Get it together, gentlemen

I consider myself a rather composed person. Nevertheless, there have been moments lately when I have completely lost my temper and patience with Greek politicians.

In fact I would very much like to grab a few of them by the collar, give them a small shake and take them out of their party and ministerial offices so that they may breathe some fresh air and clear their minds.

I understand their fatigue, the kind of altruism that is required of them and the feeling that they are doing so much while expecting little in return – nearly working pro bono. Yet I cannot explain how they reach certain decisions without realizing the effect they have on people’s anger.

An example of this is the appointment of former PASOK minister and ex-European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis as Greece’s representative at the World Bank. I have nothing personal against this PASOK veteran, but enough already. Young, educated people looking for a job right now hit the roof when they heard the news. These young people and their families feel that coveted positions in this country are booty for political parties and vested interests. Why didn’t the Greek state organize a competition to figure out exactly who was worthy of the job? Why send out, once again, a message to the country’s talented youth that they should either opt for senseless violence or go abroad? Did no official ponder the kind reaction that this decision would spark? If not, it is quite telling of all the politicians involved: they are living in a protected environment and breathing the same, bad air. There is no other explanation.

Another example is the measure of requiring taxpayers to collect receipts in an effort to clamp down on evasion. The measure was abolished, brought back again and re-abolished, while we continue to wait for some kind of clarification.

Get serious gentlemen, because people are going to rise up, even if such issues seem petty to you. Citizens are looking for trust when it comes to their relationship with the state and their politicians. When the latter appear not to know what they’re doing, changing their minds every two hours and doing things without a plan, the only recourse the people have is to get angry, very angry.

The country is in dire straights and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is risking everything, though this doesn’t stop certain officials from shooting themselves in the foot for no apparent reason.

For a moment I thought that this temporary loss of temper on my behalf was because I was in desperate need of a holiday following yet another exhausting winter. But I’m pretty sure this is not the reason. It has to do with the notion that although the country and its people have been through so much, the political system has yet to change its tune.

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