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23 May, 2024
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Greece's dual reality of law and mafia rule

From sidewalks to nightclubs: Greece's struggle with lawlessness

Alexis Papachelas

Alexis Papachelas

Maybe we don’t understand how much everything around us seems to be losing its momentum and cheapening, and I hope we don’t suddenly realize it by some “accident.” Lawlessness is a widespread phenomenon and, worst of all, no one has any answers for how you deal with it.

One sees it from the sidewalks to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier and nothing impresses us. Even the smoking ban, which was an impressive achievement for us for a while, has been effectively abolished at nightclubs. Everything is allowed even where it is forbidden. With the mafia killings of the past few years, even a clueless person understands that apart from the country we think we know, there is another darker Greece that operates under the radar of the law, with the rules of the mafia and huge interests at stake. In universities, we still see a game of “catch the thief” being played, but no one believes that the game will end after 50 monotonous years. We got used to this unique “Greek exception.”

In addition to lawlessness we also have a lack of professionalism and planning. There are many examples that range from the smallest to the largest. They even touch the vital core of the state, as we saw from the unimaginable destruction caused by a natural disaster last summer to an important unit of the Hellenic Army. Too many things that concern us happen by chance, are done halfway or not at all.

Who can we expect to change this situation? The majority of the people tasked with dealing with those issues are fearful or even cowards. The university rector fears for his physical integrity, the head of a crucial authority confesses that “to deal with the organized corruption I need to find 20 people who don’t care about money and are ready to sacrifice themselves.”

Of course there are exceptions, and that is why the country is still standing. Most of our politicians are hopelessly engrossed in TikTok and the frenzy of political communication. Their attention is solely on the image and the votes they want in the next election. One can go crazy when comparing the gravity of the problems we are facing with the lightness of a large section of our politicians.

People feel insecure and, worse, an escalating cynicism. They don’t want to hear the news, they don’t believe that anything will change, and they decide either to abstain or to lean toward conspiracies. Even a prime minister must feel angry when he realizes that there is not much he can change immediately, even if he has a dream team by his side, which is hard to find in politics these days. The easy solution is for all of us to repeat that “this is Greece,” and continue in our routine. The difficult solution is, firstly, to realize that this routine to which we have become addicted is not normal.

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  law

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