Wednesday October 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Step one: enforce the law

By Alexis Papachelas

One of the biggest, and perhaps the most intractable problems facing the country is the lawlessness that prevails in virtually all aspects of civic life. There is no other country in Europe where everything is permitted from motorcycles riding on sidewalks to hurling verbal abuse at police officers. Such phenomena are, of course, only the tip of the iceberg; they are the obvious symptoms of a phenomenon that started following the fall of the military dictatorship in the early 1970s. Disregard for the law grew during the 1980s and now it has become extremely difficult to contain.

It’s impossible to take the Greek state seriously when the central authorities, the courts and key departments make decisions that cannot be implemented because a small but violent minority takes a different view. And, yet, this is more or less what happens with foreign investments, with the creation of reception centers for illegal immigrants, with the so-called integrated waste management facilities (XYTA) and much more. The approach that is commonly put forward is for a “dialogue from scratch” or, even worse, for a “comprehensive and not piecemeal solution to the problem.”

It’s needless to point out that unless we change our mentality, no investor will ever want to put his money here and we shall never solve the problem of illegal immigration. Rather, we shall sink in a state of violent decay and anarchy. The prevalence of what Alekos Papadopoulos has termed “historical populism” in this country is now fomenting bouts of fascist violence, vulgarity and lawlessness. There is no serious ideological rival. How can politicians cope with the beast of populism that they themselves nourished? It will take a lot of discussion and, in fact, guts to take on the lawlessness which will turn into mob rule tomorrow.

We must be clear and fair however. The rule of law stipulates that the law applies to all equally. I detest that old claim, popular among old PASOK voters, that “if the elites are squandering the country’s wealth, we should not have any qualms about doing the same.” Deep down, they have a point. We are discussing the institutional corruption of the various trade unions, but we must finally hold accountable all the government agencies that have for years failed to meet their duties in relation to the major scandals that are now coming to light.

Lawlessness reigned in the streets, but at the same time it reigned across a big chunk of state-dependent and corrupt private sector. Prosecutors sometimes do their jobs, especially when they succeed in working quietly and systematically, instead of trying to impress. But they can be hopelessly slow, or sometimes turn a blind eye leaving people’s demand for rule of law unsatisfied.

Foreign observers, who have the ability to see more clearly what is happening here, are quite blunt about what needs to change: If you don’t clean the pillars of corruption in the state as well as the private sector, you will never manage to come out of the crisis.

So we must demand that the law is enforced on the sidewalk. But we must also demand that the law applies for all watchdogs and supervisory authorities who still have some explaining to do about how things went so awry in the past decade and more.

And one last thing: the laws must first of all be respected by those who swear to serve and apply them. Most people are in favor of strengthening the police’s presence in the streets of the country and share the concerns and difficulties facing young police officers who are exposed to all sorts of risks for measly salaries. But no society can tolerate riot policemen who hit people with their batons held the wrong side or throw stones against demonstrators.

The law has clout only when it is the same for all, the strong and the weak. Otherwise, we can no longer talk about an organized society, but a jungle that has no place in Europe.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday April 8, 2012 (21:08)  
The ECB collateral for Greece must be lowered to 5 pct
The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
Self-opposing coalition
Gutsy rectors
Archaeologists find missing head of Amphipolis sphinx
Archaeologists digging at a tomb dating to the era of Alexander the Great in ancient Amphipolis in northern Greece have found the missing head of one of the two sphinxes guarding the entranc...
Coalition leaders prepare for troika amid sour mood
A dispute between New Democracy and PASOK over civil servants’ salaries continued Tuesday, underlining the big task facing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos ...
Inside News
Credit sector officials sleeping easy ahead of stress test results
Analysts, investment banks and institutional investors appear optimistic regarding the results of the European Central Bank stress tests on local lenders, which has been mirrored in the perf...
Certainty on primary surplus target
The state budget’s primary surplus beat expectations by almost a billion euros in the first nine months of the year, General Accounting Office data confirmed on Tuesday, but tax revenues and...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
PAOK fans stop coach Markopoulos´s move to Olympiakos
Olympiakos is once again in the lookout for a new coach after the refusal of PAOK to release Soulis Markopoulos, while Panathinaikos defeated Kolossos on Rhodes on Monday to become the only ...
BASKETBALL
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
Nea Kifissia recorded the biggest win of its short history in the top flight defeating Olympiakos 68-67 on Sunday, in a Basket League weekend marred by the abandonment of the Thessaloniki de...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Credit sector officials sleeping easy ahead of stress test results
2. Certainty on primary surplus target
3. Feverish talks on payment plan proposals
4. TUI promises even more tourists
5. Archaeologists find missing head of Amphipolis sphinx
6. Coalition leaders prepare for troika amid sour mood
more news
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Gang importing heroin into Greece busted
3. Self-opposing coalition
4. Greece said to seek tailor-made plan for bailout exit
5. Gutsy rectors
6. Applications for heating oil subsidy set to start
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
3. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
4. GPO poll gives SYRIZA clear lead over New Democracy
5. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
6. Samaras’s crumbling Greek exit lacks backing from economists
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.