Why am I always the one defending the Greeks?!?!
Last Wednesday I nearly got in verbal sparring match with my old German senior, who is convinced that Alexis Tsipras from the Syriza party is a hard-line communist.
No my friend, that would the KKE who have said, that if they get the majority in parliament, there would never be any more elections! Yes, Tsipras is radically left, but I was personally surprised that my senior was more concerned about him, than the fact that the neo-nazis (Golden Dawn) had gotten seats in parliament this election!
Here’s a quote from the NYT.
On the spectrum, Syriza falls between the Greek Communist Party, which never broke with Moscow during the cold war and rejects the euro and the European Union, and the Socialist Party, known as Pasok, which is seen as more of a patronage network than an ideology. Syriza is an umbrella of leftist parties ranging from softer-line communists to Marxists to social democrats. The “radical” in its Greek name translates more accurately as “nontraditional.”
But that’s fine. Greek politics are mind-boggling complicated. But what I tried to explain to him, was that if you have politicians who are also the wealthy members of society and practice an advanced form of nepotism, where they appoint friends and family into office just so they can qualify for the sweet retirement package and if you consider that the position of Prime Minister is practically handed down to the children of the major political families, as in the case of Papandreou, whose father and grandfather were both prime ministers, well, it’s easy to see how corrupt the politics in Greece are.
At any rate I was flabbergasted because, at this point look, I understand, Germany doesn’t want to be hated for giving Greece money. And sure you could argue that they still owe Greece money from the war, but as the US also still owes France money from the Revolutionary War, (or is it vice versa?) what does that really mean anymore. What’s more morally wrong is the history of the rest of Europe’s financially predatory money lending to Greece in every time of crisis, from the Greek War for Independence, til rebuilding after the war.
As I said it’s long and complicated and I’m currently re-reading “A Concise History of Greece” by Richard Clogg so that I can really understand the politics.
I think Europe has done massively wrong by Greece in terms of finances and continues to do so. Good. Most people won’t agree with me. Even people in Greece like to tell me and honestly believe, that it’s a bunch of Jews in NYC trying to steal the “money” from their country. Great whatever guys, blame the Jews. Yeah these bonds are garbage and they came from Goldman Sachs. But they weren’t the ones buying homes sold at an artificially listed price because the real value with inflation would have meant higher taxes. Not to mention that they were even built upon land that was burnt by arsonist. It goes on and on.
Back to my German senior, my point was only that you cannot shake your finger at Greece for corruption and then when the people finally vote these decrepit parties out of power, stamp your feet and say “we don’t like that either”. You’re not the boss of Greece. And if you fail to understand that the Greek are supremely proud of their country and don’t want help from the “nazis” who marched through it, still in living memory, then I just can’t help you.
It’d be great if they sent tax people from Europe to Greece, but that isn’t going to happen if the effort is spearheaded by the Germans. It’s unfortunate, but true: a little bit of this conflict is made worse, by the part of Germany’s history, that they’d very much like to have behind them now. What Europe needs is a better way of organizing responsibility for the Euro, i.e. European tax collection agencies, that is truly multi-national. With all the bureaucracy of Europe, it’s hard to say, go on give us some more, but I think it’s clear now that Germany isn’t effective, trying to take on this responsibility alone.
Merkel btw the way is becoming more and more ridiculous. She just suggested creating a referendum for the Greeks about whether they wanted to stay in the Euro zone. Wait a second Frau Merkel, didn’t Papandreou suggest something similar before you flipped out at him for his cheek? Have you read any of the opinion polls coming from Greece? No one wants to leave! But you can’t raise taxes, fire people, cut salaries by half, and demand full taxes from normal citizens for the first time in who knows how long, all at the same time! Greece didn’t demand to be in the Euro zone, they were invited! There would be the same reaction in Germany. You are kidding yourself. Not to mention everyone here is taking simplistic moral arguments, instead of bothering to learn further details about the crisis. How dare the Greeks stand up for themselves! How dare they decide not to let people starve because of a banking crisis! The nerve of people not to fall in line and do precisely what Germany dictates! How dare Hollande suggest growth instead of austerity!
Here’s the latest news about the changing opinion of our dear chancellor.
Don’t believe everything you read in American newspapers. I’m confronted by so much schadenfreude when I read the drivel that is printed there. We’d just love it if the Euro failed, huh? Then it would just prove that the dollar is the best and “socialism” is worthless. Puh-lease.
Excuse me for my rant, but I’m tired of people not really understanding what’s going on and calling all Greeks lazy good for nothings. Did anyone catch the Bild list of top ten European countries who work the most? Germany didn’t make it, but Greece did.
Everyone needs to take a bit of responsibility here and do a little less finger-pointing.
Btw if I have children and the US continues to tax based on citizenship, there’s a good chance they will be only Greek citizens, so I suppose it’s only fair I start defending them now! Haha.
Here’s a brilliant Youtube video. It’s not perfect, but it makes a good argument.