The Ge­or­giou af­fair: A witch hunt, not a thirst for jus­tice

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

We don’t need to get into the essence of the Ge­or­giou af­fair to un­der­stand that it has taken on di­men­sions that far ex­ceed one man’s ju­di­cial tra­vails. The case – the very name An­dreas Ge­or­giou – has come to sym­bol­ize a rift in so­ci­ety. On one side are those who worry about the coun­try’s fu­ture, know­ing that only ra­tio­nal mea­sures will help Greece get back on its feet; on the other, a het­ero­ge­neous crowd of in­dig­nant cit­i­zens and cyn­i­cal politi­cians, united by their pas­sion­ate de­sire to ab­di­cate re­spon­si­bil­ity for the past and the present, de­mands that re­al­ity bend to their will. I am afraid that the sec­ond group has more pas­sion, a longer his­tory and the mo­men­tum that the first one does not: It is, of course, much eas­ier to rouse the crowd with prom­ises to avoid pain than to em­brace it. And load­ing all the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for the coun­try’s prob­lems on one man, the for­mer head of Greece’s sta­tis­ti­cal ser­vice, is most se­duc­tive: Those who are truly to blame get to play judge, while oth­ers be­lieve that be­cause one per­son is guilty for the cri­sis and for aus­ter­ity, the rest don’t have to pay any­thing. And so, right-wingers and leftists, na­tion­al­ists and in­ter­na­tion­al­ists join forces against An­dreas Ge­or­giou, pre­tend­ing in this way to strike a blow against the bailout agree­ments and for­eign su­per­vi­sion. The Ge­or­giou af­fair clar­i­fies much in public life. In the op­po­si­tion con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy party, which ought to be the strong­est voice of en­light­en­ment val­ues, we see prom­i­nent mem­bers in fa­vor of the for­mer ELSTAT chief’s per­se­cu­tion. We see the same in the ju­di­ciary, with re­peated re­ver­sals of ac­quit­tals. We see it in the gov­ern­ment’s ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity. In the crowd at the Athens Ap­peals Court a few days ago, the rage and hooli­gan­ism were more of a witch hunt than a de­sire for jus­tice. And the flames are fanned by peo­ple who had or have the na­tion’s fate in their hands. Their cyn­i­cism is ob­vi­ous. They pre­fer to de­lude the peo­ple so as to evade their own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. And so they en­cour­age more big­otry and su­per­sti­tion. They broaden divi­sions and feed con­spir­acy the­o­ries. Be­yond the in­jus­tice and the ter­ri­ble per­sonal cost for a fel­low cit­i­zen, be­yond the dam­age to the coun­try’s cred­i­bil­ity, the most tragic as­pect of the af­fair is that peo­ple who know how dan­ger­ous this all is are in­vest­ing in fan­tasies and en­cour­ag­ing fa­natism. His­tory, though, will record the role they played. In the end they will be loaded with more blame than that which they are try­ing to sad­dle onto oth­ers.

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