OPINION

In search of a savior

I know I?m not alone looking in the dark and the current climate of despair for a Constantine Karamanlis of the year 2012, someone capable of taking the helm of a broken country, rebuilding the state, avoiding civil strife and a return to the drachma and prevailing over lawlessness.

I imagine this personality as a self-made person who has not gone through the worn-out and corrupt party mechanisms or at least has not been absorbed by them. Someone with work experience who has experienced difficulties in his trade and who cares more about his country than himself.

Of course I wonder whether there could ever be a Karamanlis in this kind of environment and if the imposing leader would actually survive in today?s adverse conditions.

Greece in 1955 bore no resemblance to the Greece of 2012. Karamanlis was capable of handling the few and — truth be told — rather refined oligarchs of his time. He also worked with a state which was in an operative mode, a public administration which could commence, carry out and conclude — without incidents of stealing — large-scale public works. In Karamanlis?s day, society was aware of the meaning of working hard and people had a vision of growth for the country. Even the period?s leftists had certain qualities which are incomparable to today?s hooliganism.

So could this society be brought together by one person, even one like Constantine Karamanlis? It would be no easy task. You don?t get many countries where teachers take children by the hand and have them throw stones at police stations — without any repercussions for that matter. Nor are there countries where a pivotal part of the state-funded private sector survives by way of fraud and illegal transactions and where the supervising authorities do not do their jobs.

Despite it all, we?re on the lookout for that one person who can persuade us that he can rebuild the country and will do so forcefully and with self-confidence both within and outside Greece. The person who will tell the Greek people to get on with it because the country must stand on its feet again and regain its dignity and at the same time explain to the country?s partners that what they want can?t be done in this way, that he can promise and deliver certain things but that they will have to back him up.

Clearly, we are looking for Superman, times ten. Someone with a good stomach, nerves of steel, unbending aides and endless patience and self-confidence. We would have to prevent him from reading or listening to all the paranoid stuff written and said about him, and he, in turn, would have to speak directly to the people, telling them some hard truths which would, however, deliver a prospect of growth and the rule of law.

The systematic, timeless mud-raking and conspiracy-making machine has made every possible effort to dismiss any serious, experienced candidate: ?He?s a banker,? ?He was a businessman, you know,? and so on. Up to now, the backward-looking drachma lobbyists have managed to discourage any serious people from actively considering getting involved in politics and public affairs.

This is how we reached this point of national decline and we find ourselves on the brink of disaster. This is where, in a few days from now, the country?s middle classes, diaspora Greeks who love their country of origin and the young, who have a lot to offer but are being driven away by all the misery, must find the way, the means and the vision to put up a fight.

It?s easy to fill the perennially easy role of great destroyer; however, what about the role of the savior?