OPINION

Tarring with the same brush

The judges of Cafe Hellas have reached their verdict: Social workers, the judiciary, MPs, government representatives, journalists and lawyers are all the same – liars and on the take. The crowd at Cafe Hellas delights in all the sordid details, watching the social fabric unravel stitch by stitch, as each ludicrous revelation brings another even more ludicrous one. The MP accused by his journalist friend of being a blackmailer rushes to explain himself, not to Parliament or his party, but to the ever vigilant prosecutor of the night, the sleepless Javert of television. Parliament and political parties watch as journalist X illegally records his conversation with journalist Y and uses the product of this crime to snitch on the lying Z, who keeps a straight face as he says that it was all just a lark. Another TV pundit argues that phone tapping is not a crime but a professional practice and accuses the president of the journalists’ union of providing a cover for his employer/TV station and the anonymous informant of the prime minister’s associate. Each new revelation is more unexpected and sordid than the previous one, and, to make matters worse, even more criminal. A digital cesspool that has already made it onto the front page of a newspaper with impunity, is now ripe for global distribution on YouTube. The lowest of the low preach morality and the crowd, dazed and even a bit envious, tars everyone, politicians and journalists, with the same brush. But, they should not. Gross generalizations undermine confidence in the rule of law. On the other hand, when the honest, the majority, keep silent, they simply give voice to the forces of corruption, allowing blackmailers, dealers and rats to multiply and dominate. For as long as we are silent, the few will continue to blacken the public sphere and rob the country of its future. They do not have that right. Let’s just pull the plug.