OPINION

On war reparations, politicians, immigration

WWII is over

I cannot believe that some aspects of the Greek political elite are still pressing for WWII war reparations from Germany. Do you know how «bush league» this makes Greece look?

Greece, it is time to grow up. Stop behaving like a pathetic, tiny country that cannot get its act together. The Germans are making your current way of life possible. Without the troika lifeline you would be bust: No money to pay public sector salaries, to pay pensions, to pay for the Greek military.

Don’t you people understand? Your costs far exceed your revenues. Without German capital making up the difference between costs and revenues you are bankrupt. Period, end of story.

This war reparations business needs to be put to rest. Stop behaving like children and grow up! I am an American. You want us to send you (and the rest of Europe) a bill for the ridiculous excess burden we (Americans) pay for your security via NATO? Do we really want to start that conversation?

I simply cannot believe this reparations business. Let it go as a country and grow up. If you want to be taken seriously, you must join the 21st century in all regards.

Peter O’Hara

Healthcare corruption

The problem of ?fakelo? to the medical profession has always been the old adage about which came first: the chicken or the egg. Apart from the gifts of thank you from patients, there were others that insisted on paying National Health System doctors for preferential treatment for their relations. However, if the Medical Association had wanted to stop the corruption, it could have been over years ago. All they had to do was issue a warning and then charge one or two doctors, remove their license to practice medicine in Greece and cancel their pensions.

If you want laws to work, they have to be implemented.

As for medical equipment which was purchased at inflated rates, often of poor quality and without service guarantees, this was common knowledge and common practice throughout the public services. It was made possible because the government officials were not familiar with the products and rather than request the advice of professionals in the field, simply rubber-stamped orders. It was and still is a simple procedure to grant orders to a specific company as even if it is open for tender, the specifications are so exact that only one company could be the supplier. Another reason for technocrats to be employed in high offices.

Ann Baker

llegal immigrants

As an outcome of the excellent article of Nick Malkoutzis and the daily news I want to stress out the following points:

* There is no working administrative system that knows how to deal with illegal immigrants or asylum seekers.

* There are not enough capacities and adequate camps to house the immigrants.

* Sweeps have been under way for several days now as a result of politicians that obviously just care about their election campaign.

* Since Monday illegal immigrants have been branded by Mr. Crysochoidis as disease carriers and as a hazard to public health.

Four simple points that lead to one simple question: What happens with the illegal immigrants after they have been arrested?

Sebastian Schroeder

Patra

Re: PM blocks amendments

Good move Mr Prime Minister and great report Kathimerini! The odious Greek political class at its worst. And it?s so bad on any given day that it?s hard to top that record… but these guys are trying hard. Troika Command must be rolling on the floor with laughter. What will those MPs try next?

Simon Jackson

Is Greece a democracy?

?No, of course not! We all know that! It is a Junta of Parliamentarians!» answers very calmly a 30-year-old woman in a bar near Granidi in the Peloponnese, as if I were a total idiot — I would tend to agree, to ask the question in the first place. ?In fact,» she continues, «at the time of the Junta, I am told never would you have seen their number one being surrounded by so much security as many of our politicians need in public now.”

“But are you aware that in some countries citizens are — if they get a certain percentage of the population to sign a proposal — allowed to get the entire country to vote on a specific subject again through the Net on a Saturday morning and the law they want to change would be changed if they win? Or that regions and even communities like Granidi would automatically recieve a certain amount of your taxes, for instance for roads, police, that kind of services?”

“Well,» answers an elderly gentleman, ?you are asking us if we know what democracy is. Of course we do! Now can I ask you a question? What can we do about it??

So, here I remember the general discourse of fellow commentator Lionel Luthor, who tends to keep things simple when it comes to the «Establishment,» and think: «Yes. Well you are right!”

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: German war reparations

I can remember discussions in the media that payments made by Germany to Greece in the early 1960?s disappeared without reaching the Greek Treasury.

The money deposited in an Athens bank disappeared. If I am not mistaken it was a even a talking point when the Colonels took over Government.

I kept an article from a newspaper for many years about the money that disappeared.

The latest discussions are extraordinary in light of the payments made in the 1960’s.

Why are the Germans not now bringing up the earlier payments that disappeared from the Athens bank? I can remember the German Ambassador in London saying that if the Greeks want to know where the money is, they can ask their politicians.

I wonder if everybody in Greece and Germany has something to hide?

We Greeks could all start by asking our fathers where the money from the Germans is, and where the money from the sale of shiploads of Greek children have gone.

It is strange that a country with such a long history has a population with very short memories.

Or is it simply they remember what suits their egos and their pockets?

Is this claim for war reparations simply asking God for Manna from heaven, instead of all Greeks recognising that the chief problem is all about what we did and what we did not do; and, the only way out of it is to make the changes that have shamed all of us and endangered the very existance of our country?

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

User pays

The people who go to a university and take up a place and merely waste their time and do not come out with a degree or diploma in the appropriate time should be charged full fees.

It is a sin to tax the poor who struggle and to give money to middle-class lazy children to waste.

Even in Greece, whoever has a degree has the opportunity to get wealthy.

The graduates should be made to reimburse the Greek government once they start work.

If people pay their way once they are earning money, the government will have funds to increase the number of enrollments. A country without natural resources needs as many people as possible who can think.

Teaching staff need to be on contract for the time they are in the university — paying someone when they are not at work is a luxury Greece cannot afford.

To get the best university staff, some technology subjects should be taught in German or English, to attract world-class staff. A university that does no research is not a university.

Some universities should become technical colleges that can fill the economy with people who have all the practical skills.

The alternative is to close the government universities and let private companies sell the service. The private companies will provide the service at a fraction of the cost of what the government spends, without the shameful practices that we now see.

Greece needs to have all of its population highly skilled if it wants to escape the third world status it is now aiming for. Greece needs to create new export industries, as tourism, shipping and agriculture are declining. Greece needs to earn money to pay for food and fuel imports.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

PASOK and ND

It was great having PASOK chase out capital, initiative, entrepreneurship, re-writing the laws according to its special relationships with greedy, corrupt, lazy and useless unions, as did ND. And now, with unemployment rocketing, poverty everywhere, and the country collapsing, all the government policies of the last 30 years, looking back with hindsight, one sees how communism still rules this country.

All of Greece’s shipyards; what happened? Its industries; what happened? Its shipping; what happened? Currently its tourism is sinking too. What’s happening?!

Greece’s politicians, we all know, are pretty useless, incompetent and majorly corrupt. Greeks must turn to the EU to save them, not their local karagiozi politician. It’s time Germans and French, Swedes etc arrived and took control of Greece’s state. Our civil service and politicians can’t do it. Period. The system is broken. We need real civil servants and politicians.

Lionel Luthor

Greeks and Austrians? A profitable collaboration?

Under the Junta there was apparently a slogan; ‘Greeks should work more and eat less,’ i.e. Greeks should spend more time working and have shorter lunch breaks.

I couldn’t say whether this was a true observation of Greek habits. However I might paraphrase it: ‘Greeks should do more and talk less’. Now this is an observation born of reality.

I have described Greeks as permanent revolutionaries. I am convinced that every Greek in an ideal world would spend all day in a virtual agora, spouting politics and listening to others do the same. Provided someone else provided free meals of course.

Is it the apparently irredeemably daunting nature of the Greek landscape that has ‘encouraged’ perhaps 50-75% of her citizens to live in urban areas and work for a state that can’t afford them? Then, instead of doing, producing, creating, learning how to, etc. they spend all their time politicking, philosophising, arguing, intriguing, writing, conjecturing and speculating etc. Escaping into escapism.

Take K for instance. There are wonderfully written articles in English and Greek on all aspects of the present situation. The Greek press, together with Greek publishing (books), the media and politics is the centre of what it seems Greeks do best; talking and arguing.

Where however is there any Greek Centre for Excellence in physical creativity? In urban planning and construction? In agricultural or socio-economic efficiency? In practical original technological R