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How corruption in Greece works...
by Christos Mouzeviris
2011-04-25 10:42:21
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With the recent developments in Greece, the global media rushed in condemning the country painting their own picture of the situation in Greece. Apart the fact that we must examine the interests and the nationality of the journalists who wrote about Greece, I will also add that there is a smear campaign by the predominantly "AngloAmerican" media for all southern European states (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). The naming of those nations as "PIGS", is not only humiliating, unfair and outrageous, but it also created a deep division between the European states, that could become a real life slander and follow the reputation of those nations forever. It clearly seeks to portray their way of life and thinking as inferior, while the northern "Anglosaxon" way as the ideal.

Make no mistake, there is corruption in Greece, and in fact I myself do not consider Greece a fully democratic country. It is in my opinion an oligarchy of a corrupt elite that was established with the help of the Western Powers after WW2 and the Greek Civil War. And it is that elite that is hindering all progress and development in Greece, perhaps serving the wishes of those powers who helped them become established or perhaps because they do not simply want to let go of power and allow the country to blossom and become a rich European state. But who want a rich and powerful in the Balkans, a region so important and strategic? If you have a look at what happened in ex-Yugoslavia, a country far more richer and ready to join EU fulfilling all entry criteria as one state, than Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal or Bulgaria and Romania had when they joined. But if we point the finger in those southern European countries, then if we want to be fair, so we should for Belgium, France, Ireland and Luxembourg that have similar problems.

Greece has an educated, multilingual youth that abandons the country and thrive in all other European or non European states that they find their new home. It has a very important geopolitical position and many natural resources that if exploited, they could transform the country in one of the richest of Europe. Many have said that the Greeks are lazy to work and they prefer the customer service industries like hospitality and catering. Well if we take into account the thousand of Greeks in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and other countries that work in factories and other industries that argument sounds vague. If there were any factories in Greece, make no mistake the Greeks would work in them. They are a hard working race of people that blossom and prosper in any other country that they migrate to. Another argument against Greece was that many civil servants can take their pension at the age of forty something. Many Europeans thought that that was outrageous, and another sign of the Greek laziness. Well if anyone in Europe had the opportunity to do the same, wouldn't he/she have taken it and did the same? It is not the people who are on the wrong, it is the system! Why Greeks abroad are law abiding citizens in their majority and they prosper, while in Greece they end up being sluggish and slow to change and adapt.

Other arguments that were written mentioned about the Greek civil servant's absenteeism. If I compare this with the situation I see in Ireland, when many of my colleagues "pull a sickie" every time they drink too much over the weekend or each time they can not have the holidays that they want, then I do not see how Greece is only on the spot light for this. I do not agree with it, and I do not approve it. But it is not only a Greek trend. The hardest criticism was on the tax evading of the citizens in Greece. It is partly true, but you have to take into consideration the red tape that exists in Greece. Sometimes it is so hard to deal with the Revenue, time consuming, complicated and in some cases expensive, with so many forms to fill and fees to pay. Recently the Greek public has the opportunity on doing their dealings with the revenue online, but with poor internet reception and speed and lack of promotion for this new service, is there any wonder that is still not as popular as in other countries? I will also mention the lower wages in Greece comparing with other Eurozone member states, that leads many Greeks in working in the "black employment market", with no paying taxes or in insurance and pension funds, just so they can get higher wages.

There is also a natural mistrust and resentment of the Greek public towards their Government. And how couldn't it be so? When they read about so many scandals and abuses of the national assets and public money by each Government, what example do they receive by their ruling elite? "The fish smells from its head" a Greek saying is telling us, and that is the truth. In other words, it is our Government and ruling elite that is corrupt and the corruption goes down to the very last citizen. But how can't you become part of this system? When you study for years and you get lots of qualifications, but there are not jobs, institutions or industries that you find a job and start a career in the subject that you studied and you loved..When you got all the right qualifications but you see others to fill up positions with no qualifications just because they know the right people in the right place...When the only way to deal successfully with most public services is to bride its officials even the ones high in the hierarchy..While if you law abiding and pay your taxes, you see the rich elite evading theirs..When there are no jobs created in the state, so the only option for a secure and stable career is to get into the public sector?

So you see it is the system that is wrong and needs to be changed. But who can lead and initiate those necessary changes? I thought that the EU would, and that is why I have always supported it. But unfortunately if the big powers of EU allow it to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, that would mean that they must allow it to interfere with theirs. I petty much doubt that Britain, France and Germany would like that. The Greek Government? Well it is them that want the system to remain as such, so they will continue reign Greece with their corrupt and outdated practices and remain in power and keep their wealth. The people of Greece? With so much brainwashing and propaganda going on since the years of the "Metapolitefsi", (The re-establishment of democracy in the country after the junta during the '70s) in order to keep the country stable and pro-Western, is there any wonder that they feel so disoriented and lacking any real motivation? If we add the systematic "moronization" of the public that is taking place in all "Western" countries to keep the current status quo in the Euro-Atlantic hemisphere and in the world I do not have much hope. Our leaders, especially the ones of an old nation such as Greece, had centuries and milenia in perfecting their art of public opinion manipulation. And Greece had to endure the Byzantine and the Ottoman imperial regimes, both very efficient and brutal in many cases in suppressing any dissidents from within.

What needs to be done is a revolution the North African style. The Arabs are showing us the way once again, just as they did years ago when Europe was deep in the Middle Ages and they studied the Ancient Greek scripts, they preserved them and developed their own sciences. Now once again we need to realize that if we want a real change in Europe, it will have to come with a drastic way. I really wish my fellow Greeks would stop going to the political offices of their local TDs or MPs to beg for a nice job in the public sector for their son or daughter, and go there to demand for a school, a hospital, new parks, jobs and industries. Start contacting their leaders with no fear and demand a change. Be active and responsible citizens. Vote for different parties than their "family traditional" ones. Even take the initiative of creating new ones of their own! We got to realize that the corrupt elite wants us to live in the current "Matrix" they have created, they want us to accept the current status quo. Will we live with is, and for how much longer?

How can we achieve all the above? How can we end the corruption that is established in a nation over the centuries or milenia of its existence? Well definitely not by calling them PIGS.!! I have hopes, that the change must come in a pan-European level, because the corruption is not only rooted in the southern and eastern European countries. It is indeed in all countries, but in the case of the Northwestern ones, it is masked by the press releases. What better way for Britain to cover their own corruption than to underline the corruption and failings of other countries for example? In fact rich countries of Europe ensure that others remain poorer and corrupt, so they can retain their power and wealth. We need to shake up the current political establishment in Europe by giving more power to the European Parliament and allowing the blossoming of new pan-European parties. We need to be active citizens in a national and a European level. And we need to start doing it now!

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