Being a Greek abroad becomes everyday more and more interesting but entails some risk too, especially taking into account the recent racist attacks against Greeks in England and Germany. It is also very easy to be well prepared for a 'get-to-know' discussion, as the first thing you will be asked is «how is the situation in Greece? » implying the existence of poverty, misery and frustration.
If something has been misapprehended in my view, this is the role and the cause of the popular strikes.
Of course I have been troubled at a great extent as a civilian and especially as a student, by the continuing strikes but you cannot present this outside, as just another unnecessary occasion for Greeks not to work. Sure you can disagree (and me too) with the way they are carried out and how they end up after some hours or days, when hooded find the “right” moment and they join to the peaceful crowd and destroy the initial protest. But we are now on this focal point, where unfortunately for a great part of the world, Greek is considered as the synonym of deceit, anarchy, laziness, corruption and public sector.
This article has no intent to leave Greeks untouched, who are responsible mainly for disguising a policy and perpetuating a mechanism of state operation (if ever it functioned), which sooner or later, would bring the country in the current situation, but it has no intent too to tolerate an existed pseudo supposing it represent the average Greek, who is economically suffering.
It is always depending on from which side you see things, because at the first sight you can see that Greeks work the most hours in Europe, but looking deeper you can see they are in the penultimate position in productivity. This is only an example, which can clearly tell us a totally whole different story.
Nevertheless, have you been really wondered, how would you feel if your income was cut in half a year by 1/3 and how would you feel if you saw your government (really do we have one?) making the one failure after the other? How would you feel, if you paid as you should and at the same time you saw the impunity making exceptions to the ones they have more than much?
The British as usually provoke once again with their new reality “Go Greek for a Week” and we are still wondering if during this week, their income is looted, if they feel the injustice, if they learn the importance of host Jupiter, of “filotimo” (unfortunately there is no translation – because it is a virtue, that British never had) and of the Greek soul. But I am fair enough and I recognize the challenges also came from the German Focus as well as from the Economist.
Yes, Greece and its long tradition and culture are not for sale! But what is occurred deliberately and well organized by states and institutions, finds response spontaneously by the people across the world who support and stand by the Greek people with solidarity, as for example the French people on 11.11.11, who understand that most of Creeks are suffering without losing their courage and hope. People now hopefully are not identified with the leaderships of their countries and they do not agree with all these measures, because they know they are going to be damaged themselves at a moment too.
We see the whole Europe has fire under its pants.
On the 23rd of April the former Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, announces under a dramatic tone, the country’s appeal to the support mechanism of IMF – EU. Months before, credit rating agencies were going from one degradation to another, cultivating thus a wholly negative climate on world markets and within about two years all became economical analysts and discuss the economic recession, the downturn of the development, the skyrocketing spreads and the deficit. And since then we have in our everyday vocabulary (the one of Greek economical crisis) and discussions, words like “memorandum”, “medium term”, “packages of economical measures” (I have really lost the counting) etc.
Suddenly or more obviously than ever the credit rating agencies have become policy makers and by degradations or even the mere menace of degradation they stress for political decisions.
The Papandreou government after its famous pre-electoral slogan “money do exist” came face to face with an unprecedented crisis, which of course was not a Greek one, but an international one, and even we are not willing to admit it, it stand on its feet and the height of the circumstances. Let’s not be mistaken, Greek people underwent the hardest measures after the period of “metapolitefsi” (regime change).
Referendum announcement – the political crisis of the 12 days and the transitional government
And we come to the announcement of the referendum with a European Union, who cannot believe in its ears, even if the former PM claimed that he has referred to that prospect in talks with the German Chancellor and the French President. A Criminal act! Some may argue that what can be more democratic for Greek people than this decision, a free popular expression? Of course it goes for a democratic action but for sure it was not at the right moment. Actually it was announced at the worst moment. Not because everything was perfect, but many things were re-regulated under the agreement of 21st of July.
Nevertheless, one of the interesting points emerged the days after the announcement of the referendum was the existence of a plan B for the exit of Greece from Euro zone; something that causes questions mainly for the euro zone itself since there was for 50 years no plan for a support mechanism i.e a European monetary foundation, but a plan B for Greece exit was already ready!
But everything comes with a toll and in this case, the toll was the end of Papandreou’s government. A highly anticipated move, that for Europe and Greek parties, even from the inside of Papandreou’s party, was considered necessary even liberating, as if we had already the new government ready to solve as a deus ex machina all problems in Greece. The days and hours followed were ones of a low – comedy-tragical stigma, waiting “from one moment to another” the name of the new PM and the formation of the new transitional government, with an opposition, which was following an anti- memorandum policy to “playing games” even at the last moment.
Italy: Say me Greece? Don’t rush!
The Domino effect, which we were afraid of back in 2008, is now happening before us and Europe unfortunately still stands disable remaining to talks for a European mechanism or a common policy.
Hurry up Berlin and Paris, because I don’t see many countries stay outside the dominant sphere of IMF, as you do not make any decisive progress and stay watching. We are all wondering «who does make the game in Europe IMF or EU? » But this is rather a rhetoric question anymore. Italy is eventually closer to the situation and the events of Greece, albeit with significant differences, where we see that the Cavaliere resigned and he was replaced by a technocrat. This makes me but keep wondering if it is now the era of technocrats. And if yes, have they to offer something different, have they to suggest a better political or not proposal at the end of the day?
Of course this will not be answered in the case of Greece at least, because of the limited time given to the Papadimou government and it’s limited aims. But here we go again making false?
We will still continue with the two families governing for all these years and they are almost exclusively responsible for the current bad situation of the country? The answer must be a NO; a strong "no" widely spread, which should translated nor to a turnout in the next elections nor to political apathy. In contrast, it should be translated to an active as never participation of the civilians and in particular of the youth. Only by boosting the education can things change. Hopefully something seems to change finally; maybe because all these years were in charge of the state either PASOK (the socialist party) or Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy) on the grounds of people’s mentality who were voting them by habitude, or because of not having another true alternative and especially because of the third age, which reached to a point voting not even the face but a simple “left” or “right”. However the positions of “left” and “right” and their representatives only as a cheap joke can now be told.
Change Now! Not a renovation but a reconstruction!
Greece shall change its clothes, beginning actually from the composition of its parliament. It must ward off deep rooted politician used to the “gold age of corruption” and step up looking ahead. For 18 months now, we all say that it is the momentum for Greece either to sink itself or to stand on its feet. In my view, Greece needs essentially two things: Youth by its side and a mentality change. It is very sad hearing and knowing many Greeks abandon their country and achieve in other countries producing abroad great results and boosting other economies. Greece shall help the youth in order youth to help the country, even by dealing with the political scene. Some may argue that young people are inexperienced and I come to answer with a question:
"What have we made with the “experienced" politicians?".
Greeks are frustrated and this time they have the willingness to change themselves. You can see it everywhere on the roads, at squares, at universities. The Greek political System will be forced to accept a fait accompli in the near future. In this milestone, we need politicians with a strong vision and this is a global need. Politicians 60 years ago made again the world from its asses now they demolish it!