OPINION

On crime, immigration, Athens mosque, Strauss-Kahn, the drachma, Samaras, Greece’s lost soul

When?

When will we stop blaming the government for everything?

When will we stop bribing just about everyone (doctors, licensing agencies, tax officials, to name just a few) to get preferential treatment?

When will we stop accepting public hospital practices (hiring external nurses to take care of our family members or expecting relatives to take care of them while the staff sits and reads magazines)?

When will it finally be possible to fire public employees that do not do their jobs (ie talking to relatives at work, going to the store or dentist during working hours, being really, really rude), as in the private sector?

When will the ?everyday person? start taking responsibility?

When will we see a chance to really improve the way things are done?

When will we start seeing that striking hurts us more, much more than it helps (and especially during the tourist season)?

When will we see that a strike should be the very last resort and not treated as a sport or an extra day off?

When will those that are organizing these strikes and protests start taking responsibility for the violence and destruction of property that happen every time?(And that these people seem to foster and hope for?)

When will we stop throwing garbage into our woods and onto our streets and our beaches? Is our environment not the greatest asset we have?

When are laws going to be enforced? (Best example traffic signs: Stop signs seem to only be here for decoration and the police seem to be the first who violate traffic rules and therefore give a wonderful example to everyone else.)

When will we stop hiring those we know instead of those that are most qualified?

When will we stop thinking short-term?

When will we finallly smell the coffee and make some urgently needed changes?

When will we stop being selfish, impolite and plain-old rude to everyone we don?t know?

And when will we see that we are in trouble, real trouble, and maybe that we ought to think about electing officials that don?t tell us what we want to hear and promise things that not only cannot, but must not happen.

WE are the people. We are responsible. We can change!

Toth Michaela

Re: Immigration

I fully agree with Stavros Lygeros and his article. It is not only Athens that suffers from the type of behavior and danger inflicted by uncontrolled immigration.

I was travelling back home by car on the boat from Patras to Ancona and I had a trailer. I stopped with my wife at the Superfast terminal to check in. Hundreds of Afghan immigrants then started to attempt to open up my trailer in public just outside the terminal and in front of my wife while I was queuing to check in at the counter. She started screaming and called my mobile. I then asked where I could contact the police to get some help. Guess what. Only one policeman guards the entire terminal. The poor man tried to help by asking the immigrants to go away. It was a rather poor show and the policeman told me that he is not even allowed to make an arrest unless they harm us physically because the press and the TV channels will start accusing the police of violence against ?the poor immigrants?. The police do not even get the budget to assign a stronger force to guard the Patras citizens and the tourist.

Alex Charalambous

France

United we stand?

As a senior police officer working in a European country, not Greece, I find it difficult to see any good things coming out from the Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis comment. Unfortunately, recent developments partially justify the public’s mistrust of the police, he said, adding that despite the efforts of successive leaders, there remains a clear democratic deficit.

And why does Greece have a ?Citizens? Protection Minister?? To protect the citizens from what? From your own politics? Your democracy is following a path determined by the media, the opposition and the government politicians? own personal prestige. It seems to me Greek politicians are scared to take the consequences of their own rulings. Greek politicians make a personal goal of always squabbling and criticizing each other, mostly the prime minister, instead of giving constructive advice and sticking to it. It?s deplorable and feels bad to watch from my seat in front of my TV.

If the government so bluntly demonstrate they don?t trust the police, then anarchy is at the doorstep. This is also the case with how the Greek government treats and reacts to the Turkish intrusions into Greek territory, water and air space. You create a dangerous demoralization of the Greek people and a mistrust of government policy and rule. This is a very bad road.

This is a contradictory and dangerous road to democracy and does not provide safety for the citizens. The very existence of the Citizens? Protection Minister and his various unfounded and careless comments is lowering the morale among Greek police officers and creates uncertainty among Greek citizens.

I have talked to numerous people in Greece and they all say, ?There aren?t enough police officers and the police officers are not allowed to do anything.?

Police officers are ordinary people, fathers and mothers, someone?s boyfriend or girlfriend, with their own civilian lives. To fulfill their duties, police officers need a good and proper education, material, cleverly thought-out laws to help them complete their tasks more efficiently and with a minimum of ?friction? with citizens, good salaries and clever tough chiefs and leader organization. And most of all they need complete backing from the government and politicians.

If I am not misinformed, the greek prime minister some time ago said he wanted a police force organized and acting/running like the Danish police force. But Sir, the Danish police force are in my view tougher and ?harder? than the Greek one, even tougher and ?harder? than the Swedish one. The Danish Police Force enjoy 100% backing from their government and the Danish people.

Greek and European anarchists have found a kind of a ?safe haven? in Greece. They can commit severe atrocities on Greek citizens while the politicians and the Citizens? Protection Minister criticizes the Greek police force for being too harsh against them.

Ask the anarchists what they think about the ?treatment? given to them by the Danish or Swedish Police Forces respectively. They do not dare to show their faces or commit such violent crimes in Stockholm, because they know the Swedish Police enjoy 100% backing from their government and politicians and people, and this is made clear by the strong and resolute force shown by the Swedish Police while dealing with anarchist or other non-democratic elements.

Everyone knows, if you commit a crime or don?t obey the laws of the country, then you have to face the consequences of your acts. Citizens do not only have rights, they also have obligations. The police force are there to protect citizens and enforce the laws of the country, with the means given to them.

I have a piece of constructive advice. Get rid of the Citizens? Protection Minister, his salary would be better used elsewhere, and back up your police force with clever rulings and proper words. Take confidence-building measures for your police officers and as a result, your citizens. Give your police officers the ?tools? to protect your citizens and enforce Greek law.

Georgios Toris

Norrsundet

Sweden

IMF

Methinks the IMF should avoid, for the moment, hectoring and lecturing Greece on her financial morals and instead try to get their capo out of jail in Manhattan. We all know what those big banking chaps like to do to the working class. Good to see one caught for a change on the literal rather than metaphorical.

George Slater

The time is now

Dear reader and fellow countrymen

I am like you and you are like me. I was born in Canada and have lived here all my life. As a child I remember how proud I was to be a Greek. I remember feeling a little different than my multicultural friends and it was not because I was taller, nor was I smarter, stronger or faster. I felt different because I was Greek. I grew up with this pride and never let it go. I am now 36 and still carry this feeling with me everywhere I go. This pride I have is not an egotistical pride, it is a pride that comes from deep within the fiber of my existence and has been a big part of who I am today.

One thing my brothers and sisters who live in Greece will never understand is that Greeks who were born and raised on the outside have been watching you all for many years. Yes, we have been watching for many years and let me tell you what the Greeks from around the world have been seeing. We have watched our motherland being treated like a whore by her own children. You have all failed, you have failed your ancient ancestors, you have failed your forefathers who died to free us all from the chains of slavery. Most of all you have failed your only allies in this world. Yes, and in case you haven?t noticed, the only ally you have is us, the diaspora around the world who have endured tears and pain and sweat to show the world who we are. Greeks are respected worldwide not because of you, they are respected because of us, the lost and forgotten. Greeks from around the world are respected and accepted in every culture because we have earned it. So in essence everything we have been doing outside our motherland to solidify and validate our true nature as one people has been slowly dismantled by the careless and cowardly actions of Greeks back home who will forever live in shame as they await their fate and end only to face their ancient fathers who died for one patrida. It is hard for me to swallow the present outcome of our existence when the Greeks back home were left with one responsibility. Your duty as a Greek in Greece was simple, live free and never forget. Never forget who we are. We are the blessed race who has been appointed the task to lead the world by example. We are the people of wisdom and valor, we are the brave the truth the light. We are the hope the reason the compassion. We are everything they know, we live in every school and university around the globe, we give humanity a history of peace and harmony. We have forged the way of life for all, and thousands of years later the world is still trying to follow our model. We have shared with the world and every human that has come and gone our thoughts, our beliefs our religion, our souls. The magnitude of our contribution to life on earth is much greater than any other culture cares to admit or believe. Greece will never have a true political ally or friend, the sooner we all realize this the faster we will be able to move forward as a nation. As I sit upon this hill and look down below, you must all realize one thing. I am judging you out of love and concern, you need to understand that every Greek around the world feels and shares your pains, you are not alone. Every Greek around this world has DNA that has a story to tell. We created democracy that has become the global symbol of freedom for nations in every corner of this planet. We as Greeks must be the first to come to terms with the fact that democracy was created to control and harmonize small nations at a time where peasants and farmers were the voice of the people. Today?s democracy is a far cry reality and a tool of false ownership to fool the masses into slavery. Today we need a democratic government to control the countries finance and aid and a separate government appointed by the people to control and regulate the responsibility of the appointed government through the voice of the people. I will now leave you one message that I will ask you never forget. It is this, the only way to destroy a nation of Greeks is to make them forget who they are by filling their lives with false hate and shame. This way they will destroy each other. So the lesson is, only Greeks can destroy Greeks.

Apostolos Keramidas

Mosque in Athens

Mr Salamouras? recent letter to the editor on the subject of a government-funded mosque being constructed in Athens raises a question in my mind. Why does the government think that this religious facility should be paid for by the Greek taxpayer? It would be most interesting if the E Kathimerini would print an article articulating the rationale for this dubious decision. It doesn?t make any sense to this reader. If Muslims require a place of worship, let them fund it. Or let their religious brethren the Turks, Saudis, etc. fund it with their petro-dollars. Did the Greek government pay for the construction of Anglican, Roman Catholic and other non-Orthodox Christian churches in Athens? Did the government fund Jewish synagogues? Why this special treatment for Muslims? And who really cares if Athens remains the lone EU capital without a mosque? That is no reason for the government to pay millions of euros for such a project.

James F. Smeader

Re: Meanwhile, what are we doing?

Quote from the article: ?On the other hand, we could always listen to those insane, dangerous and already bankrupt businesses that want Greece to return to the good old drachma, in which case we will become the first country in the world to opt for a spectacular suicide when everyone else was trying to save it.?

Or we can stay under austerity for the next 10-20 years, and the unemployment and economic misery that accompanies this ?medicine? called austerity. What do you call this? Living? Survival? Do you call this saving Greece? Preposterous!

All the above are just lies, plain and simple.

By writing such gibberish — completely destroying the idea of the return to the drachma without a shred of reason or explanation behind it, while simultaneously through implication reinforcing the meme of the euro as something great that Greece cannot do without — leads one to believe you are just a lackey of the masters that are funneling the remaining wealth the middle and lower classes possess into the pockets of banksters.

We have given up our sovereignty for the euro — and for what? The seductive myth of free money and cheap credit (otherwise known as quantitive easing and fractional reserve banking). Yet all debt is paid at some point. It does not just go away. So, where do you think the euro will be in some years? It?ll be worth only the paper and ink it?s printed on. It?s a fraudulent and fiat currency; a device created by central bankers to steal wealth from duped citizens. It?s an elaborate ponzi scheme that is destined to collapse. They may be able to kick the can down the road — and you will be able to credit this as a solution to Europe?s and Greece?s crises — but the road does end. History has shown this. The irony, then, is that anyway Greece shall return to the drachma; but by then conditions will be worse.

Yet you propose we need this euro, and bury any debate about the drachma. The only people who need this are the elite, so that they may continue to slowly drain the rest of us of our wealth. People such as bankers and other financial geniuses who create credit default swaps — people who contribute nothing to the real economy yet profit in billions, and guaranteed by the taxpayers.

There is no easy way out but there is only one way out: to return to the drachma and for the nation to endeavor to build a sound currency. A currency and economic policy that does not steal from future generations, or allow for manipulation by corrupt politicians and greedy bankers.

If you have an alternative idea, please by all means lay it out. But don?t mock us with the handed-down rhetoric from the masters of the ECB.

Nick Haralambakis

Chios

Crime in Athens

Athens clearly needs a Giuliani/NYC style reform of its police institutions and the way they protect the city. Police should be allowed to have greater powers for search and seizure, protect themselves and the citizenry without worrying about whether or not they will be prosecuted, this in the hopes that Athens can get its streets back. Unfortunately until the state, police force and unions smarten up this will not happen. I am happy my parents sold their apartments in downtown Athens and are pushing to do the same out in the suburbs. I fear that Athens might devolve into a European Mogadishu at this current rate. A country that showed promise in the 50s is now the laughing stock of Europe and the world and the same inept political machines remain to rule. Sad, very sad.

Nick Lakoumentas

Re: City murder fuels racial tension

Central Athens has been turned into a migrant cesspool and all Mayor Kaminis and the Prime Minister can do is offer more hot air. Something all Greek politicians are good at doing. Meanwhile, the residents of these ghettoes lead lives of desperation. The Mayor, not too long ago, wanted to pay people to live in this squalor and other run-down areas around Omoniastan. It speaks volumes on how out of touch all modern-day Greek politicians are to the detriment of the country?s quality of life. Maybe the mayor should pay residents in these areas to move out since the government is incapable of performing the most mundane tasks like securing the country?s borders and deporting people that this country?s bankrupt economy simply cannot support. This poor, forty-four year old victim was probably killed by three illegal immigrants on the alter of Greek government ineptitude of the highest order.

John Athans

New Jersey

The good old drachma

Bankrupt business doesn?t want to return to the good old drachma for the hallowed-ness of the drach alone, but for the inventive corruption that accompanied it.

Those were the good old days. Everybody from the top of society, part of the way down, scammed with impudence. Mayors signed deals with contractors who kicked back vast sums.

Peasants and the poor were about the only honest people in the country, and kilo for kilo more generous than most shipowners. Or doctors.

Yet, there are others, who miss ?the good old drachma? because of the very chaos. There were dozens of prices for things; and if one thought one knew someone who could do a favor or who was owed one. It made for a very intricate and conversational society, intricacies and conversation activities Greeks excel at, and not the EU, in the same sense. Half of Greece walked around feeling quite clever, the Golden Mean.

Now most, just feel mean.

George Slater

Samaras

Your commentary on Samaras?s Zappeion 2 proposals to unleash the entrepreneurial might of Greece appears to me lukewarm and not very enthusiastic. For a newspaper such as Kathimerini this is a big mistake.

For the first time since the crisis broke out in Greece, a prominent politician has explained how Greece can make full use of its strengths and get rid of the baggage that has been holding it back for so many years.

I at least was very impressed by Samaras?s speech. I know of many investors who are waiting for such a pro-business attitude to prevail so they can start investing. No one wants to invest in a corrupt country where the rule of law does not exist and where strikes are the order of the day.

Greeks have shown that they want to work hard and make their country the economic powerhouse of the Balkans and the South East Mediterranean.

Samaras has shown the way forward. Are the Greeks listening or do they prefer to rely on German bailouts and two generations of debt?

Privatizations on a mass scale, provided they are done properly, can create new jobs and inject much-needed capital and technology into the Greek economy. Allowing overseas Greeks to invest in their homeland in a way that offers them security can also create an economic boom if handled correctly.

Given that most Greek academics abroad specialise in economics, it seems strange to me that Greece?s economy is so badly managed. But Samaras?s speech gives Greeks the opportunity to put things right and use their talents — all their many talents — to get things moving.

Greeks can do it. As Samaras said, the Greek seed never dies.

So why is Kathimerini so lukewarm to Samaras?s proposals?

Come on, Greeks, get moving and get the Germans off your backs! My grandfather, Marshall Zhukov, did it but at great cost in lives. You Greeks can do it in great cost in time, enthusiasm and commercial know-how.

Show the world what you?re made of and justify the sacrifices of Greeks from Thermopylae to Konitsa.

Professor Fyodor Zhukov

Greece?s lost soul

Brilliant article! A similar article appeared a few years ago when Manos Hadjidakis drew his last breath, the author at the time lamented the loss of great Greek icons like Mercouri, Hadjidakis, Dassin etc who loved Greece and represented a spirit of the country where anything and everything was possible. Sadly this article reminds us how much worse the situation has become since Hadjidakis? death in Greece.

Nick Lakoumentas

Re ?Missionaries of Debt: ?We help them to help themselves?

I can?t understand why the Greek people are allowing an outside group of countries to get them in such a terrible situation where they will basically start controlling and owning major elements of the Greek economy. These people taking of advantage are literally modern-day carpetbaggers taking advantage of the financial system they helped put them in. Go on the internet and type in the below on Google or Yahoo!:

Max Kaiser Report – ?Missionaries of Debt: ?We help them to help themselves?

It is incredible what is happening in Greece and Europe.

Paul Johnston, Economics PhD

Re Siemens’ ‘paid’ politicians

Let me get this straight: You have Greek parliamentary politicians going to Germany to question Siemens executives who gave those very members of Parliament the bribe money that is going to incriminate them? You must be joking sending them there! Why not send team of Greek prosecutors?

Paul Johnston, PhD