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Time to wake up! It’s International Anti-Corruption Day! How are you celebrating?

Time to wake up! It’s International Anti-Corruption Day! How are you celebrating?

Corruption in various forms seems to be running rampant all over the world. Relatively new nations encounter it in their struggle to build a fair society. Long-established countries face it while trying to maintain a working society. Public servants helping out those who grease their palms, large companies doing everything to get ahead – even if it means ignoring laws and people’s lives – in the short run bribery just favours one over another. Deplorably it is always the wealthy over the poor. Over time society as a whole corrodes, creating a neo-feudal culture of distrust and hostility.
One NGO fighting corruption worldwide is Transparency International, whose campaign Time to Wake Up is now running in 17 countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe, reaching over three million people. From rallies to animated video contests, to public debates and petitions, Time to Wake Up has had real impact. (more after the video)


In the Dominican Republic, the Time to Wake Up campaign has featured in large national demonstrations in the autumn of 2012. Following a major public advertising campaign, the chapter will hold a rally in the capital city on International Anti-Corruption Day, December 9.
In Chinese Taipei, the chapter worked with the local school district to produce 10 animated videos about different forms of corruption and how to stop it. The videos are shown throughout the school year to over 100,000 children.
In Hungary, the chapter held a huge water fight at a popular summer music festival, to symbolize waking up to the problem of corruption. In the autumn the chapter hosted a Corruption Thriller Film Festival and on December 7, for International Anti-Corruption Day, the chapter will hold an anti-corruption festival that includes a workshop, a mobile app contest and a live concert.
In Lebanon, the chapter has been running a massive public advertising campaign using the Time to Wake Up slogan and calling on Lebanese citizens to sign a petition calling for the government to sign the United Nations Convention against Corruption. At an event on December 9 the Lebanese Transparency Association will present the petition, currently with approximately 30,000 signatures, and call for more people to sign.


I have nothing to celebrate.

Concerning corruption there is nothing to celebrate in my country – unless you belong to those who profit from it. After 22 years living in Germany I have come back to Serbia and do not recognise my country any more. People are frustrated, disappointment marks their faces. Lethargically they bear the injustices the government heaps upon them day after day. It is as if they drop a large dose of analgesics every morning to get through the day without pain.
I have travelled the world and found that nowhere young people want to leave as eagerly as here, in Serbia. To me it seems paradox: They want to leave for a better future but one of the problems here is that they do not know what their future shall be like. But that is the requirement to improve life here, at home.


Corruption killed any hope for a better tomorrow. I am a bit afraid for the future when I hear young Serbs reiterate the old joke from the last days of the GDR: ‘Last one out switches off the lights!’ Sure, it is not all Serbs talking like this, but many think it. The same young folks who would have the strength to change something are using their youth to go away.

The truth is, it is not the rats fleeing the ship. The rats stay and the sailors leave.

They leave because they find the foundations of the stately ship rotten to the core. Corruption and injustice wrecked and ruined the very fundament a fair state is built upon. Currently Serbia develops a structure based upon human indifference and apathy.

The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in 176 countries and territories around the World [Link].

Here is what Transparency International found for Serbia

Independent organisations found a badly managed reform of the justice system, there seems to be no sensible plan to fight organised crime. The official security structure, from police through prosecution up to the courts is not sovereign, they often work clandestine and are pressured for political gains. Just look at this UN report on drugs and crime in Serbia

No state can survive in peace if it lacks fairness and proper justice. We need a good ethical basis upon which we build. We need the political will, the will of the people with or without a mandate to create a just society for all.

Let’s never forget: When the foundations rot away, everything falls, including the top floors! Let’s wake up and do something to stop corruption before our world collapses.

It’s International Anti-Corruption Day! How are you celebrating?



Transparency International, the Global Coalition against Corruption
Additional credits:
Many thanks to Dierk Haasis, who helped with writing and translating.

Belonging to the first generation of true Europeans, with roots almost covering the continent, I spread my life between Germany and Serbia. Read more