A hopeful end

“I believe that every end represents a new beginning. I would like my own end to mark the beginning of a little effort by everyone to become better, the civil servants a little more industrious, the politicians a little more honest, the judges a little more trustworthy, the journalists a little less carnivorous…» These are the words that Finance Ministry official Rubini Stathea wrote in a letter to the Eleftherotypia daily before her suicide last Sunday. They are the words of a woman whom both the press and state subjected to extremely harsh treatment; so harsh, that she chose to take her own life; so harsh, that no one knows which pressure was more overwhelming – that exercised by the secret methods of the government and politicians, that of contradictory legislation – which she was responsible for approving – or her harsh (in her words «carnivorous») exposure to the public by the media. She could have used far harsher words herself, but from the moment that someone decides to take such extreme action, it is unlikely that they see any point in directing criticism. But how long is our shock in response to this suicide likely to last? How long will it be until the focus shifts away from this tragic figure and onto the next individual that attracts the interest of the press? How long will it be before another civil servant is subjected to unbearable pressure from his or her superiors? And to what extent will Rubini Stathea’s end really represent a new beginning, as she wished?