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In between crime and punishment an arrest at last!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-04-12 07:25:52
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For more than half a century Greece has suffered from a corrupted minority including a lot of politicians and their corruption has become so obvious the last thirty years that even the mafia pales in front of them. It was a common secret for years that the state’s budget was loaded with bribes since the companies never pay the bribes themselves; they add them to the final invoice. After all the responsible to sign was the reception of the bribe. And for decades these few made the crime again and again without any of them having to pay, covered behind laws they legislate to protect themselves and favours in exchange.

For decades they stored debts of billions and when the final bill came they were expecting the people to pay unmurmuring. But the murmur came and soon it became anger and it ended to a demand. Somebody had to pay. Enough covering criminals like a thief’s guild. For most of the Greek politicians to serve a country became a very profitable career that could even become family business. People who started with absolutely nothing found themselves with billions and no excuses creating a cast of their own. And politics for decades had become the most profitable money-laundering business in Greece. I’m actually proud to know and befriended with the poorest politician in the Greek parliament. Imagine how low the situation for the Greek politicians have become to consider hero the poorest politician in the Greek parliament acknowledging as a fact that politicians become rich through their service.

The thing is that it was not only the fact that you had generations of corrupted politicians – nepotism goes even to corruption – but that it became socially acceptable. People voted for politicians knowing and accepting that they are corrupted hoping that they would have some kind of decency not to stop but to share their profits making them their accomplice. We are talking about a seriously ill society. But as I said, the bill came and it was a bitter and very painful feeling bringing a whole nation into desperation and building up anger to explosive limits. And then there was an arrest. I think that only the fact that somebody, actually somebody of the first row of Greek politicians with past in ministerial seats and candidate for the seat of the president of the socialist party a few years ago was arrested from the police with accusations like corruption and money laundering.

Former Defence Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was arrested having a lot of stories in his back most of them the period he was leading the defence ministry and was responsible for the defence supplies. And when we are talking about defence supplies we are talking about gigantic budgets that include billions in fighter planes, tanks and other hardware. Most of all we are talking about bribes in millions of Euros. Of course Mr. Tsochatzopoulos rejects all accusations pointing that the whole thing is a “pre-election gift” for his former party and the opposition conservative New Democracy and unfortunately he has a point. The point is that he might work as a scapegoat to steam the people’s anger showing that both parties are ready to punish the guilt and clean up their act.

Mr. Tsochatzopoulos is probably guilty to all accusations and probably to many others the last thirty years he is in leading positions but the same time his arrest serves as a scapegoat to a political system that is ill and needs some kind of change. A political system that has too many Tsochatzopoulos and they just happy to let the crowd voice their anger with a lynch and in this case with Tsochatzopoulos lynch. And then what? Will this erase people’s anger? Will this stop politicians bribing or return faith to their service?

If the political system in Greece including political parties, government and judicial system want to prove that they are willing to change something under any cost then Mr. Tsochatzopoulos must be only the beginning of a very long road with a lot of arrests and mainly punishments otherwise between the crime and the punishment will remain an empty arrest wit the next bribed politician just round the corner.

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Eva2012-04-12 09:46:34
It will be very interesting to see what happens in the Greek elections in May. As an outsider I'm surprised that the "old school" politicians haven't yet all been kicked out of politics. How "refreshing" though that a Greek politician is finally being held accountable for his actions. I hope this will mark a change for the Greek future.

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