A powerful silence

If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, then a gaze can probably also say more than a thousand words. After Angelos Economopoulos, the head of the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK), became the 36th government appointee to quit, the general secretary of the ruling party was asked by the press whether ministers bear political responsibility for their selections of senior staff. Maybe it was anger, confusion or embarrassment, but Vangelis Meimaralos – irked not by the question but by the not-so-flattering incident – chose not to say a word. His silence was an answer, and his look confirmed what became perfectly clear. The fact that he later called a TV station during its news bulletin to defend Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos does not mean much. His earlier silence was far more meaningful and sincere. Panayiotopoulos’s repeated statements on radio and television stations proved that when it comes to PR he is less charismatic than he would have us believe – at least when the situation calls for more than a pompous truism or an ironic smile. In the case of Economopoulos’s resignation, the minister was stripped by his very rhetoric. His words failed to account for yet another removal, after the resignation of the Social Security Foundation (IKA)’s Deputy Governor Nikos Gerasimou. The latest allegations are not the only ones related to the Olympic Games. Our political leaders, both the Socialists and the conservatives, had described the Games as a great vision. But many of our businesspeople and opportunists instead saw a chance to make big bucks. If revelations like these keep emerging, they will become a great tragedy, justifying the fears of those skeptics who had never been inspired by such a grand vision in the first place.