OPINION

A matter of life and death

There are two issues occupying the minds of nearly every Greek in the country today: the barrage of new taxes to be imposed as part of the government?s midterm austerity program, which will mostly hurt the middle and working classes, and the revelation of the gang involved in the soccer match-fixing scandal.

Both of these issues concern the people in a painful way: On the one hand, the midterm deal with Greece?s international lenders will lead the people through the purgatory of a bleak reality like a herald to the hell of bankruptcy — a good scalding will save us from burning.

The match-fixing scandal, on the other hand, has yanked the possibility of reaching paradise through gambling out of the people?s grasp, as paradise is now seen as the construction of a bunch of gangsters who liked to gloat over their winnings from their VIP seats.

All that the stunned masses have left now is the cold comfort of contempt: seeing soccer?s dons in handcuffs or shaking in their cleats.

This kind of escapism can only be short-lived, however. What good can it do to the people who recently lost their jobs or saw their businesses close down?

Nevertheless, the issue has in a way contributed to a return to moral order. This is a fact. But wouldn?t it be much more comforting and beneficial to democracy to also see the arrest of tax dodgers, which is constantly touted and never put into practice?

Tax dodgers have contributed to the decline of the country just as much as match fixers have, like those who deal in vast amounts of unregistered money, like those who have cached their capital in tax havens, like those driving 100,000-euro cars and running offshore companies.

How many tax dodgers have been found, and how many have been punished?

The godfathers of the betting game, known for years from trials and convictions — and known also as the friends of politicians and myriad celebrities — were traced by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) through wiretaps. Tracking down tax evaders and the barons of the black market requires a lot less technology than that available to EYP. All it takes is political will power and the application of the law by honest and capable public servants.

This act of justice, of very basic equity is a matter of life and death for beleaguered Greece and a matter of honor for our democracy.