In all probability, you have never heard of such a ludicrous fable. There are plenty of orange trees, in Greece, but so far, no one has credibly referred to a “merry orange tree”. Orange trees do not joke, laugh or express their sentiments in any mythical way. The land of a “merry orange tree” is a joke, invented last century – or even earlier – to describe the impossible: An orange tree that produces mirth.
But, well into the 21st century, our current Prime Minister and his acolytes are convinced that they can pass similarly blatant pack of lies, as present day Greek realities. For example, that Greece is well into the road of recovery because “decently dressed people are no longer scavenging garbage bins for food” and that “professional people in the streets are thanking the deputy Minister of Labour for raising social insurance contributions and are wondering if he has raised them enough”. These statements by two prominent members of the current Greek Government, have been published in the last two weeks, at the same time that Eurostat published figures showing that Greece has record levels of people below the poverty line and the highest unemployment rate in the EU.
Extremely intentionally and regrettably effectively, the first-ever coalition Government of the Left and extreme nationalist Right, are trying to substitute myth for reality, apparently comforted by the fact that Mr. Tsipras has twice won national elections, on the basis of a pack of lies that he fed to the electorate: monstrous promises that he knew damn well that he could not ever fulfill. It appears that he knows well the joke of the “merry orange tree” but forgets the old Greek proverb that goes: “ the thief gets away once, twice, but the third is his bad day”.
Present day reality indicates that we are close – if we have not already reached – the “third day”. For over a month now, old pensioners and low-income working people are queuing for over five hours a day, with a pack of photographs and certificates in hand to obtain “personified” electronic tickets for the metro and other means of public transport, because the Minister in charge is incapable of solving childishly simple technological and procedural problems.
He is the same Minister that back in 2015 decided that users of public transport could travel free of charge, for his first week in office. Obviously, he does not wish to enforce an effective system of ticket collection and he is simply procrastinating, in an attempt to evade one of the obligations the Government has undertaken, in the framework of the current Programme of Reforms, agreed with the Eurogroup and the IMF.
Recently, a prominent barrister was executed, by a paid assassin, who tried to intimidate him to cooperate in perverting justice, in an outstanding court case. The barrister apparently refused and was shot dead at 7 pm in his office, in the centre of Athens. Criminality is on an upsurge, as the Government has passed two laws that have permitted the release from prison of few thousand culprits of capital offenses. Last but not least, about a month ago an unsailworthy old vessel, without valid certificates, sunk in the centre of the gulf of Athens releasing over one thousand tons of its cargo of crude oil, into the sea, contaminating over 30 kilometres of picturesque coastline, which will take more than two years to clean free from pollution remnants.
Can Greece, go ahead under such deplorable government and judicial conditions?