Looting and snatching or rightful acquisition and possession

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By Anastasios M. Tamis*

Intelligence is one thing and cunningness is another. Looting and stealing is one thing, and the rightful acquisition and possession is another. Looting is arbitrary, illegal, it violates the law, it mocks justice, it tarnishes the legal order. The cunning robbing devalues the intelligence of our fellow human beings and fellow citizens. It trivializes the perception of our interlocutor. Many, having as their weapon the cunning and foolish-hating, attempt to mock the institutions and ruthlessly exploit the services of the state. They create strange and virtual cohabitation situations as spouses; they devise in a cunning manner pseudo-divorces, in order for the so-called “abandoned wife” to win the state allowance and ransack the services of the state. Others declare false impediments to absorb the support  and the services of the state. Others take care to declare non-existent psychosomatic problems in order to receive from their forties, allowances and invalidity pensions. Others deceive the state with fictitious and inaccurate legal acts in order to “escape” the payment of the so-called land tax, capital tax and their dues to the country. There are people who make a living from their repeated claims from insurance compaies; there are also those who “injure” each other’s cars in order to collect the security of the market value of their car.

There are also numerous individuals, including those who were born fifty years ago in Australia, settled permanently with their parents as children in Greece and suddenly come to Australia after half a century, without having offered a single day of work, not a single dollar as a tax to the state, to live here for a few months, to collect their pension from Australia and to return home,  in their village in their cities and live with the money of Australian taxpayers, that they do not deserve. The Australian taxpayer, the looser, is deprived of these money resources, for his schools, his hospitals, so that these professional swindlers can unethically receive as professional “pensioners” their prey.  And, this “legal” robbery by the offenders is considered as capricious achievement by their local Australian relatives and reward the cheaters with their silence and their absolute tolerance.

Alexandros Fourkakis lives in Australia. He has a couple of townhouses and lodges in Kifissia, rents them and collects sizeable  income. In addition, he has a fat pension as a former sailor from Greece; he also receives a pension from Australia, and he is fully employed in Australia. He declares these incomes at will to the Tax Office and considers himself to be a credible and respectable citizen and a capable and intelligent person, worthy to claim leading positions in community organization. On major National Day, the Consulate addresses him with an honorary invitation. According to it files and records he is an honest citizen. It does not have a file in Greece either. He wears a suit and tie and appears as a Greek leader at these receptions and flaunts like a peacock and feels pound that he is able to deceive the public servants , in order to amass his wealth without being held accountable, without paying what he owes. Usually, people like Fourkakis view and assess the State as standing against them, as their enemy. They never regarded themselves as being an indispensable part of the State, as a citizen of the Politeia . The disturbing thing is that these people value as predators and fraudsters even those elected leaders who serve in the community organizations. And, while he himself may also had served in the commons, he wants himself above all suspicion, honest, and righteous citizen. However, he portrays all other of his compatriot leaders all as thugs and swindlers. A community organization makes a social or recreational event, for example, and immediately we see him, the Fourkakis and the Fourkakis-like at the café and in assemblies to spread his innuendos and gossip outbursts, “how much this President will cheat from the event”, “how much they will save for themselves, how much will be grabbed by those who are in the commons”. He sees predators and robbers everywhere. He has unsolicitedly proclaimed himself a prosecutor and pursues with his word of mouth all those who attempt to set up their own family or community affairs.

The broader society and naturally the Greeks has all kinds of Fourkakis and his like, as well as these promising individuals who llive in Greece or Italy and come to Australia to collect pensions and benefits, which morally at least they are not entitled to. People who left when they were ten or eleven years old, and now that they have stepped on their fifties, discover that they can claim money that does not belong to them. Their mode of behaviour, reminds me of the three and five pensions that many Greeks used to receive in the 1980s  and 1990, claiming library allowances, and allowances of “early arrival” in the office, and the goodwill allowances and the courtesy allowances. And when Greece went bankrupt and more than 20,000 negative letters erupted against our country, then all of them with one mouth were excusing themselves arguing: “we are not to blame. Let them not give it to us!!!”.

And it is usually the swindlers and predators who dishonor with their words those who service and promote our common goals, and those who take care of our education and our culture, and tarnish with their envious innuendos the virtue and prestige of our leaders. These people must be sidelined, discredited, and denounced. Their audacity must be injured and eradicated in order for them to recover and regret, if of course they have a tinge of humanity left in them.

We also have those (I would like to believe few but not so few) who exploit their parents and try in every way to convince them that they have to transfer their homes and savings to them, in order to claim supposedly successfully to get their pension, which many times the elders do not have a particular need.  For when the property which was acquired by the parents through hard work and sacrifices, is being transferred to their children, soon the elders see the way of the nursing home. They are being locked up in these leper islands, in the so-called old people’s homes, in order to age faster and to pass away perhaps in a few years before their time, so that these unwise and unthoughtful children could undisturbedly acquire or even mismanage the fortunes left to them by their parents. The Greeks have a tradition of social contribution. Women and the family cared for the elders in Greece. Until a few years ago the word “nursing home” was unheard of in Greece;  now it has become a trend and a social fashion. The elders rightly are being offered with the much-needed services and care at the geriatric hospitals, when they needed special care and protection. It is only then that they need to be protected and cared. It was considered a social stigma to throw your parents in the nursing home when they have no impediment or a need for care. It is a social insult. Today many see the confinement of their parents in  these “seclusion islands” as social progress and evolution, as a social wisdom. This is arguably the way to reassure a conscience that feels the blame.

*Professor Anastasios M. Tamis taught at Universities in Australia and abroad, was the creator and founding director of the Dardalis Archives of the Hellenic Diaspora and is currently the President of the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies (AIMS).

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