Friday December 19, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o 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)  
New weapons of diplomacy
Oblivious to change
Europes drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
A pointless battle
Tsipras admits there could be hard days ahead
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Friday that he is determined to implement his partys economic program if it comes to power but admitted that it would experience a challenging period. ...
Public medical centers keeping up despite shortages
Despite having just 1,050 doctors, medical centers belonging to Greeces public health system (PEDY) saw more than 200,000 regular and emergency patients, made over 3,500 house calls and iss...
Inside News
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
SOCCER
PAOK loss at Giannina brings Olympiakos to within a point
The bad losses that PAOK and Panathinaikos suffered on the road on Thursday allowed Olympiakos to gain significant ground on the table and come to within one point from the top after the mid...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Tsipras admits there could be hard days ahead
2. Public medical centers keeping up despite shortages
3. Workers rush to get early retirement
4. Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
5. Moscovici: Creditor inspections to become less frequent and lighter
6. Property capital gains tax halt
more news
Today
This Week
1. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
2. Independent Greeks MP Haikalis claims attempted bribery for presidential vote
3. Greek PM Samaras confronts peril putting his Greek transformation to vote
4. Independent Greeks leader backs MP's bribery claims, threatens to release video [Update]
5. Gov't spokeswoman says bribery claims 'badly-played charade,' heralds legal action if evidence not produced
6. Former premier Mitsotakis to meet President Papoulias to discuss political upheaval
Today
This Week
1. Juncker warns Greeks against voting 'extreme forces' into power
2. Romanos and the dilemma
3. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
6. High stakes
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.