Greece needs a change in social conscience to evolve
The complacency alluded to in the article is a consequence of a social conscience rooted in the post-WWII mentality of many Greeks. The state and its institutions certainly played their role, but the citizens enabled the state to facilitate (passively and actively) a social conscience that glorified corruption. Instead of decentralizing Greece, the state enabled a mentality that Athens and Thessaloniki are the center of the universe. Thus, there was no investment to discourage centralization, to promote regional centers of educational excellence, a culture of the book, a sense that the ?ypaithros? (countryside) was more important to Greece than the extravagance of a grey and poorly-designed metropolis. With the absence of a collective social conscience and a conscience that the citizen is responsible for everything that happens to the country, the outcome was inevitable. Is this about to change? Not likely, at least not in the next 10 years. The culture of «the state owes me and I owe nothing? still pervades the mindset. The ideologies of ?patriotism,? ?social and popular governance and behavior,? ?bread, education, freedom? of the ?Indignati? as a thought/act-of-the-moment lexical insolence, along with the Greek flag drawn (or flying on the antenna) of cars, motorcycles and taxi cabs driven by obese and unshaved social hypocrites (wearing expensive clothes and blackened eye-wear), is the expression of a society that has demonized its politics and politicians (which it elected happily) to camouflage its fundamental decay and the unwillingness of its citizens to accept responsibility for the role of a citizen and for their actions.
Pickpockets in Greece
They are not just Bulgarians etc., but can be Greeks too. This problem is enormous and happening every day on the train to and from Piraeus. They do work in teams and they do create some distraction while the perpetrator goes to work on your belongings.
Why doesn?t someone give a lot of guys jobs to police and act as red berets/guards to prevent the crimes? If they are visible and everywhere, it would threaten the enormous industry of these thieves.
Greece needs tourism and they are only hurting themselves by the increasing crime in Athens.
The OECD formulates many ?ifs? that need to be operational before some positive change will occur. Man!
So I think there is no reason at all for optimism until those ifs are operational.
Hans van der Schaaf
With the Greek taxi drivers striking to prevent the liberalization of their profession, I have tried to recall all of the different labor groups that have used their collective actions to protest this or that reform.
The first I recall is the Greek farmers, back in January of 2010, who blocked highways in order to demand more subsidies from the government. Then there were the seamen whose protests closed access to Piraeus and other seaports and prevented cruise ships from landing and tourists coming ashore to do what tourists do: see the local sights and spend money in local establishments. Public Power Corporation employees causing power outages across the country to protest the possible sales of power plants to private investors. Athens Metro employees striking over reforms in publicly owned transportation companies. Even doctors and pharmacists not working at hospitals and opening up their pharmacies to protest the liberalization efforts of the government. I?m sure I missed many others.
Thinking about this, there?s only one conclusion that comes to mind: What a completely ridiculous situation for the Greek nation to be in. The problem is that the worker?s paradise that has existed for so many decades has just been hit by a debt hurricane that is sweeping many of the workers away because they offer no special skills that justify the kind of wages and benefits they expect to earn. Maybe all of these people should instead be ready to work hard, do a good job and pray they survive the changes Greece needs to make, and be thankful for the jobs they still have instead of trying to protect themselves from necessary changes.
Participating as an individual
It was very interesting to know that a small country is saving daily around $100 thousand through reducing the usage of main streets lights by 30% without affecting the needs of the people. The idea is simple and very applicable to all countries and governments regardless of the motive. Some states would be motivated by being green and others by reducing the power bill and thus controlled expenses.
Regardless of the reason behind such actions, all the different motives are part of the same chain and they lead to each other.
I have realized that I can play a big role and contribute by doing similar things inside my house, work and any place I go to. I can urge my family and friends not only by saying but also by doing the right thing. Teachers can encourage their young students to develop this habit at schools and universities.
The plan is simple: Lights of empty rooms are always switched off, energy saving bulbs are used, multi-operational electrical appliances are reduced, put the fridge at moderate temperature levels instead of high cold, boil exactly as much water as you need, and the list goes on.
In a personal initiative, driving at slower speeds has increased the mileage per liter from 11.8 km/L to 12.5 km/L. This action provided an additional 30 km for every full tank and almost an additional 150 km were gained. Refueling used to be every five days but now it?s every 6 to 7 days. Results will be incredible when the 6 million Greek vehicle owners are practicing the same.
There are many things that people overlook by habit when it comes to reducing expenses. Media, education, government and community must all come to gather in order to habitually adopt these actions. Results are immediate
Please learn from other experiences
In Holland we do have some experience with this kind of policy [on the decriminalization of ?soft? drugs].
Indeed it is better to decriminalize the use of soft drugs. But beware of ‘soft?: The effects of these drugs are today four times more higher than in the day they got the label ‘soft.? And these effects are not unlikely to damage your brain when used on a daily base. Youngsters especially should be careful of that. Lessons in school concerning the use of those drugs should be compulsory.
Another issue is the supply of these drugs. They have to be state-provided in order to prevent professional crime. It?s a million-euro business.
Hans van der Schaaf
Porfiroussa ferry, Neapoli-Kythera
Thought you might like this, a daily occurrence on the Porfiroussa ferry from Neapoli to Kythera and back
Kythera is very poorly served by ferries; the company knows this and takes full advantage.