OPINION

On Gaza flotilla, Tsochatzopoulos, Syntagma protests, police tactics

Police should be commended

Mr Tsipras and his followers should take a look at the damage they have caused. It is unbelievable that the Syriza leader should take action against the police, who were protecting public and private property as well as our Parliament, the seat of our democracy.

Maybe Mr Tsipras and his companions should read up on the rights and the responsibilities that participation in a democracy provides and requires to succeed.

The sickening bleating of Mr Tsipras after the criminal acts committed makes one wonder what would satisfy him and members of his party.

Congratulations to the police and the other services for containing what could have been a bloodbath, not only physically, but for the country?s economic and industrial reputation.

Thank you.

Nick Geronimos

Police probed over tear gas

I notice the people making the most fuss are again trade union leaders and SYRIZA, one of the many Greek communist parties. I can understand the foreign press considering the use of tear gas extreme, as they probably don’t realise what we go through continuously from these badly brought up and brainwashed youngsters. However, we endured this every 17th November for years, when our premises, unfortunately, were close to the Polytechnic. At that time we were grateful for it, as it saved many shops from being vandalized, and meant even if we did have watery eyes, we managed to get home at night. I have seen young policemen being beaten, insulted with every swearword young lads could think of and even spat upon and still they kept their cool.

From communist blogs we read this time that the police instigated the ‘hoodies’ to disrupt the demonstration. The last time the ‘hoodies’ were burning the cneter of Athens as retaliation against the police for the shooting of a young Athenian. Do these ‘hoodies? change sides depending on which government is in power? I heard people complaining, asking why the police didn’t arrest them, whereas that seems pointless as the courts will release them the next day, one more example of how the law doesn’t work in Greece.

I am sure the communist party was disturbed; after all, if they were in a communist country such as China or Russia, they wouldn’t be firing tear gas at them, it would be live bullets.

Whatever our police force does, it’s wrong. If they don’t stop the hooligans, then they are accused by the citizens of Athens of not protecting them; they used tear gas, and anyone with some common sense (which seems to be lacking in Athens at this time) could have moved away from the area. We are told, depending on the source, there were anything from 300 to 500 ‘hoodies’ mixed in with the trade unions and the ‘Indignants;’ what else can you use and if they had all moved away, as they should have, there would have been no need for excess gas to be used.

I am not a PASOK supporter, however I do believe in democracy and this is our chosen government. Many of us are doing our best for Greece by going to work every day, paying our taxes and instead of whining and moaning like spoilt children (as we have been accused by foreign press releases), help our friends and family in need and get on with the job of pulling this country out of the corrupt mess it’s in.

Ann Baker

Neo Iraklion

On a positive note

Greece is more than the center of Athens. Love the place. Just got back from there and went to a music festival that lasted a week and with all of the Greek hospitality that is so wonderful in all of the Greek people. By God, there are places in Vatican City where you can get your wallet taken before you blink and even if you are in Athens and the riots are at their fullest you can still have a nice coffee (frappe) in Monastiraki, Plaka and other places nearby. You have a better chance of being hit by a kangaroo in Sydney than by an anarchist in Athens! Visit Greece and have a Greek time and stop listening to those who love to hate people having fun and showing their feelings for what they think is wrong!

Koli Abuelo

Re: GENOP strikes said to cost up to 40 mln euros

Well done — I do hope the loss of money is removed from the wage packets of all those that are members of that union and not from the rest of us that cannot afford the luxury of striking!

Jean Meakin

Protests in Syntagma Square

I spent most of the day in Syntagma along with other peaceful protesters who’d come from Thessaloniki to take part in the rally and what I witnessed was a savage show of unrestrained police excess.

At no point did the level of police response correspond with the threat they were facing. Instead of calmly dealing with a small group of stone-throwing troublemakers they launched an all-out attack on five fronts against demonstrators which succeeded in provoking a furious reaction from a much larger section of the rally who had been outraged by the scenes of uncontrolled police violence they were witnessing.

If such violence had been restricted to an handful of officers or units, then perhaps you could talk about rogue officers acting unlawfully, but the scale and the duration of the operation left no doubt that police were under direct orders to do everything in their power to break up the demonstration and make sure those taking part would not regroup. In that way the country’s political leadership and ultimately, Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou took the decision to supress the anti-government protests in a manner more befitting the brutal regimes of Egypt and Tunisia than any EU member.

This is a decision that may buy the ruling PASOK administration some time as people reel in shock from the violence, but in the long term has severely damaged, perhaps irreparably, the credibility of Greek parliamentary democracy and probably will be the final nail in the coffin of PASOK as a viable political force in future elections.

In a country where folk memories of previous state violence run deep, sometimes going back generations, the events of the 28th and 29th of June are not likely to fade anytime soon.

Craig Wherlock

Birbili climbdown

Why is the Papandreou government so timid and hapless? Every opportunity to show firm government is avoided! It is a pity that Ms Birbili agreed to retract. There are only two reasons for the opposition of her ?fellow? PASOK MPs — the fact that they and their business friends will make money out of the construction in these areas; and the fact that Ms Birbili is a woman, conscientious and committed, and with an ‘alternative’ lifestyle. Chosen by George Papandreou for his government — but never ‘backed’. That would be too daring.

Robert Skailes

Parliament indicts ex-minister

A very first step in the right direction… Indulge him and bring in the rest of them who agreed and signed and accepted bribes. Greece deserves to know the truth and discover how they amassed the fortunes they did and how they saddled this and future generations with debts. They went on a spending spree with borrowed money and enriched themselves in the process.

Haul them all in and let them explain their actions. There should be no statute of limitations when elected officials instead of safeguarding the wealth of a country, use their position to loot it.

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

Not all the borrowing has been wasted

Not all of the money Greece has borrowed over the years has been wasted.  Infrastructure has been greatly improved over the years, especially the road network of Greece. The Egnatia Odos, the Attiki Odos, Ionia Odos, and the Central Greece Motorway are examples. The Egnatia Odos and Ionia Odos under construction are especially good for helping develop the most underdeveloped parts of Greece. Venizelos Airport in Athens is a success, as is the expansion of the Athens Metro. Don’t forget the Trikoupis Bridge connecting Western Greece with the Peloponnisos.

 

Peter Kates

Indictment of ex-minister

One down, how many more to go? Let’s hope he talks so that the entire nation learns how much money these politicians have actually taken in illegal kickbacks that have led to our current economic crisis. Only by prosecuting those that have stolen state funds can we start over and make our country the centerpiece of Europe that it should be.

Jonathan Reynik

The Greek tragedy

Dear Mr. Papachelas, you are asking «who has an interest in seeing the country degenerate in an orgy of violence.» Obviously the ones who act in that way, plus the ones who let them act like that, plus the ones who just stand by watching the country degenerate. The sum of that lot is mathematically all the Greek people (with some very, very few commonly not known exceptions). Indeed, what a Greek tragedy! «Change through democracy» as you propose, yes — but don’t you think that first the ones concerned have to be taught that a fundamental issue of democracy is to care about the your neighbour as well and not only about — exclusively — yourself? When was that issue included in any of the very few educational reforms of modern Greece? If not until now, why not start via «Fast Track”?

Prem Abhinav

Venizelos for PM

This is where he can make his dream a reality. He has an opportunity to do what George is too tired to do now.

Venizelos needs to really hammer the state?s corrupt employees, pull in the private sector aggressively and ride into the sunset as the PM that pulled Greece back from the brink, and put it on a course as a real EU country, and not a Balkan halfbreed.

Angelos Ts

Greece and the EU fiasco

I wrote previously about the impossibility of Greece to pay back all these bail-out loans.

Since Mr. Papandreou achieved the fiscal restraints he wanted from his parliament, I mean promises of fiscal restraints from his parliament, in order to get the next bailout loan, what do you think has been achieved?

Greek citizenry is now faced with the idiocy of borrowing money to pay off debts and paying interest on all the debts. Can the Greek citizens really pay even the interest?

This humble opinion is that Greece should unilaterally cancel all debts, reject the EU and the Euro, reinstitute the Drachma and get their house in order.

The financial advantage of using a variable Drachma will give Greece solvency and the people will then know that their fate is up to them, not EU bankers.

Perhaps when financial stability has been achieved the Greek people might rejoin the EU, if they wished!

Larry Morrison

Greek blockade of Gaza flotilla

Shame, shame on the Greek government for blockading aid to the Palestinians. Any European sympathy for Papandreou’s administration will evaporate at this inhumane action.

Richard Harwood

Oxford, UK

Did the flotilla participants damage the flotilla?

The apparent damage to the flotilla ships has been blamed on Israel, the most obvious culprit. However, there is one other party who will clearly benefit from the damage and that is the flotilla organisers or participants themselves.

The flotilla is designed far more to provoke Israel than to help the Gazans — evidenced by the facts that the flotilla is directed solely at Israel, while the Egyptian blockade of Gaza has never received protest from the ‘humanitarians’, and that the aid for Gazans could be transported easily via the Egyptian or Israeli border as both countries have offered, if that were indeed the main purpose of the flotilla. 

The entire flotilla is far more of an attention-seeking exercise rather than a humanitarian mission, which would make damaging their own ships all the more beneficial.

Michelle Moshelian, Givatayim, Israel 

When are you Greeks going to learn?

You don’t seem to get it yet, which is amazing! It was and is your «two main political parties» PASOK and New Democracy who have driven the country to ruin by mismanaging and stealing everything, and for some insane reason you, the IMF and EU are letting these same corrupt politicians handle all the bailout money, to do it all over again! When are you Greeks going to learn? You have to get rid of these useless criminals first before Greece will recover.

Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

Wish you were (not) here

This article presents what I have been saying for a long time. Every time that the pathetic communists and other maniacs create any violence they are hurting the economy by terrifying tourists. That can only hurt Greece a lot more.

But communists do not care. They are not patriots. Nor are the crazed union leaders who would spit on the blue and white flag if no one was watching — they are so gutless.

Their actions have caught the world’s attention but for all the wrong reasons. If they were patriots then they would follow the successful Mahatma Ghandi line of silent peaceful protest. But they are not peaceful nor do they care at all about the nation.

Mihalis Boraniotis

Christchurch, New Zealand

University reforms

I read about the planned university reforms with great interest as they make absolute sense, despite the inane opposition by academics more concerned with their own useless positions than with the future prosperity of their students or the Hellenic people.

The very concept of these reforms already works well in many other countries and would bring the tertiary sector there into the twenty-first century.

External assessors would allow university graduates/ experienced teachers/ assessors in other countries to undertake the necessary work on line and thus at a much lower cost than that at present across the nation.

Indeed, there are many positives in having Greeks in Australia or Canada, for example, reading and marking tertiary papers via computer.

So let’s hope that the government’s reforms are not scuttled by an academia which is more attuned to gathering dust than it is to excelling.

Con Mavra