Suspicious minds

We were irked a few days ago when a report presented by the National Center for Social Research (EKKE) tarnished the rosy picture we have painted of ourselves. The inexorable figures of the study revealed that suspicion of others and xenophobia among Greeks run high enough to undermine any sense of collectivity. A society split into factions can hardly become a true society. According to the findings, we are suspicious not only of the State (we have traditionally put little trust in it) but also of members of our own society, a feeling that is coupled with the belief that we are plagued by plots and conspiracies. In response, we rebuffed the report’s findings as exaggerated. However, the events that followed the final whistle at the local soccer clash between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos on Saturday and their subsequent broadcasting and exploitation by sports media and television programs underscore that suspicion is not a dry statistic but an illness – an illness we don’t feel like fighting, as it pleases us; it gives us the opportunity to feel unique, omniscient and «clean.» After the match, the supporters of one team went on to play another game, pronouncing in indignation that the game had been fixed. These fans were soon joined by broadcast and media propagandists who have an interest in stirring fanaticism. «The match was fixed because of betting or elections,» was the ostensible diagnosis. Fine. As a result, our one-time gods (the president, the coach and the players) fell into disrepute; they were condemned as worthless nobodies. The fact that the same figures will once again be worshiped as gods if they manage a victory over the Spaniards in the Champions League does not mean that order will have been restored. Besides, it is not only in soccer that absurdity is the epitome of fanaticism.