my post yesterday regarding Greece’s economic predicament, in which I urged the long view – if geology has its way, Greece will be swallowed up by Africa – and suggested that Greece isn’t pensions and the minimum wage, but its poets, philosophers and so on: I thought that, maybe, sat here in London, 1500 miles from Athens, I was being somewhat flippant and unsympathetic.
Thus, I decided to give the view from Greece and have translated the piece below by Giorgos Delastik from today’s Ethnos, which castigates the Greek government for accepting the conditions of the latest bailout from the IMF and the EU, claims that Greece is under ‘economic occupation’ and predicts that, unless Greece fights back, it is destined to become an impoverished backwater of the Fourth Reich.
I am not convinced by Delastik’s argument, as it still suggests the crisis is about bad foreigners and good Greeks and fails to accept that the dismantling of the Greek economy was inevitable given that it was built on such unsustainable foundations and that, really, it was up to the Greeks to do this before things got as bad as they did and outsiders had to be called in.
Indeed, even when outsiders were called in, Greece still had the opportunity to ward off the worst effects of this necessary restructuring of the Greek economy by charting a new path for itself by itself, but because of two factors, for which Greeks are wholly responsible, and which I’ve been saying from the start would mean the bailouts and austerity would count for nothing, Greece was not able to take control of its destiny. These two factors are: 1. the inability of the Greek state to assert itself; and, 2. the inability of Greek society to reform itself.
Anyway, here is my translation of Delastik’s article:
It’s over! Greeks in the tomb
Indecisive, enthral to fate, pygmies. Nothing was negotiated. Nothing was salvaged. They caved in to all the terms demanded of them by their EU and IMF overlords, casting the country into a darkness deeper than its experienced in its modern history. To blame are the leaders of the political parties in the coalition government – Giorgos Papandreou of Pasok, Antonis Samaras of New Democracy and Giorgos Karatzaferis of LAOS.
It proved exceptionally easy to overcome those ‘red lines’ which for six months Samaras has been saying were non-negotiable – they melted away like ice cream in the Sahara. As for Papandreou and Karatzaferis, there was no doubt as to what they do would do, since they had already voted for the first Memorandum; but it has now been revealed that Samaras, at the crucial time, didn’t have the courage to differentiate himself from those he had been chiding, and in the end he’s reserved for himself a place in the same category as those already condemned in the consciences of the Greek people.
The names of all those who had positions of responsibility and agreed to surrender to the demands of the social barbarians from the EU and the IMF will be written in black letters in Greek history’s annals of shame – not that the guilty will be bothered.
The future of the country is being grimly eradicated after this capitulation to foreign lenders. Millions of Greeks will fall victim to this economic occupation. Already, there are a million ‘dead’ – those made unemployed by the policies imposed by the first Memorandum: the number of unemployed came to 1.029.000 in November – that is, at a time when many businesses were clinging to the hope that perhaps the holiday season might provide them with the kiss of life.
But now that every hope for economic revival has disappeared, it seems inevitable that the number of unemployed by June will reach 1.5 million, meaning that 30 per cent of Greece’s active workforce will be without jobs.
The ‘dictatorship of the lenders’ will not show any mercy despite the economic plight of the subject population of Greece. They are foreigners; what do they care about the Greeks? Like moneylenders down the years, all they’re interested in is how to spend their billions.
They’re not a philanthropic institution, concerned that Greeks are hungry, that our schools are closing, and our hospitals falling apart.
At most, they might appeal to German priests to organise some… philanthropic mission to hand out rations to the starving Greeks, to put on a show for German TV and reinforce Berlin’s propaganda that Greece is being saved and, on top of that, being fed.
The EU and the IMF are ruthlessly and effectively promoting their aim, which is nothing more than the squeezing of Greek salaries – to 500 euros a month, a thousand euros at most; a fall in pensions – to three-four hundred euros a month; and the firing of hundreds of thousands of civil servants and millions in the private sector, so that, in the end, Greece will be reduced – just like all the other countries in the European south – to the category of cheap and impoverished regions of the Fourth Reich.
This has already been the fate of those former socialist countries from Eastern Europe, who entered the EU and were ‘saved’.
Grim times for Greece and for Greeks. There is no halting this headlong rush towards the abyss. The avarice of the European dynasts cannot be satiated. So long as in our country there is not a prolonged social explosion, the logic of our sovereigns will be that ‘the beast of burden can take it, pile more on its back’.
They’ve made clear that in June they’re going to take even further measures. They’re going to slash pensions this time. Now they’re not even scared to say in advance what pain they’re going to inflict on the Greek people. Woe to the vanquished…
*(I should add, for what’s it worth, that my opinion is that enough is enough and Greece shouldn’t approve the new bailout deal and should default instead).