OPINION

Ten commandments

Do leaders shape their times, or do the times fashion leaders? This question has been bugging me for years. Contemporary leaders often say that «times have changed. The times of [Constantine] Karamanlis or [Andreas] Papandreou are over.» I wonder whether that’s a way of shying away from the hard stuff, even though deep down they know that History will not be kind on them. You can’t fool History. It greets you with an inexorable question: «What have you done all these years in power? You inherited a party or a state, after all, but did you make an impact on them?» My politician friends say I am being too harsh on them, that I fail to grasp the fact that grand ideas and visions eventually go down in a sea of human flaws and compromises. I can feel for them. The charm of day-to-day management appears strong even to a newspaper editor. But I always keep in mind a list of 10 commandments for going down in History. 1. You must always be animated by strong desire to change something. 2. You must choose savvy partners. 3. You must possess an inherent curiosity of the world. 4. You must be a citizen of the world. 5. You must never stop improving yourself, by reading or talking to gurus. 6. You can explain where you want to take the country in five simple sentences. 7. You must rule with a carrot and stick. 8. You must be honest but still smart enough to smell a rat. 9. You must set clear goals and go after them. 10. You must care about what you leave behind. After all you will be judged against the likes of Trikoupis and Venizelos. Am I asking too much? Maybe, but I am really upset with those two young men who I know can go down in history but still try to convince us that «these times are over.»