Not a state, but an idea

Not a state, but an idea

Inspections to combat the illicit fuel trade are on the wane (the collection of fines has also decreased); the teachers’ union is hindering efforts to introduce an evaluation scheme in their sector; about 150 angry individuals wielding sticks stormed a university in order to attack a professor who in the past had reacted to their putting up posters around the campus (at the same time, another group was disrupting classes at a different institution); and a government minister established that security measures are not up to scratch, but only after a former Greek prime minister had been injured in a letter bomb attack in the center of the capital.

These are only some incidents of this nature which have taken place over the past few days. And they leave no doubt that the rules, the principles and the ideas that are usually associated with a well-functioning state and a healthy society have come undone in this corner of the world.

Greece increasingly resembles an entity without a beginning, a middle and an end, rather than a proper state. At best, and perhaps with a touch of humor, it could be described as an “idea” and not a state. At worst, one would classify it as a “failed state.” Or, to put it in the more subtle words of international officials, Greece could be considered a “special case.”

All that unfortunately appears to have escaped the attention of the government, a big chunk of the political class, and an even larger portion of the country’s citizens.

Given the situation, it’s hard to see the point behind the administration’s supposed struggle, the antics, the political narrative regarding Greek debt relief, Germany’s “evil” Wolfgang Schaeuble, the “nasty” International Monetary Fund, the relentless lenders and all the rest that has been dominating Greece’s political life and discourse.

Even if we assume that in some unprecedented act of generosity, our lenders will decide to give us all that we have been asking for, and more than that, without strings or conditions, is there anyone out there who really believes that the way we do things, the Greek reality as it were, would change?

Does anyone really believe that authorities would start checks for fuel smuggling, that teachers and professors would happily accept assessment, that the various troublemakers would transform into peace-loving, well-mannered citizens, that the security measures would be beefed up, that Greece would stop being an idea and grow into a fully fledged state?

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