Ticking packages, ticking country

Ticking packages, ticking country

Important problems that have never been properly addressed have re-emerged with more urgency following the terrorist attack against former prime minister Lucas Papademos: from the anti-terror squad’s scrambling to discover how this could have happened, to the issue of why Greece is still such a hothouse for guerrilla groups, anti-establishment louts and common criminals who elevate garden-variety delinquency to an ideology of violence and destruction. Any event can act as a trigger to revive the “discord and hatred sown so recklessly in Greek society by certain elements,” as per To Potami’s Stavros Theodorakis.

The reactions from almost all the country’s politicians to the attempt on Papademos’s life more or less expressed anger and sadness, and no one can argue with the statement that cracking down on terrorism should be a key concern, at the top of any government’s agenda. Obviously, even if the debt problem is solved, it will not automatically lead to a solution to terrorism or the crisis of democracy. Former prime minister Costas Simitis added yet another parameter to the debate: “The assassination attempt on Lucas Papademos shows us the sorry state of affairs in this country: that those who do their job well, those who care for the country, become targets.”

His comment also draws attention to a prevailing disorientation in regard to our fundamental mores, which in recent years have lapsed into complete confusion. It has become impossible for politicians and public opinion to agree on who is doing their job well and who cares for the country. Propaganda, the dissemination of fake news, obsessiveness and educational poverty, coupled with fatigue, unprofessed anger and inherent divisions are, indeed, leading to a very sorry state of affairs.

Hunting for scapegoats has become a popular sport and professional politicians are very well aware of the stakes of defining a notion or characterization: bandying about words like “treason” and “traitors” makes for excellent explosive material.

The issue other than who is governing is how they’re governing, so that booby-trapped parcels aren’t being sent so often, to targets in Greece or abroad. In this regard, Greece too is booby-trapped, ticking with prejudice, self-serving politicians and vested interests across the political spectrum, irresponsibility and a pervading sense of danger and decline. And those who speak of accountability should first ask themselves what commitments they are referring to.

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