English texts

Crime and (lack of) punishment

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Police officers misbehave now and again in all democratic countries. And they always have. The alleged beating of a Cypriot student by a group of policemen could have happened in the best of organized societies. And it has. Every power cell has certain dangerous elements within it that are...

Shelving reforms until re-election?

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There is a widespread notion that the government does not care about anything other than its re-election. According to this conviction, the government promotes or shelves reforms according to the prevailing social and political circumstances or the outcome it believes such a move will have on...

Easy myths about November 1973

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The anniversary of the 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic has become useful as a litany of convenient myths about the dictatorship. It has been said that it is the fate of every crucial turning point in history to be - literally - celebrated to death, to be interpreted so many times,...

A cavalier approach to legislative reform

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When US President Lyndon B. Johnson was still a senator, he voted down a piece of legislation which, under ideal circumstances, could have reaped many positive results for his country. The reason he gave for his negative vote was the following: «You do not examine legislation in the light of the...

A simplistic answer to a tough problem

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It seems that the idea was born during Antenna's television program «Apodeixeis» (Evidence), which broadcast footage of a soft-porn video recorded on a schoolchild's mobile phone just a few days ago. But banning mobiles in schools is the easy answer to the challenge of solving all those ills...

The ugly social ills simmering in Evia

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The deplorable case involving the rape of a 16-year-old girl, allegedly by a group of fellow pupils, at a school on Evia brings to the surface several ailments of Greek society, many of which we would prefer to sweep under the carpet. The case highlights, once again, the ills of the Greek...

Art and the limits of satire in Greece

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First of all it should be clarified that the citizen's right to peaceful protest is unconditional. And this applies to the comedy show of Jimmy Panousis in Greek theaters as much as it applies to sketches of Muhammad in a provincial Danish newspaper. In view of this, the protest staged by a group...

Teachers and state must change tactics

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It appears that the time has come for us to invent new methods of negotiation in the sphere of politics. Ministers and those teachers who follow their trade union leaders have first-hand knowledge of the fact that the tactic of strike action as a means of negotiation is ineffective. Everyone must...

The anxiety of the right-wing break

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It is a global rule that all governments are corrupted after exercising power for a certain period of time. Some administrations cause disappointment, others outrage or alienation. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a dramatic development may have a negative influence on a government but does...

The message of our low election turnout

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For a moment there was a bit of a democratic panic due to the low turnout in the Athens municipality during Sunday's local authority elections. There was no shortage of commentators bewailing the future of our democracy as rumors suggested an extremely low voter turnout across the country....

Simplistic science reports inaccurate

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Until recently, scientists were always sounding the alarm over one thing or another. They would warn us about the harmful effects of a range of consumer products, telling us that wine can lead to alcoholism, that passionate kissing transmits diseases, that spinach may be infected by E. coli...

A lax system with no backup plan

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The period between 1981 and 1990 was a happy one for Greeks - but for the wrong reasons. Instead of praising God for Greece's entry into what was then the European Economic Community - thanks to the strenuous efforts and smart political maneuvers of Constantine Karamanlis - we celebrated the...

Consumer choices keeping prices high

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Vouliagmenis Avenue in Athens is an interesting phenomenon for economists to study. It is the only road that comes to mind where neighboring gas stations can sell fuel at a 7-cent difference and not go bust. But it is the choices of the consumers who reward those who practice profiteering and...

A nation obsessed with corruption

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Once upon a time, everything in Greece was corrupt. Or at least that's how everything was dubbed. Corruption was the fashionable word and the term used to describe both legal and illicit business transactions with the state, relationships between journalists and politicians, the social ties...

Curbing prospects for corruption

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For years now, we have been faulting political parties for their partisanship. We keep wondering what kind of world this is where parties cannot lift themselves above partisan concerns, why they keep recruiting cadres indiscriminately and why their leaders - despite their good intentions - fail...

Broad violation of an absurd law

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November 2001 in Munich: German authorities arrest Islamists suspected of participating in al-Qaida attacks against the United States two months earlier. Despite the fact that the detentions are carried out at night, all the television channels have dispatched news teams to wait outside the...

Curb the state to tackle corruption

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It is true that corruption existed long before the current New Democracy administration came to power. And, unfortunately, it appears all too evident that it will exist again when ND eventually leaves power. But this is not the fundamental problem. More worrying than that are the explanations...

Time to change the way we tackle vice

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What does the Gospel teach us about corruption? First of all, that it crops up in even the best of families. Let us consider the time when, according to the Bible, Christ was betrayed by Judas. If one of the 12 disciples, who were friends with the holiest individual in history, turned out to be...

The quest for virtue versus self-interest

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It seems that one of Greek society's most steadfast demands is for some virtue in public administration. We would like to have virtuous politicians, honorable civil servants, even selfless voters. But this is a romantic idea. We seem to hope to create a «community of angels» in which citizens...

Curbing corruption in public life

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The greatest weapon against corruption is probably transparency. When citizens are aware of how public finances are being spent, there is a significant reduction in the squandering of public money. This is why we have the Government Gazette, which records all the decisions and activities of the...

Airing sentiment at the expense of facts

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Last Sunday, Greek television channels fought for ratings in their 8 p.m. news bulletins. The predominant - and virtually exclusive - subject of these bulletins was the defeat of the Greek national basketball team by Spain in the world championship final. All the major channels aired the cliche...