OPINION

Dignitaries devoid of dignity

Last Sunday, the patrons of a village coffee shop in Fthiotida – ordinary people, farmers and laborers – sat glued to the television set in order to watch developments in the Pachtas case. The talk was about vested interests, trade-offs and corruption. The last straw for the villagers, however, was hearing the deputies implicated in the controversial land development bill whining that they had been caught unawares, that their signatures had been forged, that they had been conned by the firm or their colleagues – acting as though they were powerless and showing not a shred of self-respect. The entire coffee shop rose in revolt. They lost any remaining respect for the politicians who were now pushing their way into the limelight to save what they could. «I thought these people were educated, smart, or at least cunning, but I now see they are nothing,» a farmer said angrily. «They have no shame. Can’t they see they are provoking the people?» another man said, before a third one, next to him, said, «Why don’t they just shut up!» For ordinary people, only two types of response were open to the deputies. They could either defend their actions or acknowledge their mistake and keep silent. Instead, they chose to moan, produce incredible excuses, and refuse all responsibility – a behavior that discredits them, Parliament and politics in general. As a result, they have managed to arouse widespread indignation, seriously injuring PASOK’s chances of re-election. For ordinary people, who may be poor but who are deeply permeated with the principles of pride and self-respect, this was a pitiful spectacle. People cannot stand such a buck-passing attitude. It recalls irresponsible whiners, dignitaries devoid of dignity. That is why it is inexcusable.