Close scrutiny

Barring a small minority, most people – including many state officials – seem to have missed the fact that the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens has brought Greece under constant and close outside scrutiny. As we approach the deadline for the event, international Olympic officials will grow ever more stringent and demanding of Greece’s fulfillment of its obligations. Their observations, remarks and critical comments will come thick and fast for the government. However, interpreting and denouncing this stance as Greek-bashing is groundless and naive. Outside interference is, no doubt, influenced, and even dictated, by the self-serving interests of various circles that have an eye on a share of the Olympic-related projects. This, however, does not nullify the fact that the Greek government has, for good or for ill, undertaken an international obligation that it now has to carry out – in accordance with the rules of the game. Any government or other officials who deemed that hosting the Games would provide fodder for the propaganda of a «powerful Greece,» enable them to make a pompous display or promote their personal objectives, were all deeply misled. The modern Olympic Games are a relentless clash of entrepreneurial and political interests that is a far cry from commercials blowing a lot of hot air about «bringing the Olympics back to their homeland.» In any case, the government has committed to organizing the Games. It cannot afford to fail. It must have everything ready in time. It must put aside allegations about orchestrated Greek-bashing and get down to work in order to live up to its responsibilities. It must not complain over the fact that Greece is under international supervision because this is the result of its own decisions. In essence, the prime minister has to take charge (unofficially, of course) of the helm of Athens 2004. Much is at stake, both politically and economically, thus justifying those senior government officials who expect the premier to view this task as equal to that of joining the eurozone. It was the government that plunged the country into this great adventure, therefore its political leader cannot afford to disclaim all responsibility for its outcome.