Rescuing the heart of Athens

The historic center of Athens has sunk to an unprecedented level of degradation. Any half-hearted efforts by the capital’s mayor and the state have proven to be a complete failure in terms of safeguarding the area’s residents against organized crime, gangs, drugs, beggars and the general deterioration. The police have made efforts to curb the burgeoning wave of lawlessness but have received little support from the state and municipal authorities, which have chosen to shirk their responsibilities. The PASOK government must take immediate action to repair and reverse the situation. Measures should include the setting up of reception centers for illegal migrants, transfer of the OKANA rehabilitation units for drug addicts away from the city center and the provision of incentives for entrepreneurs so that they will invest in the redevelopment of the neglected neighborhoods in the historic capital. Deeds, not words, are needed to rescue the historic center, which has been allowed to degenerate into a ghetto of lawlessness and misery.