in saying that the government does not have the necessary will to combat the phenomenon. In fact, something worse seems to be the case: Law-breaking behavior spreads because the government does not seem to consider it a serious problem.

It is just not paying attention. Rather than trying to build a workable state, the government is working on building a clientelistic state. The two are of course mutually exclusive.

Online