We Greeks have often banged our heads on our desks trying figure out the main causes of the decline that our fellow Greeks are going through in the homeland, with Cyprus not too far behind.
I would argue that the Greek Cypriots are even more at fault for allowing themselves to get into this mess despite the fact that a large percentage of their country is under occupation while the other part is being threatened.
I will therefore borrow three items from this week’s news stories that partly explain the decline.
First: When the Greek Junta fell in 1974 and Constantine Karamanlis returned to Athens from Paris, he experienced one of the most tumultuous receptions ever given a politician by the people of Greece.
With him he brought to Athens his nephew and secretary, Michalis Liapis. A few days, Liapis, who eventually rose to the position of Transport Minister, was arrested for driving with false registration, fake plates, without insurance and without a license.
Liapis’ actions are revealing of the political class and its attitude: “Do you know who I am?” They believe that they are above the law, a Third World world mentality that is even embedded in the Constitution and the “Law on Ministerial Responsibility.”
The only heartening element in this case is that the police dared to confront him and did their job. That too, is a contribution to building a brighter future. In the past they would not have dared arrest a former minister.
Yes, there is something to this. Maybe something important.
Second: It is now a truism that a country’s position in the society of nations depends, mainly, on the educational level of its population.
That America, for example, remains the world’s leading power and will remain so for many years is mainly due to the fact that it is an empire of knowledge. Look at its universities, and its medical and research centers. That is the essence of its power.
By contrast, in Greece the Law students at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens just lost a semester because the university was shut down due either to strikes, sit-ins or both, all the result of the actions of small groups.
As unbelievable as it sounds for someone who lives in America, it is, sadly, true. And of course the damage that they have done to the students and the country is serious.
Naturally, a percentage of them, most likely the most intelligent and ambitious students of Law, frustrated, will pound their fists and go study abroad. Most of them will never return permanently to Greece.
Third: Greece ranks near the bottom of EU nations in the use of the Internet. Some of the worst-off countries: Bulgaria, 54 percent; Greece 56 percent, Romania, 58 percent. What more can we say?