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Rights, the Church and prostitution

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What is all the fuss about the Holy Synod's opposition to the cohabitation bill? After all, the Church has clearly stated that any relationship which it has not sanctified is tantamount to «prostitution.» And to be fair to the bishops, according to Christian teachings in general, erotic...

Time to find a different banker?

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Workers are protesting - many of them justifiably - about the way in which the government has managed the reserves of their social security funds. They are complaining that their money was used to bankroll development (when they were forced to deposit it in banks without earning interest), that...

The media truck is out of control

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About a month ago, the news was dominated by the Christos Zachopoulos case. Today it has all but disappeared. I don't know if this means anything for the case, but it does say a lot about television bulletins. Fifteen years ago, the head of opposition PASOK was commonly referred to as «just a...

The asylum of the fittest

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University deans from all across Greece met in the northern city of Komotini last weekend to discuss the higher education bill. Fearful of an onslaught from leftist youth groups, they decided to convene at a local hotel rather than in any university boardroom. The usual scenes unfolded outside...

The debasement of public discourse

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Nothing is strange about the fact that a handful of people spread gossip and rumor via the press-gr blog. What is strange is how many people took this blog seriously. There are good blogs and bad blogs all over the world, but Greece is the only country where these are thrown into the same pot and...

Global warming and divine will

on . Posted in English texts

A religious believer has a simple explanation for everything. When things are going well, then it's just a matter of «divine will.» When disaster strikes, then «God is simply testing our faith.» It's common belief among all religions that they don't need to prove their claims. All manifestations...

Big scandals and little scandals

on . Posted in English texts

Two things have been proven by the Zachopoulos affair. First is the immunity of Greeks to scandals, which have been classified into those that are huge and those that are no big deal. The manner in which funds are managed at the Ministry of Culture - a scandal shared by both major parties - falls...

Slender majorities and rule of inertia

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The premature end of the conservative administration under Constantine Mitsotakis in 1993 did much damage to PASOK. For the short-lived tenure of the New Democracy government bred arrogance among Socialist officials who scorned what is commonly referred to as the «brief interval.» No sooner had...

Distortions in the production of Greek books

on . Posted in English texts

Umberto Eco once wrote that the only question that visitors to his library ever asked was «Have you read all these books?» In Greece the question should be tweaked to «Who reads all these books?» Figures from the National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI) reveal that in 2006 alone 9,209 titles were...

The question of a third political pole

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We are hearing a lot of talk about the need for a third pole in politics, for a party that will stand on an equal footing with the center-right New Democracy (ND) and socialist PASOK. Of course this is not the first time we have heard this argument - in fact, we hear it every time the two main...

A feeble plan for state management

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We just don't know what's worse anymore - the fact that the government is trying to pretend that nothing has happened, or the public's certainty that nothing will be done and that the Christos Zachopoulos affair is just another scandal that will be swept under the rug. Two suicide attempts, a...

God saved us, from quake and state

on . Posted in English texts

The head of the Athens Geodynamic Institute, Giorgos Stavrakakis, believes that the «God looking over Greece saved the country» by putting the epicenter of Sunday's earthquake at a depth of 70 kilometers. The question, though, is what is the role of Greeks in this country? Because anyone wanting...

Reforms require greater trust

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The previous government had an excuse - in its first four-year term, it was faced with the difficult job of getting the country into the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It needed the social security fund reserves to make up the numbers, with the result that any thoughts of reforming the system...

News from the corruption front

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Great. We can rest easy now that the newly founded rural police force has spent 100,000 euros on «confidential expenses.» The war against corruption, launched in 2004, is bearing fruit, because we can be certain that these secret funds were spent on paying informers for tips on corruption in the...

Who drove Olympic to bankruptcy?

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The accounts of Olympic Airlines unionists concerning the activities of the political leadership that led in part to the company's financial demise are true. Of course they didn't give us the full story, because the politicians' decisions often entailed special privileges for OA workers. But,...

The monster begins to resemble us

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We were all shocked when we learned about a neo-Nazi group attacking immigrants in Germany. «The beast has reared its ugly head,» warned some newspaper headlines. But the most important thing is that the German people were shocked as well and they raised their voices, demanding that the guilty...

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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,...