OPINION

On Samaras, the debt crisis, illigal immigration, Strauss-Kahn affair

Are we repeating the same cycle?

Samaras is a pandering politician, nothing more. I?m far from a PASOK supporter, but Papandreou has been forthright and correct in his analysis and solutions thus far. As long as he is, I will support him. Samaras offers nothing in response except foundation-less promises to ?ease the pain? with sketchy details. ND showed what they had to offer under Karamanlis, and it was a fiasco. Karamanlis was asleep at the wheel while his ministers mismanaged the nation.

Until and unless the opposition offers a tangible plan for getting Greece back into a growth mode I?ll continue to support Papandreou. Even though I believe he is being badly served by some of his ministers.

Landos

Papandreou is weak on illegal immigration

In 2003 the then Simitis government in which Mr Papandreou was foreign minister signed the Dublin II Regulation treaty which basically states the 1st EU country illegal immigrants land in must process their claims for asylum. Why would PASOK sign up to this knowing that 90% of all illegal immigrants heading for Europe come to Greece via Turkey. The other 26 EU states want no changes to Dublin II — I wonder why?

The result of this failed PASOK policy is that the centre of Athens now resembles a large Muslim ghetto of Pakistanis, Kurds, Bangladeshis, Afghanis, Arabs and Africans, we are talking of hundreds of thousands here, not a few hundred. Instead of deporting them for illegal entry Mr. Papandreou know wants to reward them by integrating them into the labor market and to set up special markets to sell their stolen and imitation goods. The latest unemployment figures show that the unemployment rate in Greece is now 16% and around 30% to 40% for 15-24-year-olds; keeping the illegal immigrants in Greece does not make good economic sense. The Greek finance minister recently said that illegal immigration has cost the Greek health system $400 million in free health care in the last 10 years. According to police statistics most crimes committed in the centre of Athens are by illegal immigrants.

The softly spoken socialist is weak on deporting them and indirectly he is responsible for the centre of Athens being a crime-ridden city because PASOK signed Dublin II. The only answer is mass deportations on EU funds given that the other 26 EU members want no changes to Dublin II, but does Mr. Papandreou have the guts to do this?  

George Salamouras

Australia

Who will teach the teachers?

Not a day passes when one of your commentators does not offer some simplistic or shallow diagnosis as to what needs to be done in the current crisis. For example, Mr. Iordanidis (“Political delusions) maintains that the solution to Greece’s woes is not economic (correct) but rather a question of rebuilding citizen morale. This political (rather than economic) approach needs, he warns us, creativity and enthusiasm. He is vague as to how this measure is to be translated into action but he is sure that the present leadership cannot deliver (also correct). However, I do not believe it is a question of morale or any other glib panacea — and it does not matter who is in power. Let me explain.

Prior to 1981, I would have said around 80% of Greeks were as follows: modest and conservative in speech, thought and behavior (“pan metron ariston?), truthful and honest (“edosa ton logo mou?), punctual (?stin ora mou?), dignified (“yia ena onoma zoume?), clean and well-dressed (?kathos prepei?), polite (?seis kai sas?), compassionate (?anthropos einai ki aftos?), frugal (?m afta pou exoume?), and self-sufficient (?oloi afentiko na yinoun?). In addition, they were tough and patriotic (as Mussolini discovered in 1940), a people not to be trifled with. They were also well-educated. A graduate of the old six-year Gymnasium certainly knew how to write an essay in proper Greek and in subjects like mathematics, the standard was awesome.

Greece?s institutions were also impressive: the universities (world-class professors in medicine, law, archaeology, philology, to name but a few); the armed forces (Papagos); the church (Damaskinos); the intellectuals (Kazantzakis); the commercial class (shipowners). In short, Greece punched above its weight and notwithstanding a meddling monarchy, a military dictatorship, and a squabbling political class — generally stood tall in the community of nations.

Well, all that began to evaporate in 1981 and there were two main causes: the evil lust for power of one man, Andreas Papandreou, coupled with colossal amounts of easy money from Europe that allowed him to corrupt all and sundry. I shall not dwell on this point — you may well have a different opinion and that is your right.

Furthermore, my opinion leads me to the conclusion that there is, literally, nothing left in terms of human capital. In contrast to the picture I described above, Greeks of today are uneducated, untrained, rude, dirty and unkempt, untruthful, undignified, selfish, corrupt and cowardly (those three bank officials done to death are a typical case in point). There are no teachers left to teach the teachers. These facts are the root cause of the situation you find yourselves in today. That is why I take issue with the easy answers offered by your commentators. Greece is a failed state totally lacking in the human resources needed to emerge from this crisis. As the Oracle of Delphi said in its last pronouncement: ?The spring of words no longer speaks, it has gone dry.? Will the last person out please remember to turn off the lights?

Thank you.

Amid IMF turmoil, Greece tops eurozone agenda

It was indeed very nice to see French TV and read the French press. In spite of their gigantic loss of a candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections and the shame their country might run into, they have in large articles thought of Greece and the imminent probable difficulties Greece and Portugal might endure because of these allegations against the IMF president.

Alex Charalambous

France