Boat rockers not welcome

That’s one way to do away with evil – kill the bearer of the bad news and carry on regardless. Of course that is rather a crude remedy – indiscriminate and cruel – and that’s why even very primitive peoples have avoided resorting to it. Even way back then, messengers were respected, no matter what tidings they brought. We civilized folk in the 21st century, with our institutions and concern for meritocracy and equality before the law, have managed to turn back the clock, even where morals are concerned. Instead of punishing those who give the orders for the evil deed, we penalize those who disclose it. The issue at hand is last year’s events at the examination center at Pylaia, Thessaloniki, whose director gave (or passed on) instructions to markers of the English exam to change certain grades. One year later, the Education Ministry’s disciplinary council decided not only to fire the director but also punish the two teachers who revealed the scandal. And this revelation was no mean feat in a country where people generally can’t be bothered, where civil servants fear for their own jobs that are dependent on arbitrary factors such as the whims of their superiors or political expediencies. The two teachers dared to buck the trend and were rewarded by being docked three months’ wages. This is the lesson the Education Ministry wishes to teach – don’t rock the boat, don’t get involved unless you want to become a victim. The events at Pylaia could well serve as a precedent for dealing with serious scandals in the political system – mete out harsh punishment to those who revealed recent scandals such as the Siemens affair, or the Culture Ministry and phone-tapping scandals, and give a bonus to all those who yielded to temptation and caused the scandals. As for the promised cleanup, that can wait. After all, Siemens has given us so many washing machines. We’ll find some use for them.