OPINION

On politics, sport and a little bit of dining

?Risotto is for people who hate rice?

Mediterranean cooking, particularly Italian, has become the food of the common man, in the West.

Risotto is a North Italian dish that I have not come to terms with.

Living in Asia, where some cultures? ?good morning? is «have you had rice today,? rice is the base of most meals, with different varieties of quality fresh rice available all the time and cooked in ways that the flavor of the rice is valued in the dish.

Risotto is really a dish for people who hate rice. Risotto is the new pizza in the junk food palaces of the world.

Junk food palaces are really about taking any ingredient and making the taste as bland as possible, and making it so that it can be swallowed immediately, almost without chewing, as it is already mush.

CHARILAOS LITHOXOPOULOS

Hypocritical archaeologists

It seems to me that present-day Greek archaeologists think that nothing should stand between their personal ambitions and the needs and abilities of the nation to pay for them. No one suggests that what lies under the tracks of ISAP should be destroyed. But to insist that excavations proceed right now, rather than at a later time and by future generations, when state funds are more available and technology better positioned to make the process painless to those that need to use the tracks, makes their argument of duty to the nation hypocritical!

GEORGE PETRAKIS

More respect for the ?neighbors?

Greece has much goodwill from the Greek diaspora that goes untapped, only because of the unashamedly undemocratic institutions, that make many third world countries look good.

The corruption and stealing of private property that goes unpunished, is the first thing that people bring up when they are asked to invest in Greek property.

Whenever I bring up the opportunities of investing in Greece, I get laughed at. One colleague always brings up the story of his father buying land in central Thessaloniki, fencing it off and arranging for a lawyer to look after his interests. On returning five years later, a multi-storey building covered his land. After much money spend on lawyers, it was thought safer to cut one?s losses and retreat.

Another situation concerns land bought on a Greek island that was stolen. The victim had to hire the lawyers that had a part in stealing the land to present his case, as Greek law does not allow lawyers from Athens or overseas to speak for the victim, on that island.

In our city its unfathomable that someone who is not the owner of the land would be allowed to build on it by the government. The government aids robbers in stealing. Does it allow the police to aid in the robbery of banks?

A journalist living in Greece for three years made the comment that what struck him about Greece was that it was a culture of «self» and not of «community.» The fact that few Greeks are concerned about the welfare of their neighbor or their country, undermines the Greek economy and themselves.

The world is floating on money waiting to be parked somewhere, and the only thing it asks is the rule of law, some basic respect for the person giving the capital and a small return.

The economic problems in Greece can be overcome overnight if Greece embraces basic Democratic principles and the populace understands that they must treat their «neighbor» as well as they treat their goats.

If you kick your goat, you get less milk. If you terrorize your «neighbour», your «neighbour» produces less wealth for you and Greece.

CHARILAOS LITHOXOPOULOS

A disgraceful soccer match

What I witnessed [on Saturday] was an absolute disgrace. Nothing but a disgrace. Greece needs foreign referees as officials to help stop the obvious corruption or bias from Greek match officials.

It would be such a shame and a huge loss if Djibril Cisse leaves Greece.

STAVROS PARISSOS

I thought the Greek nation and the Greek people couldn’t embarrass themselves or get any lower than they already have. After watching the derby OSFP vs PAO on ERT from Melbourne Australia it is obvious that I was wrong and that things will not change or get better in Greece but continue to decline and be more embarrassing for the the Greek people, including myself.

THOMAS LAKOS

The real issue behind the ?selloff?

The main issue of the proposed, in essence forced, sell-out of Greek public property is not the sale or lease of Greek public property to «foreigners.» Greeks will have equal opportunity to buy as well. The problem I see is that the sale of assets does not address the real issue, which is of course that the government is spending more than it collects from taxes. Something can be done for increasing tax revenue but the real efforts should be made in reducing the expenditures. The government is spending way too much on non-productive activities. This could explain the Greek paradox that while Greeks work more hours per week than other Europeans their productivity is one of the lowest.

GEORGE GEORGELLIS

Praise for Greek cuisine

I’m so glad I just found your culinary site today. Just this morning, while watching a cooking program about Greek cooking, I came to the conclusion that traditional Hellenic cookery is to my estimation one of the purest, least adulterated kitchens yet to be found. I’m constantly amazed at the complex flavors that are derived from simple ingredients, plus the cuisine IS HEALTHY!!! For years I was a caterer, serving the dishes of my northern Italian father’s region and my mother’s Sicily only. Eventually I started presenting Greek dishes much to the delight of my patrons, and sometimes I would present a Greek-only table to everyone’s great pleasure… I learned to appreciate Greek cookery from native-born Greeks friends, who, for several years, I had to refer to in order to make sure that I was presenting unadulterated true Greek presentations… Hopefully in time the general public will learn to appreciate the cuisine of Greece. At the risk of sounding a little odd, every time I’m at a Greek table I feel the brilliant sun (even in winter), hear village music and that puts a smile on my face that is hard to erase!

JOHN GIAN BANCHERO

What is Eroglu’s ?old thinking? on Cyprus?

This article doesn’t elaborate on what [Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris] Droutsas meant by [Dervis] Eroglu’s supposed obstructionist «old thinking» on Cyprus. If he means the weighted vote in Parliament, then he’s dead wrong. The weighted vote is the only way the Turkish Cypriot minority can be guaranteed civil equality, including cultural and language rights, in a federated state. If this is «old thinking,» then it’s Droutsas and [Dimitris] Christofias who are the problem.

JOHN SCHNEIDERMAN

Angry at how the country?s run

Hire a company which is responsive to investors to run the country and this will be the first time in modern history that Greeks will have a responsible and accountable government.

Bring your educational standards to that of the Germans or English, and you would then see an empowered population. Wasting the human mind is a crime.

I learned from living in Greece that you are what you call yourself. Physicians that barely finished courses butchering human beings. Government employees bleeding the pockets of people for their own benefit. And media more interested in the sexual prowess of the Greek male than honest in-depth investigative reporting.

Your reporters have no general education background to understand various sectors of society, for if you only study one discipline you are an idiot in the rest. You need good basic general education before specialization.

I am very angry about the way the country is run – shame, shame, shame. If Greece does not change this decade, then it will be relegated to a fourth world status.

Where is the pride?

JAMES GARLAND

Disappointment at reforms for lawyers

I don’t know which to be the more surprised (and disappointed) at, the caliber of the issue about which PASOK MPs threatened to vote against their own government or the fact that the government immediately withdrew the ?offending? article from the law being discussed?

It astonished me to learn that there is an EU country with petty restrictions as to where law firms can and cannot set up offices – but this is very typical of the types of antiquated restrictive practices which bedevil Greece. Of course, in Greece this sort of restriction is not regarded as ?petty?! It affects ?important? things like protecting the MPs’ friends and relatives from competition, always the top priority in Greek legislation – and one of the key reasons why Greece is a backwater and laughing stock.

Secondly, a government climbdown on such an issue shows how little hope there is for Greece.

ROBERT SKAILES

Fix Greece first

Greece should rather expend more energy and funds on educating it’s own citizens, creating a better education system which in turn creates a larger economy.

Greece should stop playing outside its neighborhood and concentrate on it. We have enough problems in the country that remain unsolved, better things to do here than attempt to punch above our weight.

No doubt, democratically elected governments in the Middle East are in everyone’s best interests, but Greece should fix itself first, then look at fixing other’s problems.

ANGELOS T.S.

Stop the transport vandals

Am I the only thinking person who wonders why protestors are allowed to destroy (or cover up) the validation terminals at metro stations? Why hasn’t anyone called the police and had these people arrested for meddling with the safe and efficient operation of the metro?

Also, I see the same nonsense at the toll roads. Where are the Greek police and why are they not in force, arresting (or at least ticketing) these idiots on the spot when they break the law?

Oh, sorry, I forgot, we’re in Greece.

ELENI KOURES

Unconditional surrender

I have to agree with Mr Lygeros. This selloff does constitute an unconditional surrender. However, it’s the only option. Sooner or later one has to come to the realization when one has failed utterly and has exhausted all options, and simply lacks the capacity to succeed alone. Now is as good a time as any. Greece’s debt mountain continues to grow, and Greece’s partners are growing impatient. In the markets, (i.e. those who buy Greek debt) Greece’s default or restructuring is already a foregone conclusion. No one outside of Greece believes that Greece won’t restructure.

Mr Lygeros seems to have been surprised that Greece’s partners didn’t recommend that Greece make better use of her public assets to generate revenue. Of course Greece’s creditors wouldn’t bother to suggest that. Based on what evidence would they make such a suggestion? Greek governments, one after the other, have shown themselves unable to make use of the assets at their disposal. Mr Lygeros said as much in his article. The Olympic venues sit and crumble (and lose value). The old airport has sat unused for a decade. One gilded plan after another being proposed, only to be abandoned. Valuable public land has been handed over to a monastery of all things. Greek citizens sit at their televisions and watch failure after failure paraded in front of them. Suggesting that Greek governments make use of these assets for revenue growth would be wasted breath.

Greek governments, one after the other, have shown themselves unable to craft an effective, efficient, non-political public service. Greece’s finance minister is so exasperated with his own ministry’s tax collectors that he wants a separate tax police force. And thus has shown that he completely misses the point, as though a new government agency, comprised of the same public servants as the old, will not be as ineffective as the old.

It’s time for the Greek government simply to get out of the game. This is not being dogmatic. I wouldn’t suggest the same for other governments. In my own city, I would not recommend the privatization of the public transport system, because the current system works and is not in massive debt. It’s simply the fact that as an expatriate living outside of Greece and looking in, I have a perspective that resident Greeks may not.

NICK KANELLOS