OPINION

On politicians, corruption, George Dalaras, Athens

Great leaders are notoriously famous of bringing down their whole party on their way out. It’s the «I?ve done it my way!» syndrome. Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterand — none ever chose a successor and were in heaven to be remembered as «the.» This said, power doesn’t make you immune from a plane crash, so resting one’s hope on just one individual is, frankly, simply lacking logic and imagination.

The ?dear leader? is the kind of pseudo but totally fake political vision of enlightened government by the happy few that has some of us, thank God, shouting between horror and despair: ?Hey! Wait! You sheep are heading once more for the cliff!?

For if even you haven’t seen a hero emerging in the past three years, to expect your future national Hercules now is pure madness. And needless to add, with a great number of small parties involved in the next Parliament, and neither Mr Samaras or the sweaty Mr Venizelos carrying Brad Pitt’s and Marlon Brando’s charisma. I am not quite certain the option of a strong leader for Greece is currently on the backgammon table.

Another, infinitely more effective way to put Greece back on the map for good would have been for the media — usually the think-tank of society — not to conclude Greek citizens haven’t reach the democratic level where it becomes obvious to all: 1. that absolute power corrupts absolutely; 2. that they are not living (just because voting occurs) in a democracy; 3. that they should change immediately their very backward early 19-century elite system of pseudo-government of 300+ hijacking all, corrupt by its very nature, over-centralised and inefficient for the best possible adaptation of an existing modern, hands-on, by-the-people, federal constitution.

That is the only chance to succeed. And no one has grabbed it, so expect more of the same, and please never complain, never explain. How can one complain when one drives purposely a truck five times in a row into the same tree? One by one — in sheer despair and disbelief — all your allies and friends only will encourage to crash at a faster speed.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Greek food imports

Thank you Mr Kokolis for your excellent article.

l am your average reader who immediately got angered when l first read what Greece was importing for food, despite the amount of sunshine etc, etc.

Just your figures on oranges puts everything in perspective. l believe that sensationalistic reporting by journalists, especially at this time, is truly diabolical.

Keep up the good work,

John Maroulis

Greek politicians and their management

Greece is where it is today, because Greek politicians are what they are: crooked, incompetent and corrupt. Nothing is going to change that. The EU can throw trillions at Greece, trillions, and Greek politicians will find a way to rob, pillage, scam and pilfer even those amounts!

We’re talking about Greek politicians, not German politicians — Greek! This lot of 300 crooks has robbed Greece legally with the laws they wrote for 30 years.

Lionel Luthor

Re: elections

The politicians who governed Greece are responsible for the crisis; the opposition which failed in its duty to check on the government is equally responsible.

All must step aside and be subject to investigations.

All of them, yes, all them will be re-elected. Greece is doomed.

A modern Greek tragedy is being written

Xannas S.

Astros

Brainwashed and paralyzed

Everyone has agreed to put there ambitions aside to pay the bills. ?Now is not the time for risks or business opportunities,» is the statement. True or false?

If you answered true, you?re like a deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic. Just because the state has professed to austerity does not mean that your behaviour should reflect such and you should become road kill. In essence nothing has changed in the tempo of business, and contrary to this paralyzing belief, the state of affairs worldwide has got faster. Social networking is moving on the fast track and stagnant business practices yield no benefit. Now is the time for change.

We have been told to be satisfied with the fact you have a job and that your earnings be allocated to just mere living standards. This is perhaps a working conspiracy; I personally don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but in this case there?s most likely some meat to it.

You may not be aware of change but it?s happening all around you. If you let false information in to your psyche then it will become part of your belief system. If you believe that everything and everyone is in misery and share this with everyone you meet then it must be true; so how will you cultivate an environment of success and healthy change with a negative mindset? Well you can’t! and nothing good will come from second-guessing yourself and listening to others? advice to remain obedient.

The weak links will be caught in the headlights and be killed. The strong ones will look both ways and proceed with caution. But the word is «proceed.”

Hari T.

Thinking the unthinkable?

Excerpt from Greece s future by Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

From 1821 Greeks have dived into the Dark Ages. Only now I really understand my grandfather?s despair over leaving the Ottoman Empire and ending up in Macedonia, «the land in which even God is too ashamed to make his presence known.”

[I agree. We have to say that Turkey?s economy is in a lot better shape than any of her Balkan ex-Ottoman provinces. Once the EU goes defunct, what say we invite the Turks back into the Balkans to teach Turkish economics that are apparently successful, but without German Ordnung und Diziplin which may be too much for those former Ottoman citizens. Economic success the Turkish way not the German way.

If we take Turkey?s Aegean province at 9 million and her Marmara province at 20 million, then incorporating Greece as the Rum province (province not vilayet this time) will add another 11 million to Turkey. So in exchange for sharing in Turkish economic success and being governed by the Turkish state once the Hellenic State has failed, Greeks will only have to learn Turkish and serve in the Turkish army like new Janissaries, as they did in Asia Minor before 1919? Well that?s a small price to pay for stability, an income and food on the table and a reasonably functional state system.

Am I joking, is this a wind-up or is it a possible alternative reality to the present mess? Time to think the unthinkable?]

Philip Andrews

George Dalaras

Why don’t you come to the Netherlands for a concert, George? We miss you this year!

Peter Lauwer

Depressing elections

At least this time presumably, the politicians will not be in a position to openly offer bribes (lifetime job for your daughter/son etc.) in return for votes, although perhaps they will even find a way to still do this. The most upsetting thing about all this seems to be that after all that this country has gone through, with the old guard politicians largely to blame, nothing seems to have changed and the tone of the elections is still the same old jingoistic rhetoric, more concerned with denigrating the opposition than proposing anything constructive. The party (oh, and personal gain) above all else. Why did we expect anything new, or better?

Diana Giannoulis

Corfu

Dalaras

What is wrong with you Greeks? He is the best goodwill ambassador you have. He gives the Greek soul to the world with his songs! You shame him? No, you shame your country!

Go back to your drachma, go back 4,000 years. Then it was just like this — intrigue, corruption, lobbies, banishment,etc. My god, when will all of you wake up and when will you punish those that want anarchy, communism, destruction, miserable universities, a bankrupt political system, etc. Stand up for what is right and crush these idiots. Send them to Siberia — lots of jobs there. Strike, don?t work, hand out for Merkel’s money — shame!

W.vogt (lover of old Greece, before 1975)

Athens is dead. Long live Athens.

If modern-day Greece, with all it’s problems, can have a face, that face would be modern-day Athens. Athens today is a fitting monument to the country’s political, economic, and social collapse. She is the face of a failed state. A city that has been chewed up and spit out by a system that values nepotism, corruption, and laziness over meritocracy, honesty, and initiative.

Athens may be dead but it’s spirit lives on in the Diaspora where new, vibrant little versions of Athens are either being created or refreshed throughout Northern Europe by a new wave of young, educated, entrepreneurial Greek immigrants. These young Greeks are the modern-day version of Pericles. They are building new centers of Hellenism knowing rather well that the original Athens has become totally irrelevant to their future. Athens may be dead. Long live Athens.

John Athans

New York City

Break the unions

The only solution to Greece’s persistent economic morass is to break the back of unionization within the country. Greece is not an example of the failure of capitalism, it is an example of the failure of socialism. Greece is like NYC in the late 1970s: bankruptcy due to excessive benefits awarded to the privileged few (unions) that ultimately drive the country into the ground. Somewhere in the political ranks there must be a Reagan or Thatcher?

The solution for Greece is to not just roll back union power. The solution for Greece is to break the back of union power. Somebody has to stand up to the unions and say no.

The problem with the country is that everyone is unionized! The most extreme example of this is the tax collectors. Who was the idiot that thought allowing the employees most vital to the government (the one’s who collect revenues) should have the power to strike? Unbelievable.

Reagan fired the US air traffic controllers in a moment that marked a historic downshift for union power. Someone should have the guts to fire the Greek tax collectors (why not? they are all corrupt anyway — you would kill two birds with one stone).

Peter O’Hara

Re: Greek corruption

Day after day we hear the latest charges against public departments accused of fraud and graft. I’m quite sure that many foreigners, together with Greeks living abroad, are wondering how this country could have become so corrupt. This didn’t happen overnight. It took over 30 years to worm it’s way through our society.

Firstly you must understand that Greeks in general do not know what socialism means. Unless you have lived abroad or have relations to explain the system, there is no way that you would have learnt from our education system. This meant that Greeks, who had always been used to paying for services such as health and a good education, were not aghast at being asked for remuneration for services rendered.

Secondly, this has infested our system of government and public service over a period of more than 30 years. I recall years ago, stopping on the way to the office to read an article regarding a PASOK politician that had been accused of graft. Our prime minister at that time was the notorious Andreas Papandreou who commented ‘that this is to be expected in the public services, although this was too much.? At that time, most Greeks were definitely shocked, and that was supporters of all the political parties. This was an open invitation for all participants.

Thirdly, over the past 30 years the standard of living that many Greek citizens enjoy took most democratic countries at least three generations to achieve. It was too quick and too easy. Fortunes made on the stock exchange, scams and misuse of European funds was rampant as EU officials continued to forward funding to Greece, knowing full well that structural reforms which were promised were not completed.

Why, when now the majority of citizens are welcoming the disclosures and arrests didn’t they insist before that these corrupt practices were investigated. The truth is that many are not happy with this state of affairs. Many citizens have and still are cheating the system. Undeclared properties and land, goods and services provided without receipts, etc. etc.

However, you can read similar cases in other European news reports, the difference being that these citizens, whoever they are and whatever position of power they hold, will eventually pay for their crimes. If however, as in Greece, the corruption starts from the top and slowly seeps throughout the population, where and to whom, does an honest citizen refer.

We are seeing this even now, our legal system simply doesn’t work. Arrests are made and the culprits bailed, cases will be heard in one or two years time. If necessary funding must be provided for more prison space and culprits made to pay the price. You cannot expect ordinary citizens to comply with the laws of the land if you don’t enforce them.

Ann Baker

Re: Crisis

Expelled members of parliament are being re admitted to the fold. Politicians continue to play the same old game. No morals, no values, only narrow interests. After all what they have done to the country they have the chutzpah to remain in the limelight

A word (borrowed from Cromwell) to all members of parliament who are all guilty either by being active or inactive: «You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. Depart, I say and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Santik Xannas

Astros, Arcadia