OPINION

On Samaras, FYROM, the debt crisis, the won’t pay movement

Mr Samaras

Your newspaper has been obviously silent with respect to Mr. Samaras throughout the crisis facing Greece in contrast to the daily lambasting you mete out to the prime minister. Of course all know that Kathimerini is a conservative newspaper, but nevertheless in the present situation you can’t be considered as anything but a partisan supporter of New Democracy if you are silent as to Mr. Samaras’ role in the continuation of this crisis. It is obvious, even to this Greek some 10,000 kilometers from Greece, that Mr. Samaras is placing his political ambitions ahead of his responsibility to act as a serious leader. The BBC reports that the Swedish finance minister referred to his refusal to agree to the present plan of the Greek government as «bordering on the criminal.» Continue to second guess and ridicule Mr. Papandreou, that is your right, but in doing so without at least offering some critical analysis of the policies and motives of Mr. Samaras in this crisis renders your comments and opinions worthless.

Peter Theocharis

Editor replies: Your suggestion that our newspaper has not been as critical of Antonis Samaras as Prime Minister George Papandreou is unjustified.

We have reported how Mr Samaras?s stance has been criticized by some at home and abroad.

For instance, you will find the quote you mention from the Swedish finance minister here: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_20/06/2011_395312

And further criticism from European conservatives here: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_08/06/2011_394073

Through our editorials and commentaries, we have also raised questions about the positions adopted by the New Democracy leader. Here are a few that illustrate the point:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_21/06/2011_395353

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_19/06/2011_395164

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite3_1_05/06/2011_393630

Public problems have no economic solutions

“Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself affected as an individual.» (Aristotle, Politics)

The common interest is different and distinct from private interests. The management of the household, or economia, is concerned only with the management of private interests. All economic principles are confined to the determination of mutual benefits and obligations in a transaction. If we lend money to Greece, what measures will Greece undertake in return?

Common or public interests relate to the gathering of a community, where each of its members stand as equals in the public domain. The purpose of the gathering is to determine which private interests each will forfeit for the public or common good, for the development and growth of the community.

If you believe a European Community is a worthy goal, then it can only function as a community of equals. If it is a trading community, then Greece will never stand as an equal as it will always be governed, as it has since its inception, by its foreign debt.

Indeed, for nearly 200 years Greece has had no meaningful self-government, being driven mostly by foreign interests. I would call this Greece’s Modern Dark Ages.

Consider the dark ages after the collapse of the Bronze Age civilizations. When Greeks formed self-sufficient and self-determining city states they enjoyed the most creative period in history.

Its time again.

Steven Liaros

Should we surprised by Skopje?

I pose the dilemma: For 20 consecutive years we have allowed Skopje to usurp our history and culture. At no point have they retreated or conceded on any issue other than the flag of Vergina. However, if you attend a Slavic Skopjan wedding or community hall anywhere in the world the flag is displayed with adoring pseudo-pride.

But then again, I am a Greek of the diaspora and I see things from a patriotic perspective.

The reality is that Greece has gone to sleep and become insular and apathetic. Our current economic crisis reflects this to a large extent.

Why does our foreign minister not demand the immediate dismemberment of the statue rather than issue a token condemnation?

Where on earth has Greek leadership, resolve and courage gone?

The reality is that we need new leadership so as to avoid continously being treated as the basket case of the world and the new sick man of Europe.

Babalis

Melbourne

Re: ?Desperately seeking a vote of confidence?

I am an Australian of Greek heritage and have taken great interest in the economic problems facing Greece. I am saddened by it as I have many relatives in Greece who tell me the problems they have to face every day. We in Australia are in relatively good shape economically and seeing Greece?s plight makes me realise how lucky we are.

The article by Nick Malkoutzis is one of the finest pieces of writing that I have read on the subject. It is hard-hitting and honest, something which is needed now in this time of crisis from those in Greek Parliament.

Well done Mr Malkoutzis.

Aristotle Skourtis

Crisis? Did someone forget to tell the Greeks?

My parents (from the UK) are here in Greece on holiday to see their grandchildren, son-in-law and daughter. They have been surprised to see the bars, kafenions, tavernas and fast-food places absolutely full to bursting with Greek customers. As my father pointed out, ‘this is a sight you would never see in England — a Thursday evening and it looks like the whole town has gone out to eat.’ Why should other countries bail us out when the people are still able to live the life of Riley?

Lunchtimes are no different — packed coffee bars — doesn’t anybody work?

My daughter had five friends round to play and out of six, only two mothers (including me) worked — the others were housewives by choice. My mother is 68 and still works because she has to — to survive.

I am tired of the average Greek pleading poverty but then eating out, taking early retirement, sitting drinking coffee all day, sending their children for numerous after-school activities (ballet/football/English etc), which most average Europeans cannot afford to do.

Wake up Greece and grow up — we are in this mess because of the way this country is run (or not run). No rules/laws are obeyed — no questions are asked (like why we have to pay for extra lessons after schools when no other countries do).

I wish I could up and leave this corrupt country — but unfortunately I am not able to close my business without paying a huge sum to enable me to do so.

Jane Crow

Vouli shame

As a proud Greek-American, I was ashamed to see the embarrassment on foreign media channels.

First of all, I would like to congratulate Mr. Karatzaferis and Mr. Samaras for explaining to the PASOK hierarchy the history of our democracy. I thought we were going forward and not backward.

Rather than looking back and pointing out the mistakes or misconception of the opposition parties, Mr. Papandreou had a golden opportunity to rally all Vouli members into a unified body for a vote.

But he failed miserably and divided the country even further.

If we don’t get together and solve our problems, we cannot expect other countries to help us.

 

Mrs. Diana Papadimitriou

USA

?Won’t pay? movement

I understand that the increase in tickets for public transport and for tolls on major roadways are making it difficult for the common person to afford getting around. However, the protesters are now acting like a mob of hooligans, attacking an employee at a toll booth and then by keeping the ambulance from treating her. This is unacceptable, and it raises the question, what do the protesters really want? The tollbooth operator accepted a toll payment from a driver who thought that it was his/her duty to pay for using the roadway. The protester took offense. Why? Isn’t one of Greece’s problems the fact that the ?I won’t pay? movement has been going on for years amongst many taxpayers and politicians? Aren’t these some of the same people who are angry at the government for not paying, and putting Greece into the financial crisis they are now in? This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Angelo Arvaniti