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On party funding, pensioner’s suicide, immigration, Turkey, strikes, archaeological sites, drachma

MPs set to approve 30 million euros cash injection for parties

These people have no shame! What do they need the cash for? More advertisements to attach to the walls, posts and fences? More debris to fill the streets with the same faces asking for a vote? Money for large gatherings where they will pontificate about the future and the solutions they have in store for us?
We will pay for this plus interest so they can have one more go at it? Who is going to believe or even change his mind about any of them?
There comes a time in one's life when he throws his hands up in the air and admits that there is no longer any hope for redemption.
Wake me up when it is over. I do not believe I can go through this and keep my sanity intact.

Monica Lane

The term ‘illegal immigrant’

The dictionary definition is a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country’s authorization.
Greece did not invite tens of thousands of mainly South Asians, Africans, East Europeans and others to Greece. Greece has not put a gun to their heads to stay in Greece. The failure by both PASOK and ND to secure its borders in the last 20 years and set up proper screening procedures upon entry has caused many problems. The Interior Ministry has stated that most crimes are committed by illegal immigrants. We have remittances going the other way in propping up their economies. We now have information from the Health Ministry that many of these illegal immigrants have brought into Greece contagious infections or diseases that were wiped away years ago in Greece. We also have information from the security services that some of these people are Islamists, terrorists, rapists, murderers and other petty criminals living amongst the homogenous population. Not all illegal immigrants are “innocent” as portrayed by the left and other human rights organisations. Most are economic migrants in search of a better future. With unemployment at 21% and 50% for 15-25 year-olds, Greece is not the place for them.
There is a solution to all of this. It’s called the EU repatriation fund for Non-EU nationals to send these people back home or move them on to more prosperous EU destinations. In a recent article by The Guardian it stated that 90% of illegal immigrants want to leave Greece but do not have the means to do so. I would suggest they go to their embassies in Athens and ask for the EU repatriation fund. In a recent meeting between Citizen’s protection Minister Mr Chrysochoidis and Ms Cecelia Malstrom EU home Affairs minister she suggested that Greece taps into this fund if these illegal immigrants do not meet the refugee or asylum criteria. With upcoming elections and the emergence of far right Chrysi Avgi who are polling at 5% nationally and with conservative leader Mr Antonis Samaras set to become the next PM more forceful action will be taken to deal with illegal immigration.

George Salamouras

MPs set to approve 30-mln-euro cash injection

I think that it would be fair to state that the vast majority of citizens would wish to give nothing to the politicians who have forced them to give up so much.
The economic crisis is not the sole fault of the politicians, whatever some might errantly claim, but to date their suffering has been measured under a microscope -- meaning perilously little, in comparison to the population as a whole.
Thus, if MPs give up any and all claims to this 30-million-euro cash they will go a good way to restoring the public's faith in them.
If not, replace the lot!

Angelos Kenos

Seamen’s strike

Why in the world are the courts not intervening? How can we continue to accept unions to continue to sink this country into the abyss! I am sorry to say, but anyone who strikes during these dire times needs to loose their job immediately! Are there not enough unemployed people who would just about do anything to work? We really need a serious cut in power of these organizations. As much as unions used to serve a purpose to protect workers, they have gone over the edge. It seems union bosses love this power and it has corrupted them. These actions need public outcries! How can it be allowed, that a few hold a whole nation hostage?

Michaela Toth

Dream Island

I am glad that Dream Island is going to be developed. I have stayed there in the early 80s and visited often since then. I have found it on all occasions underdeveloped and the facilities in bad condition. I think the location and the nature of it, is great. I believe with the right investment and planning it can become an asset to the area. I also hope that the new owners can do something about the mosquitoes. My English father-in-law called it the island of the mosquitoes

Dina Hatzipavlu
The Netherlands

Euro or drachma?

I am surprised to read the number of blogs on the Internet from Greeks advocating a return to the drachma. Recently Mr. Savage voiced the same opinion in a letter here. His main concept was that in a short period of time, Greece would return to growth. If this had happened two years ago, there was a chance that this would have been possible, mainly due to the fact that the EU, realizing the seriousness of this action would have supported Greece in an orderly default. However, logically our currency would have fallen 50%, which in fact still meant that wages, pensions and bonds would have been devalued by half, making life even more difficult for our poorer citizens. At the same time the amount of corruption that has been drawn to our attention over the past months, would have continued, so that in a very short time we would have been in a worse state of affairs.
Now we hear left-wing politicians, and we are left amazed to hear that Mr. Kammenos is also advocating this alternative. By agreeing with the far left party of Mr. Tsipras, one should realize how low our election campaigning has sunk. How naive are the Greek voters? Who in their right mind will invest in Greece if it returns to the drachma now. It will take years for foreign investors to even consider Greece as a suitable business investment. Now the whole world knows how outdated, bureaucratic and corrupt our system is. Greeks with investments abroad will be even more reluctant to return their funds as much of this is undeclared and therefore they are open to investigation. Many legitimate savers have already purchased properties abroad or have deposited in European banks with high interest rates. Why would they take a chance in returning funds to a third world country which is what Greece would be?
Mr. Kammenos considers selling our off shore Crete oil reserves, without explaining how we will live while the initial explorations are in progress and how Greece will find a foreign Company willing to risk such an investment. Greece is notorious for its poor working relations, with constant strikes. I understand voters want to show their ire towards the main parties, that are responsible for our present predicament. However, these politicians have been members of parliament and never have they presented logical proposals for our health, education, public systems, immigration etc., etc. There are centre parties, Manos with Drasi, Bakoyiannis with the Democratic Alliance, both have proved to be excellent ministers and supportive of the changes needed today. Voting for extreme parties, whose only aim is to further the discord in our society, is a very big mistake.

Anne Baker

Making archaeology pay

I am puzzled by the assumption in the article “Archaeology becomes Greece's Achilles heel” that all problems within Greece's archaeological services are due to lack of money. In my two years in Greece I have travelled widely and attempted to visit many ancient sites and museums, often with visitors from abroad. I learned long ago that visiting days usually need end by 15.00 as staff work Ministry hours, not the hours people wish to visit. I have also learned that sites continue to close permanently without warning or publicity. Whilst I have found some site and museum staff very helpful, I have, unfortunately, found others to be unhelpful or even antagonistic towards visitors. My examples are numerous.
I have not been offered refunds at major museums in Athens and Thessaloniki that charged full prices, yet had most galleries closed on the days I visited. I have been refused access to buildings at fully-staffed sites where staff do not wish to leave their desks in the main building. I have been chased out of several sites well before official closing times, once with the curator jangling keys, then revving her car engine! I have been told by staff at one site that, although they were fully manned that day, they had decided not to admit any visitors. At another site I was told the site had recently closed and that the two staff still present “could not allow any visitors in”. Elsewhere, a simple question about the age of a site was met with the response “I am not paid to answer questions from visitors”. Once, when the only Sunday visitor to a museum with five staff at the entrance desk, I enquired if I could buy books from the adjacent bookstand only to be told “we haven’t got the staff in today who can do that”. I could go on.
I make the following suggestions:
1) Match the opening times of sites to the times visitors wish to visit, eg 10.00 to 17.00 in the winter months.
2) Publish all opening times and a list of closed sites on the Culture Ministry website. Then keep it up to date.
3) Implement realistic manning levels: a securely fenced archaeological site does not need multiple staff; anyone can sell guidebooks.
4) Introduce a scheme to encourage visitor feedback with praise for staff who offer good service and admonishment for those who do not
Suggestions such as these could soon increase revenue without increasing staff head count. They would also encourage visitors to come back to Greece to enjoy its marvellous cultural heritage.

Geoff Hughes

Response to suicide of Dimitris Christoulas

Not by hemlock, but rather hemmed in by the lock of public profligacy meeting economic scarcity, an old pensioner in the most volatile state in Europe took his own life. In a scenic that would rival the off-stage demise of Antigone or the self-inflicted blindness of Oedipus, this elderly state employee took his own life, in protest of a state who refused to honor its commitment to care for him until his natural demise, who blind to any other salvation but the state, ended his life wilfully to preserve his last shred of «dignity”, shooting himself in public over indebtedness.
Another victim of popular democracy, Dimitris Christoulas shot himself in Syntagma Square, overwhelmed by his inability to pay his way on the state’s payroll, his desperation a symbol of the stigma which has afflicted the entire Aegean nation. Worse than the Persians wrestled and bested attempts to conquer the Greeks, the Birthplace of Popular Government and Western Civilization may now becomes its first though hardly final resting place.
The conservative newspaper, Eleftheros Typos, offered one of the most liberal of eulogies for this self-inflicted pensioner: "a martyr for Greece.”
Like Socrates, the wisest man in Greece, Mr. Christoulas unwisely chose to stay and rely on a state which has become the enemy of individual liberty. Whereas in ancient times direct democracy punished the quizzical dissent of one philosopher, modern Greece has flirted with Communism, has promised everything from cradle to grave, delivers less and less, and lingers on economic collapse. Worse than the Plagues during Pericles’ Golden Age or the Civil War of Oligarchs and Democrats, Athens has become the setting for a grave and engraved tragedy, one whose grooves threaten to shatter the economic and political cohesion of the entire European Union.
Mr. Christoulas, hardly a martyr, is merely a witness of the foolish profligacy that awaits every public bondholder in a nation that maintains no bond beyond bankrupted paternalism.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, still attempting to play “Papa to the Demos (the people)”, has now offered with one hand a plea to help the least fortunate of Greeks, which is growing to encompass every Hellene, while still with the other hand begging for another handout from Germany, the last core financial strength of the Euro currency.
If nothing else, this very public suicide is a small harbinger that awaits the far greater self-imposed impost awaiting the Greek nation if citizen and state do not rethink their role and relationship to one another.

Arthur Christopher Schaper

Re: To a retired professor

To a great dismay, I have read through the commentary section today. Although, we, the Turks, (believe it or not) genuinely empathize with you whenever another upsetting news concerning Greece is broadcasted in the media, one of today’s letter by a retired “professor” is enough to shake my conviction that you will be able handle the terrible predicament bestowed upon you by none other than yourself.
Unfortunately, blaming us for the root-cause of all the malevolent things that happened to you and in the process morphing us into “evil” may temporarily help easing your pain in vain. Yet, in reality it will only make you a good-old-bigot. It is long past due you look into mirror and call yourself “J’acuse”.
Thus, I would have settled for a “sigh” had the comment been penned by an anonymous blogger. However, the venomous trail of upsetting words surprisingly belongs to a retired professor.
If your educators/scientists are as “enlightened” as Mr. Retsos, one can’t help but wonder how their students would turn out.

Hakan A , Sunday April 8, 2012 (21:37)  
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