English texts

The right to want, or reject, cremation

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Until now, we had been fighting for the separation of the Orthodox Church from the state. In the future, it looks as if we are going to be fighting for the opposite. At least, this is the only conclusion one can draw from the debate about the cremation of the dead that has followed a decision by...

The time is ripe for general elections

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Eventually the whispers and the speculation became a reality. Following Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's declaration that «elections will be held when appropriate,» the only thing that remains to be clarified is when exactly this is to be, in May or in the fall? Opinion polls will no doubt help...

Clear messages of public disapproval

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The results of an opinion poll published in last Sunday's Kathimerini reveal some very important messages which are quite clear and indisputable. For example, an overwhelming majority of the Greek public (99 percent) believes that destroying public property and going on destructive rampages are...

The dangers of living in the past

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The Americans have a saying: «If it ain't broke, don't fix it.» It would be useful if we were to apply this to the Greek state, which has hardly proved itself to be a paragon of efficiency. One of the few state services which was actually successful was the Greek police's anti-terrorism unit,...

A black hole in law and order

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In Greece there is the rule of law. This means that, ostensibly, laws are enforced and violations invite punishment. But all this is theoretical. Apart from the problems linked to the dispensation of justice, in some areas law enforcement is actually seen as a deviation from democracy. The laws...

The challenges OTE faces in a new era

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Unfortunately, it looks as if the debate about the privatization of state telecommunications operator OTE will go the way of the review of Article 16 of the Constitution, which foresees the creation of private universities. The public debate about OTE has become trapped in all-too-familiar...

The chaos theory in full effect

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Do we really know what is going on at our ports? If we believe what various representatives of our production sectors have been saying, then we should be very worried indeed. This is not only because of the 15-20 percent price hikes on goods that the current situation is likely to provoke by...

The dream of a Christian Europe

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We were justifiably cheered by Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey and his acknowledgement of the ecumenical nature of the Istanbul-based Orthodox Patriarchate. But we should not forget that these gestures are nothing more than a means for the pope to achieve an ambition he had when still...

Protectionism a major problem

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One conclusion can be drawn from the survey, cited on this page, by GSEE's Labor Institute: The more jobs are protected, the higher the unemployment rate will rise. In Greece, the privileges of specific professional groups are protected at all cost. As a result, the country has the highest...

Crime and (lack of) punishment

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Police officers misbehave now and again in all democratic countries. And they always have. The alleged beating of a Cypriot student by a group of policemen could have happened in the best of organized societies. And it has. Every power cell has certain dangerous elements within it that are...

Shelving reforms until re-election?

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There is a widespread notion that the government does not care about anything other than its re-election. According to this conviction, the government promotes or shelves reforms according to the prevailing social and political circumstances or the outcome it believes such a move will have on...

Easy myths about November 1973

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The anniversary of the 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic has become useful as a litany of convenient myths about the dictatorship. It has been said that it is the fate of every crucial turning point in history to be - literally - celebrated to death, to be interpreted so many times,...

A cavalier approach to legislative reform

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When US President Lyndon B. Johnson was still a senator, he voted down a piece of legislation which, under ideal circumstances, could have reaped many positive results for his country. The reason he gave for his negative vote was the following: «You do not examine legislation in the light of the...

A simplistic answer to a tough problem

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It seems that the idea was born during Antenna's television program «Apodeixeis» (Evidence), which broadcast footage of a soft-porn video recorded on a schoolchild's mobile phone just a few days ago. But banning mobiles in schools is the easy answer to the challenge of solving all those ills...

The ugly social ills simmering in Evia

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The deplorable case involving the rape of a 16-year-old girl, allegedly by a group of fellow pupils, at a school on Evia brings to the surface several ailments of Greek society, many of which we would prefer to sweep under the carpet. The case highlights, once again, the ills of the Greek...

Art and the limits of satire in Greece

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First of all it should be clarified that the citizen's right to peaceful protest is unconditional. And this applies to the comedy show of Jimmy Panousis in Greek theaters as much as it applies to sketches of Muhammad in a provincial Danish newspaper. In view of this, the protest staged by a group...

Teachers and state must change tactics

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It appears that the time has come for us to invent new methods of negotiation in the sphere of politics. Ministers and those teachers who follow their trade union leaders have first-hand knowledge of the fact that the tactic of strike action as a means of negotiation is ineffective. Everyone must...

The anxiety of the right-wing break

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It is a global rule that all governments are corrupted after exercising power for a certain period of time. Some administrations cause disappointment, others outrage or alienation. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a dramatic development may have a negative influence on a government but does...

The message of our low election turnout

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For a moment there was a bit of a democratic panic due to the low turnout in the Athens municipality during Sunday's local authority elections. There was no shortage of commentators bewailing the future of our democracy as rumors suggested an extremely low voter turnout across the country....

Simplistic science reports inaccurate

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Until recently, scientists were always sounding the alarm over one thing or another. They would warn us about the harmful effects of a range of consumer products, telling us that wine can lead to alcoholism, that passionate kissing transmits diseases, that spinach may be infected by E. coli...

A lax system with no backup plan

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The period between 1981 and 1990 was a happy one for Greeks - but for the wrong reasons. Instead of praising God for Greece's entry into what was then the European Economic Community - thanks to the strenuous efforts and smart political maneuvers of Constantine Karamanlis - we celebrated the...