Violence. Tolerance has its limits.
Does the Prime Minister have a friend whose intellect he trusts?
If he has, would this friend take him aside and explain something to him?
The middle class is the backbone of Greek society and it is getting increasingly worried and annoyed with the tolerance of this Government to violence. This attitude his Government obviously considers advisable in the present condition of the country.
After all the previous Government was equally tolerant to violence, even though the country was in a different set of circumstances. Now that the country is in a state of suffering it behooves his Government to l e a d. L e a d e r s h i p requires strength. If he has any, now is the time to show it because he must confront resistance from those who want the country to fall apart so that they install their regime.
He must choose between letting the country fall prey to its woes, or help it stand on its feet again. To secure deferment of debt payments and lower interest on the country’s debt is only a part of his job. To create budget surpluses with which to pay down the debt is another part of his job. In this process he must have the backing of the majority of the people and indeed of the Greek middle class, given that he must monetize the value of some of the country’s assets which will stir emotions and resentment, from those affected – witness the reaction of the Union of the Public Electricity Enterprise to the partial sale of the country’s stock in the company. To create budget surpluses he must also secure financing for the private sector and mobilize the country to a National effort of wealth creation, something which requires a deep change in the National attitude, beginning with a sense of Unity and calm. There can be no unity and calm if violence is left unchecked, no change in National attitude unless the middle class is involved. He must therefore resort to zero tolerance of violence, quietly but firmly, even if this means a reshuffle of his Cabinet. The privatization of Public Corporations and the sale of other Public assets will bring him to a collision course with those affected … with those to whom change means loss of privileges. The Majority of People are in favour of privatizations and the use of public assets to pay down debt (polls indicate) so they will back him, but his Left wing political opponents will resort to strikes and marches to provoke tension … violence. No tolerance for violence is, therefore, necessary.
Violence has become an acceptable part of Greek life and is considered a civil right of the citizens with democratic and progressive sensitivities, which includes hooligans, terrorists, assassins. This right, the Communist party and its left wing cousins, consider sacrosanct. They exhort the citizenry to disobedience. They justify the destruction of the assets of innocent people (shop windows-automobiles and such) as well as assets of the public sector, as inevitable damage for the progress of socialism. They impede normal business in the city centres with marches, in Athens almost on a daily basis. They seem to have a cadre of “professional protesters” who impede the flow of traffic, discourage people from going to the city centre. They are bent on disrupting normality and indeed every form of business activity.
These political parties stage occupations in Universities, in the name of various causes, with the blessing of the academics who dare not protest against the malevolent abuse/misuse of the University asylum.
The restructure of the Greek Economy to modernize and to make it competitive is not only urgently required, but is also dictated by the “troika”. The restructure has not materialised so it must now be effected in a hurry, or else … This is certain to draw the blind resistance of the communists and their left wing think alike comrades who will create unrest which will turn to violence, much to their delight. It is his job to come out and explain to the people the benefits to all that will come from the restructure, in a clear and convincing way, win the support of the majority and indeed of the middle class and adopt a firm attitude to violence, with the majority on his side.
Violence is not only politically instigated by those who believe that it serves their purpose. Violence is also tolerated by those responsible for the affairs of football teams, which explains why Greek Football is fast becoming a field of tensions, to the detriment of the sport’s status. Violence is also tolerated in the Universities, to the detriment of their standards. The Media and the Webb have also displayed the same attitude of tolerance. Violence has become an integral part of Greek life. Vandalism is to be found everywhere, even in high schools.
When a boy was shot dead by a policeman who replied with a bullet to the boy’s verbal assault there were riots in Athens with anarchists, firebombs … extreme violence.
When three people died, one of them a pregnant woman, as a result of the fire -bombing of a bank by marching protesters, there were no ripples. It served them right because they were working on a day when their union had called for a strike and a protest march.
Greek society displayed two sets of standards. Fury for the death of a boy from a police bullet, apathy for the death of three people from the fire bombs of militant protesters. But was it Greek society that displayed the fury and the apathy or was it, in both cases, those who see chaos, in the first instance and apathy in the second, as a means to an end, that being the disintegration of Greek society, whose backbone is the Greek middle class.
In Greece there is a de facto legalisation of violence as a consequence of tolerance. Is this conducive to progress? Will it help the country get out of the dire straits it is in? Is the enforcement of the law too much to expect from its Government?
If a friend can help the Prime Minister realise that and convince him to simply enforce the law and the decisions of the Courts he will render an enormously valuable service to Greece. Tolerance has its limits.