The enemy within

Our political leaders have promised that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Greece. But, instead of clarifying matters, a couple of enigmatic statements have muddied the waters even more. Who is the Greek prime minister who once told Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker that he himself governed a corrupt country? And how long have Greece’s European peers known the truth about the country’s real economic situation? Yet they chose to remain silent (so that, first, Greece could continue purchasing weapons from its allies Germany and France and, second, because any possible bankruptcy of the country would be in the political and economic interests of the global business elite). Really, with friends like these, you don’t need enemies. The prime minister that exposed his nation to slander – apparently current Premier George Papandreou – chose to protect his personal reputation by passing the blame onto his humble officials. This was one way, he thought, of disguising the passive or active role of the partisan system in the nation’s far-reaching corruption. But in a corrupt country, corruption starts at the top. A patron-client system cannot be set up on its own. Nor were the scandals that shook Greece over the previous decades (stock market bubble, Siemens, Vatopedi land-swap) organized by the people. But the truth is that it could in fact have been any of the three last premiers. It was the reformist Costas Simitis who introduced the aristocratic dogma «That’s Greece.» His successor, conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, also adopted an aristocratic style, governing from a distance through stand-ins so that he would not have to give up his pet habits or taint his neatly polarized image. Now Papandreou, the purportedly nonconformist leader of PASOK, acts as if he has been put in charge of a children’s reform school that he has little interest in. We should let all three of them indulge in the blame game. After all, the substance of the statement concerns all three.

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