Citizens dismissed


One thing that the majority of people in Greece – and particularly residents of Athens – know is that law and order are relative values. The people in this country feel increasingly vulnerable and defenseless in a society that lacks coordinates and a state that appears incapable of implementing the law.

The chilling murder of lawyer Michalis Zafeiropoulos, the successive “raids” conducted by anti-establishment group Rouvikonas – including one at the Spanish Embassy – an attack on a wheelchair-bound person who was speaking at an Athens university on volunteerism, and other such incidents – recent or older, of varying degrees of severity – show every single citizen what is wrong with Greek society. However dissimilar these incidents appear, they all stem from the growing audacity of criminals and reprobates.

What is most worrying is that this prevalent sense that the rules have gone out the window, that citizens have no security and protection, that this thing poisoning daily life and rewarding forces that cultivate the fragmentation of society has the backing of a significant proportion of the citizenry who sympathize with lawbreakers. Sure, these lawbreakers have always been around, but now they have a government that was raised in the trenches of society and the support of a like-minded political environment.

There are obviously many causes behind the erosion of the social fabric and neither is it a one-track or recent phenomenon. It is, however, extremely significant and equally neglected. The person or persons who succeed in making citizens feel safer, who clean up notorious pockets of crime and clear universities of antisocial elements according to the letter of the law will be doing society a great service. Achieving this is a matter of political will and requires fortitude and a team of capable officials. Above all, it will take leadership.

Too many citizens feel that they are under siege and forced to tolerate all manner of violations of law and order. Too many people feel uncomfortable walking around many parts of the capital or parking their car at night. Suspicion and fear have altered the way we behave toward each other and this is the greatest victory of the enemies of the “system.” Between the anarchist playgrounds and organized crime there is a huge chunk made up of peace-loving citizens – and no one seems to care.