Forces that grind us


Every day, Greece is crushed between fantasy and self-interest, as well as numerous other problems which, like millstones, grind down whatever efforts there may be to take the next step toward even the smallest degree of revival and rejuvenation. Trapped between such forces, the country is suspended, paralyzed in a state not of survival but of decline.

It is not just the big and pressing issues that are weighing down on us, such as the never-ending drama about the bailout review and when it will finally be wrapped up or the fact that Greece remains a hotbed of sundry terrorist forces, be they homegrown or imported. It is the smaller issues too, mundane problems that seem unsolvable, stuck in the same quagmire of unwillingness, ignorance and aggressive indifference toward anything that may fall into the broader category of the public interest.

For example, recent information from the City of Athens indicates that after many, many adventures, the heralded reopening of two historic cinemas, the Attiko and Apollo, which appeared to be progressing so well, will be frozen once more. The municipal authority is not to blame for the latest setback. Anything but. The problems this time around stem from petty interests and ideological obsessions.

The two movie theaters are not the only examples of how much is wrong, even on the lowest scale, even though their contribution to the overall appearance of the capital’s city center is very important. They are but two of many signs that there is no place for beautiful, proper and excellent things in this country, whether these are cinemas, new public garbage cans, the operation of a crematorium or even the development of the former international airport plot on Athens’s southern coast at Elliniko.

These are all different issues that affect different groups of the population, yet they have all come up against private interests, against a narrow microcosm that propagates zero cohesion in society. It is a force that fragments society in every possible way by transforming public “investments” (in the broader sense of the word) into private affairs. And the longer the government continues to fail in convincing us that it is acting according to a plan by, rather, seizing whatever opportunities arise that may keep it in power, then the deeper the fragmentation of society will be and the stronger private interests will become to the detriment of the public interest.

It is odd, actually, that in a country where private interests have been criminalized and vehemently fought by the governing left, they somehow seen to emerge stronger than ever.