OPINION

Giscard d’Estaing on Greece, anniversary of teen’s murder, street clashes and illegal immigrants

Clashes in Athens on anniversary of teen?s murder

All well and good to continue to celebrate the death of a young man with more violence. This is disrespectful and totally unnecessary. We all mourn the wasteful loss of life. We should all also mourn the death of three innocent people, one pregnant, burnt to death by these same criminals who use the excuse of this young man?s death to highlight their anti-democratic thuggery. Grow up!

Nik Ieronymos

Clashes over anniversary of teen?s death

I know what Greece can do to make money. It loves strikes and clashes with the police and it has all these Olymic arenas it built now standing empty. It should host shows for the tourists of the police on one side and strikers on the other side in the arena. That way they can make money off this and also not interrupt the tourists trying to enjoy getting from place to place on their holidays.

Elroy Huckelberry

Stop the thugs

Dear members of the Hellenic Parliament I am amazed once again at the criminality which is allowed to continue in the centre of Athens. As a hotel owner my business suffered a 56% downturn in November 2011 compared to 2010 due to the continued disruption and bad press internationally attached to the very few ?koukoulofori,? who appear to be uncatchable. The situation for the rest of 2011 has today become far worse. We have already received cancellations from travelers internationally. This negative publicity will no doubt affect our sales for 2012 summer, as people make their choices and bookings for holidays in the ensuing few weeks. Your combined inept actions, irresponsible direction of government and control of law and order in this country is unforgivable. My family has invested heavily in the Hellenic Dream only to see our investment diminish due to the inability of the law enforcement agencies and justice system to control blatant criminality. I am embarrassed and angry, as a member of this community, to see the continued and uncontrolled destruction of my city. Please rescue the situation. Please make a stand together to stop the stupidity and uncontrolled criminality. Give the courts the power to incarcerate the criminals. No more excuses.

Nickolas Geronimos

Hooded youths

Honestly, these hooligans need to be arrested. They do not represent an idealistic notion of freedom. They represent a society where the law-abiding citizen is deprived his freedom. They destroyed Christmas for little children and adults alike in 2008, and from what this headline looks like, they will continue to destroy Christmas for the citizens of Athens every year. I am sick and tired of seeing them and their destructive, murderous antics. Am I the only person who feels this way? Enough is really enough. Who are they really?

Aliki Los

USA

Illegal immigrants

Why doesn?t the Greek government just give every illegal a free one-way bus ticket to Paris or Berlin (or Amsterdam, or Vienna, or Helsinki or anywhere in the budget surplus states ready to screw the Greeks for the sake of their stupid euro)? Merkozy and co will soon come up with the ready cash for the fence when the dusky hordes selling cheap watches, umbrellas, assorted trash and narcotics come swilling around the repectable pavement cafes of north European capitals. I saw it in Plaka and was disgusted, and ashamed, too, on behalf of the Greeks.

Frank Williams

A blueprint for Greece?

People speak about Greek competitiveness, the ability of Greeks living within Greece to compete on the world stage. What do we think Greece will have to become in order for Greeks to become competitive? Let?s start with two fundamentals that seemed to govern most other countries in Northern Europe and generally any advanced industrial and post-industrial world. The first fundamental is respect for the law. Second fundamental is working together. A civilised society abides by its laws and respects the governance, i.e. the political and administrative system of institutions that produces those laws and regulations that civilised societies and successful societies live by happily. This fundamental is a difference between a successful society and society in process of self-destruction. Successful nations and cultures trust their governance and administrations to function properly and reliably and fairly regardless of what the political leadership succeeds or fails to do. The other fundamental is people living and working together and liking and loving each other sufficiently to do so in a positive manner. This kind of tendency within human societies produces something called the social contract by which groups of people and individuals work together to benefit themselves and each other and to benefit society as a whole. In these cultures the cooperative, intelligent individual replaces the egotistic, shortsighted and self-interested individual. The individual is not lost in all this. He or she simply recognises that as an individual he or she can progress, develop, lead a full life and benefit most from working with others in a positive manner, and being a good citizen with regard to the laws and the governance. When a culture and the nation have both of these features, these dynamics work effectively together to the common good. Then higher features of a culture such as education and training, research and development, originality, creativity, and innovation have a structure of laws and a dynamic of social co-operation to work within. This combines with a healthy competition that abides by the laws of self-respect and mutual respect to create a society and a culture that are effectively competitive and cooperative with the outside world and healthily benefiting from the results of that competition/co-operation throughout the culture. This is what we would call a spiritually and culturally mature civilisation. A nation on the up and going places with a bright future in any direction. A nation that is not obsessed by its history and its past nightmares but can learn from them to enable it to negotiate its way into a better future, empowered by a spiritual certainty from within itself. Could this in any way described Greece under the Euro? I very much doubt it. Could it describe in any way a new and more positive Greece working for its own interests with its own sovereign currency the drachma? I have fewer doubts about this. I think it is the more desirable of the two outcomes in terms of spiritual maturity.

Philip Andrews

Metro strike

Surely it is illegal to call a strike on the basis of an assault on union officials. I always though labour was withdrawn because of the failure to resolve a dispute between a union representing the employees and the employer. While I don?t condone this assault, or any assault for that matter, I have to ask why the citizens of Athens must have two days of disruption foisted on them because of a non-industrial relations incident.

Jerry Melinn

On Mr. Giscard

Nice one Mr. Giscard, there will be pain regardless because the choices are either deflation or inflation. If Greece leaves the Euro and reintroduces the Drachma there will be an orgy of Drachma devaluation. The Drachma devaluation will increase the debt to GDP ratio (as the debt will remain in Euros, no matter what the current currency) which then will lead to more devaluation. The only chance Greece has of ever repaying its debt is to stay in the Euro… unless of course France would pay the tab and accept repayment in a fixed amount of Drachmas. Why do I have the feeling that Mr. Giscard is unwilling to put his money where his mouth is?

Alf Meier

More political obstacles

Mr. Mandravelis almost got this story correct. What he should have said is that the Greek privatization project is running into political obstacles as opposed to actual market obstacles. As any entrepreneur will tell you, a sound business will always be able to attract private funding regardless of the state of the economy. In this instance, our government, which is responsible for the laws in our country, has created a tangled web of legal hurdles so as to protect the public unions in exchange for their votes come election time. This nepotism, aside from being illegal, also enables those public companies to operate at unsustainable debt levels, which we subsidize through our taxes. Many people remember the shenanigans surrounding Olympic Airways. When Onassis owned the company, it was very profitable. After he sold it to the government, it quickly went into debt and then became technically bankrupt requiring an annual subsidy by our elected officials in exchange for free flights. How about OSE, another prime example of why the government should not own businesses? Revenues of Euro 100 million with expenses of Euro 700 million. Over half of those expenses are the direct result of inflated salaries and other benefits that would not be possible if the railroad was privately owned even operating as it does as a monopoly. So it would appear that once again our MPs fear the reaction of the public unions regarding the sale of companies that we as citizens have been financing without being offered shares and suffer hardships when the employees, whose salaries we pay, decide to go on strike because they do not like the fact that the government can no longer cave in to their demands. Here’s a tip, get used to it Mr. Mitropoulos. By accepting the troika?s money we must also accept their terms. The free ride, as they say, is over.

Jonathan Reynik