English texts

Woes and benefits of having quarries

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The truth is that nobody wants quarries in their neighborhood. Every local authority is quite justified in objecting to quarry works in its area. Besides, it is well known that every inch of Greek earth is «beautiful land» of «inestimable environmental value» upon which some third cousin or maybe...

Our selective rage at warmongers

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If Israel was not a US ally, who would left-wing demonstrators in Greece have as a target for their protests? What statues would they knock down in an expression of their rage? Or if Israel's military operations were interpreted as an attempt to overturn the «New World Order,» would there be any...

Taxes and handouts

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George Bernard Shaw once said that a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul's support. He left it to us to imagine what Peter's reaction might be. The same thing applies to a government which raises taxes while announcing it will be hiring rural policemen. It might be...

Operating on the edge

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Some time ago, a bank commercial on TV showed a couple enjoying a romantic boat trip. Suddenly, the boat sprang a leak. Alarmed, the man tried to plug the hole, but his efforts were in vain. Soon, the boat was taking in water everywhere. This advertisement reflects the Greek economy. While we...

The US toolbox for democracy

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If we want to describe the policy of the Bush administration in the Middle East, we need simply to invoke the words of the great British statesman Benjamin Disraeli: «He only had one idea, and that was wrong.» The plan of the neo-conservatives in Washington seemed simple, but essentially it was...

Loud but simplistic criticism of the war

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The voices protesting the passivity of the international community toward the ongoing slaughter in Lebanon are multiplying. In this country, every now and again, an opinion maker will ask, «Where is the international community hiding at this crucial time?» But no one clarifies what this...

An unnecessary police force

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In a country where we cannot even hire enough doctors and nurses to meet our most pressing needs, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras has heralded the recruitment of rural police officers with «environmental responsibilities.» This would be a nice idea in a country like Luxembourg which has a...

The pros and cons of decentralization

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In the past, one of the most pressing demands of Greek society was decentralization and academic institutions proved to be an effective tool for implementing this goal. The institutions contributed to the economic and social development of many regions. Those familiar with provincial towns before...

The cost of a gray economy

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The findings of a recent Eurobarometer poll, published in Thursday's Kathimerini, are disturbing. They are troubling not so much because they reveal the pessimism of most Greeks regarding the fate of their country and their restrained optimism about their personal future. It is the contrast...

A reliable system of assessing education

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Discussions with academics on the subject of evaluation within the university system make one thing extremely clear: that no one appears to know exactly what this is. Most seem to visualize the return of the foreboding inspector sitting at the back of the class and assessing the professors'...

The willing victims of profiteering?

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According to the unspoken consensus of TV news bulletins, the country is divided into two groups: a minority of profiteers and the broader public evidently victimized by the former. Even so, we can see that there is something rather illogical about it all. Successful profiteers also require...

The states failure to protect its citizens

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There is an unwritten contract in our everyday life that dictates a certain sense of responsibility opposite our fellow citizens: that, for example, a motorist will apply the brakes when a pedestrian is crossing the road, or that a resident of a third-floor apartment will not throw a heavy...

Inequality in cases of life or death?

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State television broadcast a very interesting documentary on Sunday about the private ambulance firms operating here now. Some businessmen have decided to exploit the gaps left in the market by the National First Aid Center (EKAB) by transferring patients in specially equipped vehicles for 60...

Are education talks doomed to failure?

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Those who doubt whether the government will actually make the fall deadline the government has set for implementing reforms in the education sector are quite on the mark. Even the title of the proposed changes, «Draft proposal for changes to the institutional framework for the infrastructure and...

Passive approach to education in Greece

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If someone wants to understand the afflictions of our education system, one need only look at the example of the Open University. Greece's Open University is a recently established institution which may not have the history of other higher education institutions but, one presumes, it isn't...

The unfair lot of Greeces students

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There is a photograph, taken during the students' protests in France in March, with a very interesting detail. It shows a student addressing the crowds from an elevated podium. But the background of the photo is not at all reminiscent of a university environment, certainly not as we know it in...

A bleak outlook for progress on Cyprus

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There are many obstacles for Turkey to overcome as it heads toward European Union accession. Cyprus is just one of these problems. But this problem is not Turkey's invasion and occupation of Cyprus, something which seems so long ago that it is rarely discussed at length in modern Cypriot politics...

The risks of laxness in the prison sector

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The truth is that if the guards at Korydallos prison had fired at the convict Vassilis Palaiocostas and another inmate as they made their escape aboard a helicopter and the craft's fuel tank had been hit (a likely scenario, according to the president of the guards' union), then those ranting on...

The risk of avoiding problem solving

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The conservatives' stance on solving problems is quite simple - namely, that something should be done, but not now. It is based upon the hope that problems will eventually go away. Essentially, it seeks to avoid taking any risks. But risks exist around every corner. And the solution to any...

The illogical stance of university staff

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Back when Archbishop Christodoulos used to pay social visits to the country's schools, he told a joke that is particularly relevant to educators today. «God visited a multiethnic agricultural community and granted each farmer a wish. The German asked for a horse, the Frenchman for a cow, the...

The fear syndrome doesnt suit Greeks

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Speaking about Gulbeyaz Karahasan - Greek Muslim PASOK nominee for the Drama-Kavala-Xanthi prefecture in the October polls - Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis chose to emphasize one particular word: fear. According to reports, Psomiadis said: «In our country we are afraid to say we are...