OPINION

Betrayed dreams

betrayed-dreams

A key politician in the current Greek administration visited a leading international organization while his party was still in the opposition. The aim of the visit was to talk about Greece and international affairs with the organization’s second in command.

When the meeting ended the politician met with a few of the organization’s Greek members of staff. They asked him how the discussion went and he avoided giving a straight answer, posing a key question instead: “Tell me, how many people could a government appoint or transfer to this organization?” The staff burst out laughing, aware of the fact that nobody could ever enter such an organization without passing tough tests and even if they did manage to get in through the back door, they would be unable to survive as the system would reject them for their failings.

Unfortunately, Greek politicians’ DNA never changes – give or take very few exceptions. Whether young or old, leftists or rightists, their mind is always racing to appointments and political favors. I’m an avid reader of announcements and the Government Gazette regarding various appointments made by Alexis Tsipras’s administration. The CVs point to an obvious lack of qualifications and considerable confusion.

I remember Tsipras addressing the crowds in the Athens University forecourt on the night of his first election victory and promising that every young person with the right qualifications would be able to find a job.

What a contrast between that declaration and the systematic appointments of friends and relatives.

Of course he is hardly the first or the last person to act in this way. Certainly there were cases of raving nepotism during the tenure of previous governments, even after the crisis erupted.

Dentists were appointed as heads of defense industries while sports trainers were designated to manage hospitals. But let’s not kid ourselves that the old ways have ended and that the new is taking over. Corruption is not dead, it is simply recycled.

A lot of young people believed Tsipras represented something very different. For the time being they continue to do so, because they are repelled by the old system and they do not wish to admit they are wrong.

Others become so desperate that they go in search of greener pastures abroad. Given the skyrocketing rate of youth unemployment and the accumulation of betrayed dreams, the powder keg could explode.