CLOSE
Loading...
12° Nicosia,
03 February, 2023
 
Home  /  Comment  /  Opinion

The state we’re in

Alexis Papachelas

Alexis Papachelas

A great European leader – and a true friend of Greece – once said that Greeks were a great nation, but their state is a mess.

The man was, unfortunately, right. We have just suffered a national tragedy. We are running around like headless chickens, making accusations and concocting conspiracy theories. We do this every time disaster strikes, but we never seem to take any meaningful action to ensure that it will not happen again.

The Greek state tends to become paralyzed by any crisis. It happened during the Imia standoff between Greece and Turkey in 1996, during the Peloponnese wildfires in 2007 and again last week during the deadly inferno that ravaged the seaside resort of Mati east of the capital.

The sight of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sitting at the fire department’s operations center as though he were at a cafe while all sorts of people from his entourage ran around asking officials silly questions was not that of a country leader during a crisis. Yet it was a familiar spectacle because we have seen it all before. Any serious country would have had a serious emergency plan in place. Authorities would know where the emergency meeting would be held, who would be sitting around that table and who would be making the briefing and the recommendations. Officials would have already conducted several drills and simulations in order to get an idea of how the system operates and who does what in case of emergency.

These are bizarre notions here in Greece, because our politicians prefer to spend their time either in meaningless pursuits or feathering their nests and appointing their cronies to key civil service positions. The mess that starts at the top of the country’s power structure spreads all the way down to the smallest local authority.

An evacuation plan in case of an emergency? An operations center that can coordinate the movement of police cars and people with megaphones while conducting the evacuation? Mapped evacuation routes overseen by policemen and municipal officials to ensure safe exit? There’s probably a manual stuffed in a dusty drawer somewhere that contains all of these measures, but without repeated drills and a healthy sense of professionalism they mean nothing. When disaster strikes, there is little time or mental acuity to put such plans into action. The long and short of it is that Greece needs to rebuild its state apparatus from the ground up. The funds, willingness and know-how to achieve this are there. State agencies have skilled staff who are usually bullied by the party-affiliated parasites. A superior will always transfer that highly-skilled and well-trained expert to some remote post just to break his spirit.

We need to come to an understanding and get our act together because with a state machine like this one, we are extremely unlikely to make progress.

And one last thing: conspiracy theories are the last refuge of a failed state. That someone else is always to blame is the alibi of failed states and, of course, of failed politicians who brought the former to this mess.

TAGS
Politics  |  Fires  |  Greece

Opinion: Latest Articles

They know Europe, do we?

They know Europe, do we?

'What we need as citizens are the skills to determine whether they (the politicians) are doing it right.'
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Why didn't they vote?

Why didn't they vote?

'Many MEPs rushed to leave quickly to catch a flight due to the strikes that day in France, where Strasbourg is located.' ...
Opinion
 |  OPINION
Photo courtesy Unsplash

Fake news vs reliable content

'Social media has given every citizen more power and access to information. The ability to broadcast a news story as it ...
Maria Eracleous
 |  OPINION
Photo courtesy Unsplash

News versus noise

'The constant flow of information and hyperbole appears to have convinced a part of society that it’s better not to be informed ...
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
The 2023 investment chessboard

The 2023 investment chessboard

'If the current situation persists, it is more likely that prices will fall (at least slightly) than rents will rise.'
Andreas Andreou
 |  OPINION
Photo courtesy Unsplash

For 2023

'2023 will also be a year in which the average Cypriot's sense of justice will likely continue to be challenged'
Opinion
 |  OPINION
In the wake of the image

In the wake of the image

'Politics is not an image, a lifestyle, or something that the media likes. It involves picking people with leadership skills, ...
Marina Economides
 |  OPINION
The fall

The fall

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

Rot

A lot of things are happening in Europe and specifically in Greece at the moment which urges citizens to discredit politics ...
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
The EU faces a difficult case

The EU faces a difficult case

'This is not a national issue. Greeks and Italians, for example, are no more 'delinquent' than anyone else (nor, of course, ...
Nikos Konstandaras
 |  OPINION
Three clicks to the right

Three clicks to the right

'The most concerning shift is that of DISY. A once-liberal party is transforming into a purely conservative populist party ...
Marina Economides
 |  OPINION
Photo copyright European Parliament

'Generators of hope'

The ‘Generators of Hope’ campaign is a very practical and concrete way to help bring energy and clean water to people under ...
Opinion
 |  OPINION
X