Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

Corner shop culture

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

“The basic problem is that directorates operate like corner shops.” It does not matter what or whom the above allegation was directed against. Is anyone really interested in what exact organization “needs to be purged of the Byzantinism, the shadows and the personal agendas that undermine the common good for the sake of self-interest”?

How rare is it for a board of directors to resign for being at the receiving end of “constant slanderous and offensive attacks” from unionists or others from the same field?

The Ministry of Culture and the Greek Film Center have in recent days been mired in turmoil amid a barrage of resignations and press statements. However, we should not limit our attention to that small segment of Greek society or we will miss out on the big picture. 

A tender declared void is hardly a rare occurrence for the state. Even when the best intentions are at play, there will always be reactions coming from those who believe they are being left out, and who will do anything in their power to destroy the entire project rather than let it move ahead without “them.” Meanwhile, “they” are usually the less capable: people at the top of the seniority list who cannot survive without state money, hand-in-hand with union groups that justify their existence by accommodating the people on that very seniority list. There are enough legal instruments out there to push a procedure, but to also stall it for years, of course implicating individuals in the process. 

So “they” bully ministries, managements, journalists and media that challenge their status; and they hope for the best. No one wants to all of a sudden end up sitting in court. “They” use threats and intimidation to justify their existence.

Sure, there will always be mistakes, oversights and omissions. Nothing can be fully watertight, particularly amid emergency conditions (such as the coronavirus pandemic) that come with unpredictable consequences.

At times like these, assuming responsibility means that one will inevitably be targeted by one’s enemies. It is the unavoidable cost of being appointed to a state job, whether that is a ministerial post or a seat on the board of directors. Otherwise, the most capable, the most talented and most creative will be exposed with no institutions to rely on.

This is the script, more or less. Every one of us can think of our own lives, some story that is more relevant to us. Because “they” are everywhere. The culture of the little corner shop may be banal, but this does ease the frustration.

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