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24 June, 2024
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As leaders face global investigation, skepticism grows about genuine commitment to root out corruption in the country

Eleni Xenou

Eleni Xenou

"All information that has come to light will be thoroughly investigated, with a specific timeframe," said the president, emphasizing that "it is time to put an end to this matter." Political parties declared that "no one is above the law" and that "it is urgent to restore the country's reputation." Some added – not all – that "despite serious progress, a serious communication method is needed to convince internationally that we have become honest."

Well, we've heard all these statements so many times that anyone with a modicum of intelligence finds it hard to believe that there is indeed political will and courage to address the root cause of corruption. Because, simply put, the issue is not just a matter of control and supervision but, more importantly, a matter of political courage. And when we say political courage, we mean a politician articulating what no one has dared to articulate so far. To courageously name this corrupt system, to admit that in this place, we have elevated money as the grand "ideal" and in its name, we sacrifice everything – from the country, national issues, intellectualism, the environment to our credibility – without batting an eye.

And thanks to this "ideal," a caste of citizens has emerged, which enriches itself at the expense of fellow citizens, promoting the "vision" of greed and easy gain as a "successful" way of life.

And thanks to this "ideal," a caste of citizens has emerged, which, with zero moral hesitation, enriches itself at the expense of fellow citizens, promoting the "vision" of greed and easy gain as a "successful" way of life. And this caste exists because apparently, it includes political figures, or even if they don't belong, the last thing they are willing to do is oppose it.

However, whoever lacks the guts to speak candidly and opts for half-statements like "yes, mistakes were made, but..." or "in other countries, this problem exists" or "the problem of corruption is more widespread" is likely to find that half measures characterize his endeavors as well. It's good to remember that dreadful pre-election debate where all three candidates, Averof Neophytou, Andreas Mavrogiannis, Nikos Christodoulides, avoided addressing the issue of corruption substantively (Mr. Mavrogiannis admittedly to a lesser extent). Instead of saying what needs to be said and done, they spoke in half-statements, sadly inferior not only to the circumstances but also to the realization that what is needed for corruption to be uprooted is politicians determined to uproot it.

And politicians determined to uproot it cannot be those who choose to speak in half-statements. In that tele-debate, all three seemed more willing to cozy up to corruption than to combat it. And the worst part was that through these half-positions, they left the impression that their need to win the elections outweighed their political duty to do whatever needs to be done and say what needs to be said to restore ethics to its rightful place (what our grandparents meant when they said "with a clean forehead"). The same tactic was followed by the parties, pretending to be enemies of corruption without showing the slightest willingness to take on the responsibility that befits them or even acknowledge its existence and apologize. Instead, they tried to convince that they are blameless, that they have nothing to be accountable for, and that the only culprits are the "others." And now, after all this, another international investigation comes to light, undermining our credibility, and we are supposed to believe that the same individuals, president, parties, and other political experts, genuinely want to clean up the country and will indeed do whatever it takes to restore the country's name. Seriously now?

[This article was translated from its Greek original and, although may not be word for word, has tried to keep the tone and irony of the original piece]

Cyprus  |  corruption  |  politics

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