English texts

Politics is about ideas, not age

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Once upon a time, about 15 years ago, Greeks were crying out for the removal of the «dinosaurs» from the country's political arena. Many believed that the departure of Constantine Karamanlis, Andreas Papandreou and Constantine Mitsotakis would bring an end to the country's woes. The dinosaurs...

A hasty Venizelos, once again

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Evangelos Venizelos is said to be quite clever. And, in fact, he can be very charming on the TV screen. He can put a void concept into a thousand nice-sounding words until all meaning is lost. By the time he arrives at his conclusion, the viewer has already forgotten how he began. Still, that may...

The orbits of the left

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There is a strange theory making its way around PASOK and other leftist circles. Some are saying that the «die-hard rightist» Nicolas Sarkozy won the French election because Segolene Royal was not leftist enough. Gerhard Schroeder's failure to win the elections after seven years as chancellor...

The real Athens and visions of Paris

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We don't understand why Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis is so worried about the capital becoming like Paris or «other European cities,» because as citizens there is nothing we would like better. We only wish we had clean streets, broad boulevards, parks and fountains. Now, if in this far superior...

Panacea for all our woes... churches

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So what's this new craze that has gripped our politicians? It seems that everyone in a high public post has an urge to build a church. Some even want two. Two years ago, former parliamentary speaker Anna Psarouda-Benaki wanted to build a church in the courtyard of the Hellenic Parliament. Now,...

A cry that will not reach our ears

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July 11, 1995. Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic enters Srebrenica, a UN-protected Muslim enclave. He turns to the camera of the Serbian television channel and makes a patriotic declaration: «Here we are in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. On the eve of yet another great Serb holiday. We present...

Squeaky wheel gets the oil

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We often argue that politicians do not address the real issues, that they spend their time sparring and forming alliances, and that, overall, strong stances are lacking from politics. This is true - sometimes. Except that often when politicians do state their positions, no one pays attention,...

Babbling in the dark

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There's a military joke that did the rounds a few years ago. An officer sent a scout to spy on enemy troops. He returned panting and reported, «There are 503 soldiers coming this way.» «How could you possibly count them?» asked the officer. «There were three in front and about 500 behind,» the...

The slippery road to neoconservatism

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When the Greek people gave their mandate for reforms in 2004, the government failed to take action. Now, in 2007, after Greeks voted more conservatively, the government has started visibly regressing. The first sign of this retrogression is the withdrawal of a controversial sixth-grade history...

Was a stay order given?

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Statements made by New Democracy party members on Sunday night show a common interpretation of the election results: Greeks voted for ND because the prime minister is constantly thinking about reforms. He doesn't necessarily go ahead with them, but he's thinking about them. And the new mandate is...

The problem with our schoolbooks

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It may seem strange, but the biggest arguments over books seem to be taking place in the country with the lowest rate of book readership in the Western world. Surely there is no other country where the prime minister speaks out about a chapter in a primary school textbook. Similarly there is no...

A society with a short-term memory

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OK, so everything is evidently back to normal: Supporters of different political parties are taking bus trips up and down the country to attend mass rallies; flags and banners adorn our streets and squares; the government is offering handouts in a bid to keep former supporters happy, and to...

The terrible price of our apathy

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The worst thing is that we will probably not learn anything from this disaster. We will continue to search for arsonists or for anarchists as more fires burn forests and more people die. We will condemn arsonists, the system, our «criminal society» in order to shirk our responsibilities. But...

Ministry guilty of repugnant sexism

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The new leaflet issued by the Transport and Communications Ministry specifically for women motorists is not only awfully sexist - it is makeshift and sloppy, both in concept and execution. The first question that springs to mind is: Why should authorities issue a leaflet specifically for women...

A Savonarola for our own times

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He appears on our television screens wearing a hood, looking like a medieval Franciscan monk. In fact, he even talks like Girolamo Savonarola: «There won't be any fish left in the sea. The rain forests and clean air will be a thing of the past. The polar ice caps will be gone, oceans will rise,...

Two-party system and a large state

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Certainly a simple proportional electoral system would free many voters from the grip of the two major political parties, enabling them to pick a party more suited to their own world views. The two major parties have become nothing but alliances of ideas and people and their cadres struggle with...

Makeshift solutions perpetuate our ills

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If we want to get to the root of all the ills of the past few days, we need only consider our national maxim: «Something will get us out of this mess.» This is what goes through our minds every time we are faced with seemingly impossible situations, whether these relate to the economy or the...

The eighth wonder of the world

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It is unclear exactly what the criteria were in the recent competition for the selection of the «new seven wonders of the world» - an online poll that attracted such worldwide interest. Was it the size of the monuments that influenced the vote? Was it how imposing those monuments were deemed to...

Solutions for power production

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One cannot really criticize the government's decision to cut short the hours worked by civil servants over the past few days. In fact, some have praised the initiative. In view of the current state of the Greek civil service, the less it operates, the better. That way, at least it spends less...

The medias abuse of a basic right

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The presumption of innocence until proven guilty applies everywhere. No democratic country withholds the names of those facing prosecution because everyone knows that it is one thing to be charged with something and quite another to be convicted. The principle according to which any citizen is...

No limits to police arbitrariness?

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Every time the issue of the arbitrariness of the police comes to the fore again, we learn new and interesting things. For example, when a special guard fired his service weapon into the air to warn off aggressive protesters earlier this year, we discovered that the Aegean Ministry - which he had...