MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “corruption”

The breaking point

11146-broken-pencil-tip-1680x1050-photography-wallpaperHarold was a man with exceptional patience. He possessed the remarkable ability of retaining his calm even in situations where it was most likely to lose all control and begin to scream, either out of panic or of agitation. Yet, he managed to radiate a tranquility that was truly rare in such times of increasing uncertainty and turbulence.

That was until one Friday. It was also the 13th.

Things started out badly that day when he broke the mug he had been drinking coffee in for the past few years and which had become his favourite. He should have seen it coming then, the streak of bad luck, but he chose to ignore it. Optimism was always the best course of action. He convinced himself there was no use worrying over anything he could not change, and especially a mug, which could easily be replaced.

But then he went to work. And that is where it all fell apart.

On his desk he found an invoice charging him an extravagant amount for services that supposedly were provided, but he recalled very well how last week he had a row with that specific manager for not delivering the agreed services, forcing Harold to in the end do all the work himself. Why was he expected now to actually pay for work he himself did?

Harold began to fidget nervously, feeling his heart beat increase significantly.

The next blow came when he realized that he was literally robbed of cash from his bank account because his Internet provider had on a whim decided to increase the cost of services three-fold.

But the real “icing on the cake” came when his boss stormed into his office infuriated, blaming Harold for something he had not done. Or rather something Harold had advised not to do, yet no-one listened to him, and now a major client had withdrawn investment. Someone always had to be blamed. And it was usually the calmest and quietest one that gets chosen as the scapegoat.

Harold erupted.

That was when he began to constantly feel angry and irritated. About everything. It took even the slightest of sounds to tick him off. He was fuming about the injustices that always fell upon him; how he was always blamed for things that went wrong, even when it was not his fault. He was annoyed at how nobody ever did their job or at least what they proclaimed they would do but always wanted to be paid the full amount no matter the quality or quantity of what they delivered. He was livid about how others always wanted you to adhere to your part of the agreement but never lived up to their own. But most of all he was enraged about how corrupt the human soul really is, having no qualm or remorse whatsoever in outright stealing, cheating and deceiving the other.

Harold had changed over the course of just a week.

He could no longer sleep at night, haunted by these thoughts that swarmed his mind like Erinyes. Even when he did manage to doze off for a while, he would wake up drowning in his own sweat with his heart racing, suffering panic attacks in his very sleep.

Nothing could offer any consolation any more. It was the curse of realizing no matter how good you are the bad somehow always end up getting their own way. He was tormented by things he was wronged about and, although he knew nothing could be done to change them, for some reason he could not let go or forget about them.

He had to move on.

All it really takes, is to find one person who will demonstrate that not everybody is the same. To be able to restore your confidence in humanity, your faith in kindness, and bring back the smile on your face.

For Harold that would arrive a month later. At a bar a few blocks from his house. In the form of a beautiful brunette who had also suffered many injustices in her life and who described herself as “walking bad luck”. Combined, they would change their destinies.

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The Journalistic Hunger Games

460475_journalismA taxi driver on our way to my destination one day told me that “journalism is a dirty job”. He said that journalists today must be “part of the system in order to succeed – to say one thing, think another, and do another. They are disgraceful”. And I was left wondering since when this occupation – one of the most wonderful and most important there are, ended up being thought of as inferior, non-profitable and “dirty”.

A graffiti in an EU country stated that a democracy is only as good as its journalists. Yet today almost everyone agrees that journalism worldwide has deteriorated. And this is not only due to the rise of social media, blogs and the widespread use of the Internet where everyone feels that they are qualified to write (about) anything. It is also because the quality of journalism has significantly declined. When articles published are badly written, lack information, are misspelled and without any syntax, how will journalism provide a good example to the masses?

One of the basic principles of journalism is that it will offer citizens the truth no matter the circumstances, and in a clear and simple way. Without destroying values, or taking a stance for or against an issue. This is the way it should be – the simple, unadorned, and unexaggerated truth.

So many journalists sacrifice their life for this exact principle – for the citizen’s right to proper information. In 2013 at least 70 journalists were killed in the line of duty, while in only the three first months of 2014, another 15 have already been killed. A profession for which people risk their lives should undoubtedly be respected. But just as in every other case, respect is something to be earned.

The so much bad journalism that exists today negates any good examples that still remain. And when people are more interested in the lives of “celebrities”, then journalism inevitably stoops down a level, with journalists themselves now becoming part of a profession that is not thought of as highly.

Of course, the fact that journalism is among those jobs where the worker is occupied long hours without a proper schedule, no real holidays or overtime, and receives a meagre salary, does not help at all. And in addition, journalists themselves are often scorned. For example, in high-level meetings such as Eurogroup and Ecofin Councils where the elite of governments, financial organisations and other officials gather to hold discussions and conferences, journalists are the ones who spend twelve-hours a day at the press centre trying to communicate to the people in a simple and coherent way what exactly is going on. Yet, they are often faced with insufficient space in which to work, weak Internet connections, and even lack of food. They are often treated as people of an inferior class, just like many employees, or at least all those who do not have a fancy title giving access to the relevant luxury that comes with. It is as if these employees and the other officials are separated into an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” clan. Journalists have to strive to earn their living (and their food), working hours on end in adverse conditions, while officials, delegates and “VIPs” freely enjoy luxurious lunches, extravagant dinners, and even exclusive (free) guided tours.

If journalism’s real purpose is to reveal corruption scandals for example, then ideally it should be clear of such issues itself. A bad name comes out of a bad example given. But it is now time for journalism and its employees to deservedly revive the glory that they lost long ago.

Gordie, the fat cat

fatcat

There was once a fat cat named Gordie,

who thought he was royal King Louis,

He would never eat out of cans,

or drink water from taps,

and would never be thought of as sloppy.

He was a picky fat cat,

and was teased by the rest of the pack,

but he cared not at all,

for he felt mighty and tall,

and believed he would rule them all shortly.

He would never look into the trash,

that was for those of a lower class,

but he would expect his plate out of brass,

to always be filled with big, fresh, sea bass.

He run around other fat cats,

to please his own rank,

for that made him more jolly and bossy.

There were days he felt he owned a bank,

and others were he simply drew a blank,

but he remained as sturdy as a tank,

as he often stated he “didn’t give a franc”.

Gordie was fat and proud of it;

He would never deny,

what was obvious to the eye,

but corruption was in oversupply,

and only proven by the private-eye.

And for this he still reigned,

as honest he so feigned,

and was considered the chief of the posse.

And as he lived a life in splendor

yapping at every slight offender,

he kept asking for more,

vowing power to never surrender.

But this potency vested greed,

and to him it was a deed,

to gain evermore,

no matter who he appalled,

for that is the very core

of why a fat cat is thus so-called!

The Power of Illusions

Perception-3There is a popular saying that “all that glitters is not gold”. And it is true. What appears to be one way, doesn’t necessarily mean it is truly so. A pretty house may hide inside it deserted rooms covered in cobwebs. Just like a big smile, may be masking unexpressed pain. Illusions have a huge part in our lives. But we often fail to realize how great their power actually is.

What appears to give a location or a person wealth, luxury and comfort does not completely cover up the fact that behind the expensive stores and villas, people may be found living out of makeshift homes, just like the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Just because this is not publicized enough, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Recently, for example, with the ongoing demonstrations in Turkey, CNN Turk was avoiding any news on the matter and instead broadcasting cooking shows. Yet, just outside their door a riot was breaking out and overtaking the headlines of international news media.

The amount and type of publicity something takes, greatly impacts on your psychology too. Advertising a destination as rich, colourful and luxurious, creates the illusion that there can be no wrong there, no danger, no risk. And yet, when a tsunami hits the very shores you are bathing at, you are caught unprepared, as that crystalline illusion is washed away in a surge of a tidal wave.

In crisis-struck countries of southern Europe, such as Greece, negative publicity creates an image in tourists’ minds that streets are filled with unbridled immigrants who are waiting for the opportune moment to attack, steal and plunder. That shopping streets are closed and deserted. That nationalistic sentiment has overtaken the calm and peaceful mentality that once was. And that no one is safe in a country full of crime, corruption and offences. But that is not the case. And it is truly a shame that such negative propaganda is what wins over the reality of a country as beautiful as Greece. That despite the crisis, and the unavoidable impact it has had particularly on small businesses, it still maintains its pride and life still goes on as usual, as people try to cope with the new laws, the additional cuts, and the extra taxes. But this negativity spreading internationally does not help. For people enter the country with the illusion that they might get attacked any minute now, and fear overwhelms them, as they look at all those faces travelling alongside them in the metro, and create conspiracy theories in their head. To the point that in the end they become afraid of even their own shadow.

Illusions work both ways. Not everything publicized as bad exists without any hidden trace of good; but neither does all that is advertised as perfect not bury something bad. Just as there are two sides to each coin, there are too sides to each story. And even though looking for both may risk you being dubbed a skeptic, it is better to know the whole story, rather than half the truth.

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