OPINION

Bracing for 2004

New roads are being built while the old ones are being repaired. The Metro network is being expanded, undermined as it may be by the greed of constructors, a greed legitimated by the government’s self-interest. New stadiums are being raised while older ones are refurbished. Stray animals in the area of the Zappeion are being eliminated, souvenirs are catching on, and sponsors seem confident that their revenues will far exceed their subsidies. The Cultural Olympiad, a costly hoopla in the field of public relations in the service of empty rhetoric, is doing rather well. The volunteers brace themselves for the Games, and consume large amounts of fizzy drinks so as to digest the fact that their own thirst is being used to offset the outrageous fees paid to the professional army of 2004 officials. Fathers’ sons are being removed from their posts only to be given even more important ones, demonstrating that nepotism remains invincible. As for Marathon, the site may have been sacrileged but the government’s propaganda officials insist that there’s no better place for a rowing center than the wetlands. Oh, yes. We’re about to host an event that will allegedly restore the idea of moderation and healthy competition. Only the torches are missing, but these are also being prepared with an air of urgency so that bureaucracy does not heed our inspiration. And we need not travel to Olympia to light them up. We might as well use the fire burning in Karaiskaki Square, using the flame that half of the inheritors of the ancient spirit used to burn a car which happened to be in the awful color of the team that is supported by the other half of the heirs. It’s the same old story. In 2004 we will put on our festive clothes, cast our weapons aside and acknowledge our opponent’s right to victory. By that time the lesson of Olympic Education, recently introduced in primary schools, will have yielded fruit.