A dark new world

I sometimes feel like Greece is sliding backward but, for some reason, we fail to see this. In May, three bank employees were killed after a group of individuals threw a firebomb into their place of work. The police have not yet found the perpetrators, despite indications that they belong to a relatively known circle. More recently, somebody mailed a parcel bomb to the office of Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, killing one of his close aides. This week, a journalist was gunned down in cold blood in a manner that is more common to Colombia or Mexico. These three incidents have done more to harm to Greece’s image than any number of Moody’s downgrades. But can we really understand how the rest of the world sees us? And how strange it must seem to them that we more or less adjust to it all after just a few days? I really don’t think we do – or we would not let every thug or prisoner use their mobile phone to send instructions for the next strike. Greece’s pustules seem to have magically joined forces, posing a threat to democracy and social cohesion. A group of people have in recent years turned violence into a profession but we have always failed to react until they went too far, like in the December 2008 riots. Local mafia groups have also expanded, exploiting the overall impunity that has seen civilians installing police sirens in their cars. The shooting of Sokratis Giolias exposed another gray area – that peculiar type of journalism that ranges from revelations to slander-for-money. This is not a reference to the victim or any people who may have indeed broken fresh ground with revelations posted on blogs and so on. It is rather a reference to the exchange of threats, the targeted attacks and other unorthodox forms of reporting that have emerged. As a society, we have allowed this strange dark world to flourish. When these three pocks on the face of society came together, it was only natural that we would see vitriol and, eventually, deaths. The police must do what they have to and track down the perpetrators. The rest of us must ask ourselves whether we want to go down a path that is turning Greece into a caricature of a European country.

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