For weeks now this scandal has been capturing the Greek minds. It seemingly started out as a tabloid-worthy sex affair between aging high-ranking male employer and young female collaborator, something not likely to turn many Greek heads. Then it got uglier. Then more uglier, and morer uglier even. Now the international press has gotten air of it.
First was Reuters International who ran a feature article on February 10. That was quickly picked up by the Washington Post, Reuters UK, International Herald Tribune, U.S. Daily, Swissinfo, Canada.com, National Post of Canada, Financial Mirror Cyprus and ABC Online Australia. And that’s just the major English-language news outlets. On the Wide Wild Web there are now more than 130 sites running the same copy. For a short summary of this soap opera turned political disaster, go read the Reuters article, it will give you the perspective that I couldn’t.
Political analysts say the affair has turned the spotlight on all of Greece’s ills – nepotism, widespread corruption in politics and the press, sexism and lack of opportunity for qualified young people with no connections.
The ruling ND party (conservative) is under heavy fire, not in the least coming from the opposition PASOK party (socialist) who all of a sudden are holier than the pope himself and going about the affair as if they themselves were not the ones that for 20 years stuffed practically every public office is Greece with friends and family and family of friends and friends of family, competence and fitness-for-the-job be damned.
Hopefully this international attention will change something for the better in this country, and if it does, may I suggest that the international press focuses its attention on the restoration of the cindered forests that resulted from the weeks long blazes in August-September last year? I have an uneasy feeling the handling of that by “the competent offices” [sic] could do with some scrutiny too, before the real-estate sharks and concrete mafia put us all for a fait accompli.
Before anyone thinks that I’m growing awfully bitter and critical about my self-chosen country, I’m not. I’m too old not to realize that there are leeches and profiteers, corrupters and corruptibles everywhere. Greece is a relatively young country, one that was bootstrapped into the modern times without much of a prep school like most other countries in western Europe. It’s geographical isolation before 1989 and high linguistic barrier made the socio-political ideas that where making the rounds elsewhere inaccessible to its broad population. For centuries they had lived under a feudal system where nepotism and profiteering were a way to survive.
In psychological development terms Greece is still in its infancy. It’s still struggling with the loss of its feudal milk teeth. As an infant it is self-centered, irresponsible, greedy, inconsiderate, impulsive, ruthless. As an infant it also makes you laugh, and weep, and smile, it can warm your heart in depressed moments, and give you simple answers to complicated questions. Admittedly, it’s taking its time to fool around without showing much progress. But it will grow, wise up, mature in its own time. If you think it is a terrible child now, just wait until it gets into its puberty phase! But it will grow through that as well, shedding its inferiority and developing its real identity. My concern is that — without parental guidance — by the time it gets there the damage might be done irreparably, that there might be not much left of what was once a paradise… I’m still hoping though…