Something loves scandals

It was clear from the start that the scandal would be one of those that could rock the country. It included death (which the prosecutor declared to be a suicide), spies, huge economic interests, state security and dark suspicions as to who was behind it all. The footprints reached all the way to the prime minister’s office. Yesterday, the prosecutor closed the case, after an investigation that began in February 2006 and included testimony from 500 witnesses. No one was found culpable for the tapping of the phones of the prime minister and senior politicians. No one was responsible for the huge lapse in state security nor for the death of Vodafone engineer Costas Tsalikidis. A scandal of monumental proportions, which highlighted all the state’s failings, has died with a whimper, sinking, like so many cases before, into the silent abyss. There is something which appears to favor scandals in this country, allowing situations which undermine institutions, laws and the state machinery, as well as the healthy reaction of the public. Truth does not fare well in Greece – because even if it stared us in the face we would not recognize it. We expect the worst, and this expectation facilitates abnormal situations. We see this again today in the «Zachopoulos scandal.» Again, controversy surrounds the premier’s close aides, again we see the amateurish handling of a situation lead to ever deeper suspicions. We see journalists-turned-publishers bandying about millions of euros and illicit film, as if nothing were amiss. Spectators of our society’s degradation, we appear addicted to what revolts us. We accept an ending without catharsis, without the fear and pity that would teach us anything. As if it were a soap opera, we are comfortable with our leaders’ incompetence, the impunity of our crooks and the loss of all we had hoped for in our country.