Be­trayed dreams

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

A key politi­cian in the cur­rent Greek ad­min­is­tra­tion vis­ited a lead­ing in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion while his party was still in the op­po­si­tion. The aim of the visit was to talk about Greece and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s sec­ond in com­mand. When the meet­ing ended the politi­cian met with a few of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Greek mem­bers of staff. They asked him how the dis­cus­sion went and he avoided giv­ing a straight an­swer, pos­ing a key ques­tion in­stead: “Tell me, how many peo­ple could a gov­ern­ment ap­point or trans­fer to this or­ga­ni­za­tion?” The staff burst out laugh­ing, aware of the fact that no­body could ever en­ter such an or­ga­ni­za­tion with­out pass­ing tough tests and even if they did man­age to get in through the back door, they would be un­able to sur­vive as the sys­tem would re­ject them for their fail­ings. Un­for­tu­nately, Greek politi­cians’ DNA never changes – give or take very few ex­cep­tions. Whether young or old, left­ists or right­ists, their mind is al­ways rac­ing to ap­point­ments and po­lit­i­cal fa­vors. I’m an avid reader of an­nounce­ments and the Gov­ern­ment Gazette re­gard­ing var­i­ous ap­point­ments made by Alexis Tsipras’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. The CVs point to an ob­vi­ous lack of qual­i­fi­ca­tions and con­sid­er­able con­fu­sion. I re­mem­ber Tsipras ad­dress­ing the crowds in the Athens Univer­sity fore­court on the night of his first elec­tion vic­tory and promis­ing that ev­ery young per­son with the right qual­i­fi­ca­tions would be able to find a job. What a con­trast be­tween that dec­la­ra­tion and the sys­tem­atic ap­point­ments of friends and rel­a­tives. Of course he is hardly the first or the last per­son to act in this way. Cer­tainly there were cases of raving nepo­tism dur­ing the ten­ure of pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments, even af­ter the cri­sis erupted. Den­tists were ap­pointed as heads of de­fense in­dus­tries while sports train­ers were des­ig­nated to man­age hos­pi­tals. But let’s not kid our­selves that the old ways have ended and that the new is tak­ing over. Cor­rup­tion is not dead, it is sim­ply re­cy­cled. A lot of young peo­ple be­lieved Tsipras rep­re­sented some­thing very dif­fer­ent. For the time be­ing they con­tinue to do so, be­cause they are re­pelled by the old sys­tem and they do not wish to ad­mit they are wrong. Oth­ers be­come so des­per­ate that they go in search of greener pas­tures abroad. Given the skyrocketing rate of youth un­em­ploy­ment and the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of be­trayed dreams, the pow­der keg could ex­plode.

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