OPINION

On reclaiming Athens, Drassi, Greek honor, friends at the White House

On reclaiming Athens

Reclaiming the city center

How true. I live in Kerameikos, literally a stone’s throw away from the ancient cemetery where the heroes of the Persian wars lie buried. I keep hearing about democracy being conceived right here. But that’s 2,000 years ago, and it is about time that the Athenians live up to their grand past. I am very tired of hearing complaints about the city’s decay being the fault of the migrants. I see Greeks throwing their rubbish just about anywhere, in total disrespect of their own city’s historic heritage. Just wonder how long it will take until the Athenians will realize that it will cost to claim it back. Quick fixes, by bundling up undocumented migrants and/or drug users for a few days, will indeed not lead anywhere. As the author of the article rightly says, it will be necessary to find money… for sustainable investment, for developing green spaces, for social welfare, for improved infrastructure, for rendering the city safer without going into another extreme.

But it is also a question of goodwill, of setting healthy priorities and of generating a sense of communal responsibility. And in this field, I’m afraid, there’s not much to look back to with pride. All in all, one will have to look forward and make a move lest the city be lost for a very long time to come.

I also suggest to widely include in school education ‘community services’ — and start off with regular clean-up squads! That should be a good start.

Marion Hoffmann

Re: Stefanos Manos and Drassi

I am a Greek American who for the first time is considering voting in the 2012 election. After much reading and inquiry, I found Drassi, Stefanos Manos, an interesting alternative. However, I wonder why much of the media is ignoring him and his party. Am I missing something? Is there something others know that I do not?

Stefanos Manos is mentioned in many English-speaking newspapers and is invited to speak more in foreign media than in Greek. Shouldn’t the Greek people be better informed before casting their vote?

Read on please. This is an excerpt from The Atlantic by Max Fisher.

In August 1992, a man named Stefanos Manos landed a job as the finance minister of Greece. He had been in and out of Greek politics since 1977, but Manos finally had the job he wanted and the platform to pursue something he’d evangelized for a decade: privatization. The Greek public sector was enormous and growing ever-larger, beyond what Manos believed was sustainable. But the problem turned out to be worse than probably even he had imagined. After looking into Greek finances, he announced that he’d discovered, among other things, that the Greek national railway was so poorly run and its public employees so overpaid that it would be cheaper for the state to shut down the railway entirely and give every customer taxi fare to their destination. The situation is not much better today: the Greek railway has 700 million euros in annual expenses, 400 million euros of which go to pay its employees, against 100 million euros in income. Manos warned them, but Greeks didn’t want to listen, and 15 months after he took office he was forced to resign. 

M.S. Kond

Cuts, cuts, and more cuts

The IMF/Eurogroup are back in Athens looking for more cuts. Meanwhile, Spain is given a big break on reducing its deficit and Portugal was allowed to take 1.9% of GDP worth of debt and move it to future pensions. Spain has a big problem reporting the size of its actual debt. Holland missed its targets and even Germany has only managed to enact half of the austerity measures it tried to put in place last year.

Do not for a second believe they are singling out Greece for misreporting numbers, when the fuzzy numbers and budget shenanigans playing out today all over the eurozone is undertaken with the blessing of the euro elite. No surprise: they knew about the Greek deal with Goldman way back in 2002 (there are news articles about the deal still available online) and they simply looked the other way, as they are doing now with other countries. But they can’t punish Portugal and Spain as they can Greece, because they know that those countries are hardwired into the center of the EU (Mr. Barroso makes sure of it) in a way that Greece is not. Eurozone solidarity? Is anyone still clinging to this myth?

Dimitri Anastasopoulos

We have a true friend in the White House

Despite the problems and negative publicity during the past decades, there are some positive developments and a light at the end of the tunnel.

Greece and Ireland are the only countries in the world that have the privilege to celebrate their Independence day in the White House.

On March 23,2012 President Obama declared the following Proclamation: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/23/presidential-proclamation-greek-independence-day-national-day-celebratio

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 23, 2012

Presidential Proclamation — Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 2012

GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY: A NATIONAL DAY OF CELEBRATION OF GREEK AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 2012

Chris Papageorgiou

Greek honor

The persecution of Klaus Boetig shows what Greece is all about.

I think all the comments made by Boetig have also been made by Ekathimerini every second day. Ekathimerini has picked up the fact that there is something not right about our society.

It troubles me greatly that Katerina Fragaki has had time to protect our «honor and integrity», but she and the rest of the legal fraternity in Greece do not have the time to put preasure on the Greek Parliament to bring the Greek legal system into the 21st century.

The disgusting state of the Greek legal system dishonours us more than a million books that Boetig may have written using the worst words from every corner of the Earth.

Some of the sad and tearful happenings in our courts of late leaves me perplexed as how we arrived at this position, and why the millions of Greeks who have passed through Greek universites have not had time to walk into the offices of their Parliamentarians and ask for change in a quiet and peaceful manner.

The European Union puts out a plethora of documents about human rights, but allows the Greek legal system to operate as if it was somewhere in the jungles of central Africa, where logic and light have disappeared.

What defamation case warrants a penalty of one-year imprisonment?

What libel case warrants a penalty of five years? imprisonment?

Did the Greek Parliament pass these laws to stop critisism?

Boetig or anybody else who begins a debate or questions, does us a favour.

If there was debate or questioning in Greece perhaps we would not now be facing this humiliation and the sadness in our country.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos