English texts

A cry that will not reach our ears

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July 11, 1995. Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic enters Srebrenica, a UN-protected Muslim enclave. He turns to the camera of the Serbian television channel and makes a patriotic declaration: «Here we are in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. On the eve of yet another great Serb holiday. We present...

Squeaky wheel gets the oil

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We often argue that politicians do not address the real issues, that they spend their time sparring and forming alliances, and that, overall, strong stances are lacking from politics. This is true - sometimes. Except that often when politicians do state their positions, no one pays attention,...

Babbling in the dark

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There's a military joke that did the rounds a few years ago. An officer sent a scout to spy on enemy troops. He returned panting and reported, «There are 503 soldiers coming this way.» «How could you possibly count them?» asked the officer. «There were three in front and about 500 behind,» the...

The slippery road to neoconservatism

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When the Greek people gave their mandate for reforms in 2004, the government failed to take action. Now, in 2007, after Greeks voted more conservatively, the government has started visibly regressing. The first sign of this retrogression is the withdrawal of a controversial sixth-grade history...

Was a stay order given?

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Statements made by New Democracy party members on Sunday night show a common interpretation of the election results: Greeks voted for ND because the prime minister is constantly thinking about reforms. He doesn't necessarily go ahead with them, but he's thinking about them. And the new mandate is...

The problem with our schoolbooks

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It may seem strange, but the biggest arguments over books seem to be taking place in the country with the lowest rate of book readership in the Western world. Surely there is no other country where the prime minister speaks out about a chapter in a primary school textbook. Similarly there is no...

A society with a short-term memory

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OK, so everything is evidently back to normal: Supporters of different political parties are taking bus trips up and down the country to attend mass rallies; flags and banners adorn our streets and squares; the government is offering handouts in a bid to keep former supporters happy, and to...

The terrible price of our apathy

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The worst thing is that we will probably not learn anything from this disaster. We will continue to search for arsonists or for anarchists as more fires burn forests and more people die. We will condemn arsonists, the system, our «criminal society» in order to shirk our responsibilities. But...

Ministry guilty of repugnant sexism

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The new leaflet issued by the Transport and Communications Ministry specifically for women motorists is not only awfully sexist - it is makeshift and sloppy, both in concept and execution. The first question that springs to mind is: Why should authorities issue a leaflet specifically for women...

A Savonarola for our own times

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He appears on our television screens wearing a hood, looking like a medieval Franciscan monk. In fact, he even talks like Girolamo Savonarola: «There won't be any fish left in the sea. The rain forests and clean air will be a thing of the past. The polar ice caps will be gone, oceans will rise,...

Two-party system and a large state

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Certainly a simple proportional electoral system would free many voters from the grip of the two major political parties, enabling them to pick a party more suited to their own world views. The two major parties have become nothing but alliances of ideas and people and their cadres struggle with...

Makeshift solutions perpetuate our ills

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If we want to get to the root of all the ills of the past few days, we need only consider our national maxim: «Something will get us out of this mess.» This is what goes through our minds every time we are faced with seemingly impossible situations, whether these relate to the economy or the...

The eighth wonder of the world

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It is unclear exactly what the criteria were in the recent competition for the selection of the «new seven wonders of the world» - an online poll that attracted such worldwide interest. Was it the size of the monuments that influenced the vote? Was it how imposing those monuments were deemed to...

Solutions for power production

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One cannot really criticize the government's decision to cut short the hours worked by civil servants over the past few days. In fact, some have praised the initiative. In view of the current state of the Greek civil service, the less it operates, the better. That way, at least it spends less...

The medias abuse of a basic right

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The presumption of innocence until proven guilty applies everywhere. No democratic country withholds the names of those facing prosecution because everyone knows that it is one thing to be charged with something and quite another to be convicted. The principle according to which any citizen is...

No limits to police arbitrariness?

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Every time the issue of the arbitrariness of the police comes to the fore again, we learn new and interesting things. For example, when a special guard fired his service weapon into the air to warn off aggressive protesters earlier this year, we discovered that the Aegean Ministry - which he had...

The same excess, but in reverse

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The score of last Saturday's soccer game between the Greek and Turkish national teams, which upset so many people here in Greece, was not something to be ashamed of. It is the nature of soccer, and other games, to sometimes bring us joy and sometimes sorrow. What was shameful was the way that our...

The polices lies help no one

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The protest against the education bill in Athens last Thursday was marred by a regrettable incident. A police officer fired his gun into the air to disperse a group of protesters who had been causing damage to the Ministry of the Aegean. But what was worse than the actual firing of the shot was...

Evolution or just a confusion of ideas?

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During the visit to Athens last May by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Greek Communist Party (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli made televised remarks criticizing the country's journalists. Virtually all prominent Greek reporters secured an interview with the visiting US politician but no one...

Multiple failings of our health system

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In Greece the health and social welfare system has multiple failings. It funds its own bureaucracy excessively and underfunds the needs of sick citizens. It is illogically and inefficiently organized: I cannot imagine that there is any other country where fundamental medical care is provided by...

Averting violence is the job of the police

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In an interview with Skai Radio on Monday, Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos raged against «social hypocrisy.» Where were all those who now blame the government for a non-existent welfare policy when a 57-year-old man was murdered by his 19-year-old son in Nikaia, he exclaimed? Why...