COMMENT

What are they trying to save?

By Alexis Papachelas

There are moments when we seem to lose all sense of proportion. Suddenly, for example, a wave of protest and superficial patriotism arose against the fact that the ?foreigners? want to place their own technocrats in Greek tax offices, in the body that will be in charge of privatizations and in the state?s General Accounting Office. Are we really that proud? Are our tax offices and officials such paradigms of professionalism?

Greece is sinking because its politicians demolished the state so that they could govern as they willed and with impunity, together with the labor union leaders, party officials and entangled businessmen. It suited them that tax offices didn?t work because that allowed them to erase fines, order audits and enjoy a perfect relationship with the deep party- and union-driven state.

The absence of structure and professionalism shielded all the shenanigans and jobberies. So, who and what exactly is threatened by the arrival of technocrats from abroad whose task will be to help rebuild these state services? What large and small interests are so concerned about our sovereignty? Or do they want to keep doing business as they always had done in the future as well?

There are myriad past examples that illustrate how necessary the help of foreigners is: From the military advisers who transformed courage into discipline at crucial times in the country?s development to the period before the 2004 Athens Olympics, when foreigners organized us and helped us show off our better selves.

So let?s stop being scared of them. Let us look at our state straight on and accept all the help we can get in order to rebuild it properly. Even now things are getting better in some crucial sectors, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

But the petty players, the entangled, the unionists and the party die-hards are staging rearguard battles because they want the chaos and the decline in order to continue to survive and rule. It is obvious that they would rather be the bosses and pimps of a wretched and poor Greece under the drachma than professional civil servants with rules and high standards under the watchful eye of experienced technocrats.

So, why don?t these peddlers of pseudo-patriotism just give up the rigmarole about sovereignty and focus instead on how to build a state and a country that doesn?t need to beg for loans every so often, that isn?t ashamed of what it has become and that can rank on an equal level with the rest of its European peers.

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