Ends and means

The saying that «the end justifies the means» has been used to justify many crimes against humanity. What comes to mind are the crusades, both long past (against non-Christians) and more recent (against terrorists). Greece has set the holding of the Olympic Games in 2004 as its supreme goal for the start of the 21st century, and as the means to achieve it, the Athens 2004 organization. No one wants the attempt to fail. It is an expensive «vision» which should at least make a positive contribution to the country’s image, since it will draw the eyes of the world, through their television screens, onto the city of the Acropolis. So far, Athens 2004 and its president have fully abided by the saying «the end justifies the means.» If the end is the Olympics, then everything done in its name is acceptable: the choice of people, places, methods and expenses. A unique network of public relations and interests, not to mention the media’s stance, has restricted criticism to a minimum. A national silence had descended on the preparations for the Games, only to be broken by at least one sector of the media after the storm at Schinias and the salmonella and Nea Makri. So the end does not justify the means; that is, it does not absolve anyone of their responsibilities – particularly when all of us will have to foot the bill. As for the silence, whether imposed or voluntary, there is another saying: There is always a lull before a storm.