English texts

The dean and the doily, a Greek farce

on . Posted in English texts

Yale University President Richard Levin gave a very interesting interview to the Greek press on Tuesday, during which he explained the necessity for globalizing the education sector. Levin said educational institutions must change their curricula to reflect the changes in the world today, while...

The end of the world is nigh

on . Posted in English texts

According to recent reports in the Greek media, Washington is not at all enamored by Greece's energy deal with Russia, after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and President Vladimir Putin signed an agreement for the South Stream natural gas pipeline earlier this week. In fact, reports from...

Slapdash comedy and Greek myths

on . Posted in English texts

The strange thing isn't the revival of myths about Henry Kissinger and the Greek language referred to by Pantelis Boukalas (commentary of April 15 in Kathimerini). What is even stranger is the ease with which they are revived, not only in coffee houses but in the major media, and even in...

Protection for the Olympic Flame

on . Posted in English texts

If we were to take to the letter the government spokesman's statement that protests against China's occupation of Tibet go against the spirit of the Olympic Games, we would also have to ask the following question: Is it in accordance with the Olympic spirit for the Greek Olympic Committee and the...

Inequalities and poverty

on . Posted in English texts

Now that the battle over pension reform is over, it is time to think what has been won and what has been lost on an individual as well as a collective level. First of all, we should repeat the obvious: There is no solution to Greece's social security problem. Not because of workers' reactions or...

Free of constraints, cyberspace hosts liveliest dialogue in Greece

on . Posted in English texts

Naturally enough, the Greek blogosphere to a large extent mirrors Greek society, with its ideological perceptions, fixations and phobias. Yet among all the rehashing of the politically, socially and nationally correct, there are valuable perceptions to be found. Blogs are able to highlight a...

Rights, the Church and prostitution

on . Posted in English texts

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?

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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

on . Posted in English texts

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?

on . Posted in English texts

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,...