December 19

Greece still aflame

Greece remains in a state of near anarchy. As to the causes, nothing has emerged to suggest any other than those two suggested here on 15 December.

First the politicians, tainted by years of intrigue and corruption, have led Greece into a dead end.  There is no one, no authority, who enjoys the Greek people’s respect.

Secondly this loss of confidence in the politicians and  the politicians' republic  is exacerbated by the romantic but foolish notion, coming  from the French Revolution, that salvation lies not through traditional institutions, values and beliefs, but through the actions of the mob.


Stratis Stratigis, former chairman of the Athens Olympics organising committee, put this second factor in a somewhat different way.

He says “Our democracy is destroying itself because it misrepresented the right to liberty and equality.”

“It taught the citizens to regard disrespect as a right, lawlessness as liberty, impertinence as equality and anarchy as enjoyment.”

This is a quote from Socrates, the ancient philosopher who ended up being sentenced to death for voicing truths that nobody wanted to hear.

“It’s funny,” said Stratigis. “Those words have a ring about them today.”

The comment by Mr. Stratigis appeared in a report by Matthew Campbell in The Sunday Times on 14 December, “Greek riots spark fear of Europe in flames”.

This opened with a story about Professor Christos Kittas, the Rector of Athens University, who organised a “human chain” of colleagues to prevent the historic building from being ransacked by violent mobs roaming the streets of Athens.

In the meantime, David Frost interviewed His Majesty, The King of the Hellenes on 12 December concerning the crisis. King Constantine gives a calm, caring and restrained view of the crisis, showing great  generosity to his republican successor as Head of State.   This follows:




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