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Shooting Democracy at Dawn

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Hearing Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos talk is always a resoundingly disturbing experience. Much like unelected current prime minister Lucas Papademos, he never deviates from his almost robotic, unblinking tone, his words almost always touching either edge of the disaster-triumph spectrum. Couple this with the image of his snake like eyes darting left and right, the only thing active and visibly quick on his otherwise cumbersome and rotund form, and you're as close as you're going to get to Jabba the Hutt. In a suit. Standing upright.

He has something decidedly sinister about him. I suppose a large number of politicians do, it's admittedly the name of the game, but Venizelos takes it to another level, his words always seemingly a front for the real, much darker meaning hiding behind them.

Hearing him talk as he was announced as the only candidate for the internal elections of the Pasok party the other day, you'd think that Greeks should be taking to the streets and celebrating. He mouthed about a new day, a new dawn, a time of hope. All the while his eyes told you that he clearly meant it for himself. Not for the public at large. It was an almost tone for tone repeat of his speech concerning the completion of the PSI process, the bond swap which saw Greece's debt sliced to ribbons, ushering in a new era for the much beleaguered Greek economy. At least, that's what we were told.

Because, if you live in Greece, all these triumphant little sets of victory jigs seem slightly out of place. With figures of unemployment now set at double those of any other European state and with a real, everyday, pavement level economy showing as many signs of making an appearance as Jimmy Hoffa, it makes you wonder what Venizelos is actually talking about.

It also makes you think about how funny it is that Greece is historically recognized as the birthplace of democracy, seeing as none of it remains here any more.

A country governed by an unelected prime minister and the would be leader of a socialist party celebrating the fact that he is running in a one candidate election race.

It is an alarmingly dark legacy. A legacy left over by a political system actively supported by the Greek people for a number of decades, which not only made a mockery of the essence of democracy and the power to the people moniker it wears on its sleeve, but now looks to go one step further.

We are no longer a country in control of ourselves and our destiny. Admittedly, maybe that's a good idea, because when we did, we made a right mess of it. But before jumping on the "Greeks are useless, so they should be told what to do" bandwagon, consider this.

Have we really considered the true effects of handing over the reigns of democracy in exchange for "a better day"? What is truly the point of a new state of balance, when we are no longer a part of that exercise?

What in blue hell is going on, when a nation heads towards an election that no longer has any bearing on anything at all? What's even the point of electing a government when their agenda is already laid out, their decisions formed and decided, way before they ever start playing at being "in charge"?

Ultimately, what is even the point of participating in an electional process, when your vote is no longer truly needed? When your voice no longer has any bearing on the state of a nation?

Maybe Greeks should just be happy that their current leaders are convinced that a new day is dawning for the country. A new day, free from such outdated concepts like democracy.

Who needs that in 2012, when "totalitarian" fits so much better?

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