Why can’t we hold the ‘deep state’ to ac­count?

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY MARIA KATSOUNAKI

There is a so-called “deep state” in Greece that op­er­ates to the knowl­edge and with the tol­er­ance of the of­fi­cial state. There is noth­ing new about this ob­ser­va­tion; ev­ery­one is aware of it. Here we will ad­dress two ex­am­ples of this “deep state.” The first con­cerns the law­less­ness that has been al­lowed to pre­vail on the grounds of the historic Athens Polytech­nic, the site of a bloody stu­dent up­ris­ing against the coun­try’s 1967-74 mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship. A re­cent ar­ti­cle in Kathimerini (June 19) on this is­sue re­sulted in dozens of mes­sages from stu­dents and pro­fes­sors at other higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes around the coun­try re­port­ing a sim­i­lar, if not worse, sit­u­a­tion. One stu­dent from the Athens Univer­sity of Economics and Busi­ness claimed that he had been bru­tally as­saulted two months ear­lier by eight in­di­vid­u­als who have turned a base­ment area into their per­sonal lair, who are in­volved in il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and who bully any­one who tries to stand up to them. Nev­er­the­less, no one, not even mem­bers of staff, want to men­tion their names be­cause the gang has threat­ened to beat them up, burn their car, and such like. The se­cond in­stance con­cerns Greece’s his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal spa­ces. Why has the elec­tronic ticketing sys­tem that so many min­is­ters have promised still failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize? What group of vested in­ter­ests is re­act­ing to such a ra­tio­nal mea­sure in an area that brings such sig­nif­i­cant rev­enues to the state? The an­swer can be found in an­other Kathimerini story, on Oc­to­ber 15, 2015, in which ev­i­dence was pre­sented show­ing that the Acrop­o­lis re­ceived 3 mil­lion vis­i­tors in 2014, yet half the tick­ets is­sued granted the holder free ad­mis­sion. This loss in rev­enues does not ap­pear to worry any of the min­is­ters who have passed through the Cul­ture Min­istry in the past few decades and noth­ing has been done to even in­ves­ti­gate the phe­nom­e­non. In­stead, we keep hear­ing sug­ges­tions and “tact­ful” ad­mo­ni­tions – even the jour­nal­ists try­ing to get to the bot­tom of the is­sue do so in guarded lan­guage. In ev­ery case of such trans­gres­sions, ev­i­dence and ex­am­ples are the stuff of anony­mous tes­ti­monies that can­not be taken any fur­ther than that. The reach of the dis­ease can only be im­plied, not quan­ti­fied. Nev­er­the­less, there is no doubt that when en­tan­gled in­ter­ests, law­less­ness and black­mail are al­lowed in the sec­tors of ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture, then not only are their fu­tures un­cer­tain, they are also held to ran­som.

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