Suche die Frau (Cherchez la Femme in German) … by The Reaper



Suche die Frau (Cherchez la Femme in German)
Saying that Greece is overrun by corruption is one thing. Putting yourself in the shoes of a Greek and reading about all the scandals is another. Over the past decades, Greek newspapers have written about under-the-table deals and nothing has been done about it — no resignations, no prosecutions, no charges, just on-going investigations that end abruptly or fade into oblivion with the change of seasons and current affairs sensations.

The most noteworthy recent scandals that have shaken public opinion for 24 hours and then vanished as quickly as they appeared, explain why judicial Greeks are justifiably enraged not only at the the press’s lack of objectivity and independence, the Justice Department’s ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil‘ policy, but also the complete absence of legal sanctions against government officials involved in these scandals.
Before going into the scandals themselves, two very important Greek words need clarification. The first is fakelaki (little envelope), or bribe handed to someone like a doctor or police officer when you want to get something done quickly. The second is miza or large sum of money used to bribe suits with deeper pockets, such as contractors and government officials. Both means of bribery are widely hated yet expected and thus observed by Greeks.

As previously mentioned, along came the Germans with their Venus-gives-you-the-finger covers and Chancellor Merkel’s tough-love lectures about how Greece should clean up its act. Yet strangely enough, three of the great scandals to hit Greek ears involving the miza in the last 10 years had Germans mixed up in them.

The first was the Siemens miza dating back to the late 1990’s. Millions of Euros, in the double-digit category no less, were slipped into bags and fell on certain individual’s bank accounts as Siemens signed contracts with the Greek state-owned telecommunications company OTE until 2006. Siemens praised its Athens branch over the years that brought in wondrous profits. When the scandal broke out in the press and politicians’ offshore bank accounts were hinted at, Germany harbored the Greek culprits, as well as their own, and the whole issue was put to rest with an out-of-court settlement.

The second was instigated by Daimler , namely Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, which purportedly ‘invested’ during the 1998-2008 era in a variety of countries so that sales of luxury cars worth hundreds of millions of dollars could be effected. A whole array of money or other perks were shoveled out to heads of state or other persons of influence in return for the purchase of special vehicles with taxpayers’ money. Even the US Justice Department looked into the matter as certain Daimler payoffs were being handled by US banks, but things were quickly swept under the carpet. To be honest, not many have heard of the Daimler case here in Greece.

The final act in the commedia dell’ arte came with Ferrostaal and the story about the German submarines mentioned in my previous log entry. Dubious payments were made via Austria, the Caribbean, Liberia and Cyprus, and you know when money travels over three continents that something is definitely up. The present government obtained a submarine which proved to have a number of serious problems and proceeded, though the sub was faulty, to go ahead with the purchase of two more similar subs worth one billion Euros amidst the havoc caused by public debt and threats of bankruptcy.

My sweets, this is the climate that has brought the Reaper up from the realm of the dead. Greece reeks of such corruption and still the government says the taxpayers are guilty. Though the taxpayers are often expected to pay a fakelaki to save their child’s life, politicians and top-ranking officials accept a fat miza. And Greeks ask themselves, who drove the country to bankruptcy? The answer they have gotten from the political world since filth started being hurled at them as a nation was very simply that they did. My next log entry will reveal more on how the people reacted to this.

The Reaper               

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