Trophies and severed fingers

Fantastic. Panathinaikos has won soccer’s Super League, and Greece’s anxiety over its economic survival has come to a triumphant – according to the government – end because it has succeeded in securing loans at a rate of 5 percent, while our European partners feel there is nothing to celebrate in their 3 percent borrowing rate. But when it comes to the championship, the one image that has stayed etched in our minds is that of a steward who lost her fingers when picking up a flare thrown onto the pitch. The lawyers assure us that all she lost was a few fingernails, but the image remains. The champions raised their trophy with severed fingers, even if they didn’t feel it. The government, in turn, feels as though it is raising a trophy full of euros, when it should be feeling the pain of the severed fingers – the control it lost through prevarication – it used to pull the trigger. Just as the maiming of the steward was brushed off as a broken nail, so the imposed solution of the International Monetary Fund and the European Union was hailed as a «contribution» by Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who, in the tradition of his party, PASOK, endowed the word with a completely new meaning. On the subject of concepts, it is interesting to note that the future of the Greek economy was decided at a teleconference. Sure, teleconferencing technology is a small miracle, but not when it allows decisions that will affect the future of an entire country and nation to be reached from afar, when it allows politics to be practiced away from what we naively believe to be its heart, Parliament and the people. Six months ago, the Greek people elected this government on the promise that it knew where to find the money and how to put it to good use. The people are being told an entirely different story today and are also being called upon to pay – and applaud the fact with severed fingers and a tortured soul. Because the best of the worst is not always good.

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