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28 May, 2024
 
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The fall

'In Cyprus, corruption is not just visible, evident, and prevalent in groups that are privy to well-kept secrets.'

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The tale of Eva Kaili is a metaphor for the glitzy, quick ascent to power in politics and the ultimate fall from grace brought on by dishonesty. After all, a corrupt politician is one who has been bribed by the state or a private individual. In biblical terms, he is similar to The prophet Simon, who gave testimony about heretical teachings. A politician who earns more than his salary now works for the benefit of his financier. He's sold out his ideology, beliefs, personal and socially defined morality, and all he wants to do now is... butcher himself. But, most importantly, he has broken his basic political oath: election means serving his people. The well-intended interests of the country and its citizens. From the local government to the national or European parliament. From the councillorship to the highest office of head of state.

Unfortunately, Cyprus is not Belgium. After all, Belgium is not the only country that we find difficult to comprehend in terms of how it functions whenever it is ungoverned for a period of five or six months. It is also not the state of the Brusselization bubble as a result of the European Union. Belgium is first and foremost the state that, more than any other, served as Europe's main battlefield from Napoleon's time until 1945.  On the issue of bribing members of the European Parliament, Brussels moved quietly and did something we do not normally see in Cyprus: They arrested offenders caught in the act while they were transferring money from bribes.  Can you imagine if an MP, minister, party official, or party leader were ever detained in the course of their duties in Cyprus? the President, perhaps? Given how we have established our state and political system, it would be science fiction to ever witness such a thing.

Can you imagine if (in Cyprus) an MP, minister, party official, or party leader were ever detained in the course of their duties in Cyprus? the President, perhaps?.....it would be science fiction...

In Cyprus, corruption is not just visible, evident, and prevalent in groups that are privy to well-kept secrets. However, it still needs to be defined in terms of consciousness, culture, and the efficacy of the response in order to be dealt with. We witnessed the favorite candidate, Mr. Christodoulides, define it inappropriately in relation to where we enroll a child in school during the most recent debate.  The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Syllouris, raised his glass of wine high and winked at us live in front of the covert camera of the al Jazeera network, one of many examples we have seen over the past ten years. We read about the Saudi jet and "golden passports" for meddling between foreign and domestic powerful actors and those in positions of power. We read the books written by a journalist who later served as a presidential council adviser and who wrote about signs and monsters. But nobody responded. Nothing took place. Nobody wanted to be the Belgian federal police who, for months, watched as Qataris paid millions of dollars in bribes to a European network. 

And on the other hand, outside of the structures of power, the attitude "oh, they got her, we never got her" is more common. When every poor devil Cypriot is willing to break the law because "that's what everyone else does," a normalization culture that, in terms of psychoanalysis, is equivalent to complete disenchantment.

It goes without saying that Eva Kaili fell. Like many of her forerunners in the past, she will serve time in prison and suffer from political disgrace. In terms of tightening the way EU officials, both elected and unelected, interact with one another in relation to lobbying, which is a common practice in Brussels, it will also set a positive precedent at the level of the European Parliament.

[This op-ed was first published in Kathimerini's Sunday edition (18/12) and translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  Europe  |  Brussels  |  corruption

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