Friday November 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Dangerous games

By Alexis Papachelas

There are three anecdotes on my mind that illustrate in the clearest way how dangerous it is to toy with institutions in order to secure a position for yourself or a crony.

1. I once wrote a commentary protesting the fact that nothing was being done to remove illegally parked cars from a certain central Athenian thoroughfare. The next day I got a call from the then traffic police chief, who said that if my problem was that my license plates had been removed because I had parked illegally then he would be happy to return them, just as he did for other well-known individuals. Sure, he could have made things easy for me but his call showed just how neglected the city is when such a high-ranking official thinks this way.

2. Again a few years ago, I received a visit from a high-ranking employee at the Finance Ministry. He confided that he regularly received memos from the office of the minister ordering him to take a name off some list or to re-examine a case that had already been investigated. He admitted that if this practice continued, revenues would suffer, but added that he was not adverse to tidying up a case here or there, just not on such a scale. I tried to look into what he had told me further, but met with a wall of silence. When I eventually turned to a higher authority for some answers, he brushed it off as hyperbole and ill-meant rumors.

3. While investigating the Imia crisis in 1996, I came across a high-ranking officer who made me feel something between pity and rage for how clearly ignorant he was about the issue (dont get me wrong, I also met a lot of excellent officers who were doing their job professionally and without thought for their own well-being). I pushed him hard and then he broke down crying and admitted that he was not cut out for the job but had got in thanks to his political connections. It was one of those moments when I was thankful that things did not turn out as badly as they could have given the circumstances.

These three incidents came to mind because I have reached the conclusion that the reason we are where we are today is that we toyed with the countrys institutions and completely debased their roles. There are, unfortunately, some officials who continue to do this, as though institutions are there to serve their personal interests just like the minister who wrote off tax fines in order to advance his career, contributing to the collapse of the system, or the police officer who saw his job as serving his bosses clientelist system even at the expense of the city and its residents, and the incapable, cowardly military officer who found himself in a crucial position on the night of the Imia crisis and was frightened by the mere idea of having to make an important decision.

These games do not come cheap and in many ways are self-perpetuating as successors usually follow the lead of their predecessors.

ekathimerini.com , Saturday June 7, 2014 (14:38)  
Who lost Greece?
Suicidal moves
Expensive load of old rubbish
Relationship troubles
Greek police investigating suspected ISIS gun supply routes
Greek police are investigating reports according to which criminal rings are transporting weapons from Albania to Jihadists involved in Islamic State activities in Syria via Greece, Kathimer...
Venizelos, Papandreou agree to disagree over PASOK
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos is due to meet former Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday as he continues his efforts to generate a greater sense of unity in his party after holding tal...
Inside News
Louis to bring third cruise ship to Greece
The Louis Group will add a third cruise liner to its fleet in Greece next year to cover the increasing demand by cruise passengers. Introducing the corporate brand name Celestyal Cruises, wh...
Current account surplus widens
The surplus in the current account balance showed a significant widening in the first nine months of the year against the same period in 2013, reflecting the increase in the economys compet...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Big win for Greens, tight one for Reds
Panathinaikos scored a crucial as well as emphatic away win at Turow on Thursday that should see it qualify from its tough group to the top 16 of the Euroleague, while Olympiakos saw off vis...
SOCCER
Super League in disarray, lockout continues
The situation in Greek soccer is going from bad to worse, with accusations flying between club officials, the head of the Super League announcing he will quit on Monday and the leagues remai...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Big win for Greens, tight one for Reds
2. Louis to bring third cruise ship to Greece
3. Current account surplus widens
4. Banks see light at end of bad loan tunnel
5. Reports point to economic recovery but also the risks
6. Greek police investigating suspected ISIS gun supply routes
more news
Today
This Week
1. Current account surplus widens in September
2. House committee says LAOS chief should face charges
3. Papantoniou second pothen esches trial postponed
4. Greeks not satisfied with living conditions, work, study finds
5. Evros municipalities damaged by floods
6. Teleconference for Hardouvelis and troika on Thursday
Today
This Week
1. Double quake on Atalanti fault line rattles Greek capital [Update]
2. Greece and Poland switch roles as young Greeks head to vibrant Eastern European country for better prospects
3. Constructively disrupting the Greek start-up ecosystem: What will the impact be?
4. Anti-junta uprising anniversary to be marked amid tight security
5. Carlsberg takes control of Greek brewer Olympic Brewery [Update]
6. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.