Why we should not cheer over Strauss-Khan’s arrest

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The news that the chairperson of the IMF,  Dominique Strauss-Kahn (also known as DSK) was arrested and will now be detained in the notorious Rikers Island jail in New York after being accused for sexual assault against a hotel maid, has made many people cheer, especially the Greeks who see in the face of Strauss-Kahn the personification of the evil that is ostensibly responsible for all their miseries.

For all the gossip around the issue go read elsewhere as I am not going to follow such an approach on the issue. I am writing this to underline some things that people tend to forget or ignore.

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 16:  Newspapers with cover...Image by Getty


The cheers and the jubilation are completely irrational as they lack the essential distinction between  the person called Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the policies of the IMF. Those are two different things and this applies to all sorts of roles in all sorts of organizations. The idiosyncrasy of DSK isn’t what formulates the policies of the IMF, as those have remained unaltered regardless of the institution’s head.

The IMF is established upon monetarist ideals that permeate the entire institution and its policies. A change in the leading figure will have a negligible impact on the way it behaves. To make this tangible to my fellow Greeks and to all those who naively assume that things will change, even if the chairperson was Greek, he/she would still carry out the same agenda as Strauss-Kahn did.

Another issue that many tend to forget is that the crises in the various parts of the world where the IMF has intervened were not caused by the IMF itself. The Greek crisis makes this crystal-clear. Greece was brought into today’s situation due to decades of corruption, due to maladministration, to unproductive investments and certainly thanks to the tolerance (and the stupidity) the Greek people showed in trusting politicians despite the fact that they were aware of the dirty games that were being played.

I myself have opposed the the policies of the troika vis a vis the Greek crisis and I have also criticized the European safety mechanism but I have done so after judging their effectiveness and their consequences. I still maintain my opposition to them but this does not mean that I believe that Greece was the victim of some sort of conspiracy.

This would mean that I simply do not want to accept the truth, which says that Greece gets what it deserves as it is the sole responsible for its current situation. The sooner the Greek people realize that the better the transition out of the crisis will be. The sooner they understand that they brought their misfortune on themselves the wiser they will be in reconstructing their state and in leading all those who are responsible to punishment. Otherwise if they want to cling to their narrow-minded, self-myopic belief that everybody around them is their enemy then there is no salvation for them.

The time for cheers will not come when people like Strauss-Kahn get punished for whatever reason, but when you get rid of the political gangsters that rule Greece for all these decades, when you change your own behavior and when you demand a new meritocratic society that will rise from the ashes of the crippled state that you now have.

A people, a nation that wants to survive must first know how to correct its own weaknesses.

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