The Hellenic Democratic Initiative (HID) held a talk last week on the Greek crisis and the new bailout agreement at the State Library of Victoria. The talk covered a variety of topics including the terms of the bailout agreement, corruption in Greece, migration of Greek youth and the role of the Hellenic diaspora in helping to achieve change in Greece.
Vasilis Giavris, one of the founders of the group and a Melbourne based lawyer and political scientist, was the main speaker of the day.
HID was established about two years ago by second and third generation Greeks of the diaspora. Whilst its founders are based in Melbourne the group is a global non-profit organization with members from all over the world.
The group aims to help promote transparency, social justice and the adoption of the rule of law in Greece and help combat corruption, nepotism and clientelism.
Indeed the group has chosen to place significant emphasis on the issue of corruption and the effect this has on the Greek state and the average Greek citizen.
According to Transparency International’s (TI) 2011 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Greece ranks 80th out of 183 countries in terms of perceived levels of corruption among public officials. This is an extremely low ranking given that the lower the ranking, the greater the perceived levels of corruption. According to this index, Greece is perceived as being more corrupt then Romania, Turkey, Colombia, Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa and Tunisia.
The group believes that both Greek citizens and the existing system of governance need to reform in response to the ills of the moment. To do so the sources and causes of such ills need to be understood, including the role of the state, the citizens and political structures.
They maintain that the creation of a “new Greek polity” is a necessity and that corruption needs to be treated as a principal national campaign rather then as opportunistic rhetoric.
It condemns the use and reproduction by media of racist language and racial stereotypes that vilify ethnic or religious groups as a means to describe and explain the current crisis in Greece. These only contribute to the spread of xenophobic and racist sentiments among the general public and are unacceptable.
A press release, detailing such concerns, has been sent to numerous international media outlets by the group.
HID believes that the Hellenic diaspora is an integral part of Greece and must help contribute toward the establishment of a new political and cultural ethos and accountable governance in Greece.
The group is planning to hold talks in Sydney and Canberra in May 2012. The group will also be holding fundraising events to purchase food and household goods for unemployed Greek families living in substantial poverty. The fundraising events will be held in conjunction with www.boroume.gr
You can follow the group and it activities via its facebook page at: www.facebook.com/groups/155825097778281/