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Setting a dangerous precedent

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The people whose names were published because of their alleged involvement in the case of the possession and distribution of child pornography are neither pederasts nor pedophiles. They have not been proved to have been in possession of child pornography or distributing it; they have only been...

The French connection

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The organizers of Greece's national examinations for university entrance caused a fuss with their decision to help candidates by providing some helpful notes to accompany a question on a poem by George Seferis. The move confirmed that Education Ministry officials question the ability of pupils to...

Opening up to neoliberalism

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One of the paradoxes in Greece is that we have managed to banish an entire system of ideas (from universities, bookshops and the media), while at the same time we lament its absence. Although we are keen to lash out at so-called neoliberalism, few are interested in finding out what it stands for....

Civil society with teething problems

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Strange as it may seem, the roots of the ills presently dogging Greece's state universities can be traced to a democratic overture made back in 1982. It was a draft law aimed at strengthening democratic procedures in the country's university institutions by promoting student participation in...

Closed professions and closed minds

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Fortunately Greece has not been hit by a major natural disaster. It has not been struck by an earthquake on the scale of the one that rocked China, nor has it been swept by a cyclone like the one that has devastated Burma. Nevertheless, it is in a state of constant crisis. A series of political...

Need for haulage liberalization

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We shouldn't forget that not so long ago Greece experienced shortages of bread as well as of gasoline. The price of a loaf of bread was controlled, putting bakers and government at loggerheads every year. The victims of this price war were of course consumers. Bakeries would go on strike and the...

The dean and the doily, a Greek farce

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Yale University President Richard Levin gave a very interesting interview to the Greek press on Tuesday, during which he explained the necessity for globalizing the education sector. Levin said educational institutions must change their curricula to reflect the changes in the world today, while...

The end of the world is nigh

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According to recent reports in the Greek media, Washington is not at all enamored by Greece's energy deal with Russia, after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement for the South Stream natural gas pipeline earlier this week. In fact, reports from...

Slapdash comedy and Greek myths

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The strange thing isn't the revival of myths about Henry Kissinger and the Greek language referred to by Pantelis Boukalas (commentary of April 15 in Kathimerini). What is even stranger is the ease with which they are revived, not only in coffee houses but in the major media, and even in...

Protection for the Olympic Flame

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If we were to take to the letter the government spokesman's statement that protests against China's occupation of Tibet go against the spirit of the Olympic Games, we would also have to ask the following question: Is it in accordance with the Olympic spirit for the Greek Olympic Committee and the...

Inequalities and poverty

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Now that the battle over pension reform is over, it is time to think what has been won and what has been lost on an individual as well as a collective level. First of all, we should repeat the obvious: There is no solution to Greece's social security problem. Not because of workers' reactions or...

Free of constraints, cyberspace hosts liveliest dialogue in Greece

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Naturally enough, the Greek blogosphere to a large extent mirrors Greek society, with its ideological perceptions, fixations and phobias. Yet among all the rehashing of the politically, socially and nationally correct, there are valuable perceptions to be found. Blogs are able to highlight a...

Rights, the Church and prostitution

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What is all the fuss about the Holy Synod's opposition to the cohabitation bill? After all, the Church has clearly stated that any relationship which it has not sanctified is tantamount to «prostitution.» And to be fair to the bishops, according to Christian teachings in general, erotic...

Time to find a different banker?

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Workers are protesting - many of them justifiably - about the way in which the government has managed the reserves of their social security funds. They are complaining that their money was used to bankroll development (when they were forced to deposit it in banks without earning interest), that...

The media truck is out of control

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About a month ago, the news was dominated by the Christos Zachopoulos case. Today it has all but disappeared. I don't know if this means anything for the case, but it does say a lot about television bulletins. Fifteen years ago, the head of opposition PASOK was commonly referred to as «just a...

The asylum of the fittest

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University deans from all across Greece met in the northern city of Komotini last weekend to discuss the higher education bill. Fearful of an onslaught from leftist youth groups, they decided to convene at a local hotel rather than in any university boardroom. The usual scenes unfolded outside...

The debasement of public discourse

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Nothing is strange about the fact that a handful of people spread gossip and rumor via the press-gr blog. What is strange is how many people took this blog seriously. There are good blogs and bad blogs all over the world, but Greece is the only country where these are thrown into the same pot and...

Global warming and divine will

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A religious believer has a simple explanation for everything. When things are going well, then it's just a matter of «divine will.» When disaster strikes, then «God is simply testing our faith.» It's common belief among all religions that they don't need to prove their claims. All manifestations...

Big scandals and little scandals

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Two things have been proven by the Zachopoulos affair. First is the immunity of Greeks to scandals, which have been classified into those that are huge and those that are no big deal. The manner in which funds are managed at the Ministry of Culture - a scandal shared by both major parties - falls...

Slender majorities and rule of inertia

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The premature end of the conservative administration under Constantine Mitsotakis in 1993 did much damage to PASOK. For the short-lived tenure of the New Democracy government bred arrogance among Socialist officials who scorned what is commonly referred to as the «brief interval.» No sooner had...

Distortions in the production of Greek books

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Umberto Eco once wrote that the only question that visitors to his library ever asked was «Have you read all these books?» In Greece the question should be tweaked to «Who reads all these books?» Figures from the National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI) reveal that in 2006 alone 9,209 titles were...