If only announcing measures were enough

If only announcing measures were enough

If having laws was enough, many things would be much different. But it’s not. That laws are enacted does not necessarily mean that they are implemented. Moreover, the rate at which “crackdowns” in all sorts of areas are announced is almost as frequent as their effective cancellation. And the tougher the measures that are announced, the faster it becomes apparent that they are as malleable as modeling clay.

When the social outrage dies down and finds another target, old habits return with a vengeance and, once back on the fringes of publicity, are able to reclaim lost ground and then some.

The murder of Alkis Kambanos by a gang of “soccer fans” in Thessaloniki was followed by a flood of promises that something so awful would never be allowed to happen again from every political official, sports official and other relevant party. Many of us who think of ourselves as fans also swore to stop legitimizing the brutal interests and shady activities that mar sports, along with our enthusiasm and passion for our team. But by the time the next “life or death” match rolled around, our promises had become oaths written in the sand. Same as the oaths made by the state in its customary announcements of new measures.

Ministers often show their true colors when they try to toot their own horn by applauding the services they run. “Discovering the coldhearted murderers of Alkis is a matter of honor for ELAS,” the minister for citizens’ protection said on Monday, referring to the Hellenic Police. But what does this really mean? That ELAS has the right or the privilege to separate the crimes it investigates into those that it takes umbrage over and those that it thinks less of? I wonder, is solving the murder of a young Roma man by the police not a matter of honor? And why not?

“For ELAS, the law is the law, and it applies to everyone. Over the past two weeks, 67 fan clubs have been shut down in the wake of 575 inspections,” Takis Theodorikakos added. OK, so why, exactly, didn’t these inspections take place earlier, before the murder, when everyone knew that the fan clubs were hotbeds of violence?

The minister for sports also took part in the announcement of the new measures, begging the question: Has Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis at any point felt the need to explain why he chose to play to localist sentiment after the killing of Kostas Katsoulis, a supporter of Piraeus-based Ethnikos, at the stadium of Irodotos in his native Crete in September 2014?

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