no salvation

I read a powerful article today; I thought I’d translate it from Greek to English and post it here.  The article was written by Kostas Rodinos and published on AntiNews.     This is my very unofficial translation, but I hope you get the idea.  It may give you a window into the way many people here feel right now.  (Not all, of course.  Greece is no more singleminded than any other democratic country.)

We don’t want any more salvation.

I was reading the headlines in the foreign press this morning. “The Greeks give the shirt off their backs,” wrote a German paper, “Greece is hanging over the abyss,” noted another, “The decisions of the Greeks don’t persuade the Europeans,” wrote a third. And up close, the bitter statements of our “partners,” who create this environment.

Fuck it all!

You have descended into repulsiveness. We are sick of you. We are dead tired. We can’t take any more.

A little respect… If you want to help Greece, do it in a way that doesn’t insult the Greeks. If, on the other hand, you don’t want to help Greece, why go on hassling us? Why don’t you have the nobility to say: “You’ve screwed up so badly, deal with it yourselves! Cut off your own heads for all we care…”

It would be an honorable position.

I would like to know who among you would ever dare to show up in his own Parliament and suggest austerity measures like those you are asking from Greece? Not one.

“Yes, but Greece is a special situation,” you have learned to parrot lately. Certainly it is the case: Greece is a special and unique situation.

Because which other Eurogroup country is facing external threats to her national security?

Against which other country do her neighbors make territorial aggression, and are her borders questioned?

Which other Eurogroup country spends more on national defense, relative to GDP?

Which other Eurogroup country receives the caravans of illegal aliens that Greece does?

Which other Eurogroup country is obligated to run an – even if faulty – administrative mechanism to keep hundreds of islands alive?

Don’t tell me you don’t know about all this?  And to come to more … pedestrian issues:  Which other country, just within these past two years:

– Reduced the quality of life of its citizens by nearly 34%?
– Increased the price of fuel by almost 100%?
– Increased sales tax (VAT) in some cases by almost 100%?
– Increased the price of public transport by 40%?
– Saw an increase in the rate of unemployment by ten percentage points (at least)?
– Decreased wages and pensions by 25%, and up to 40% in some cases?
– Is entering the 5th year of recession?
– Is being threatened with the institution of an external Committee (administration), or is being threatened to “yield national sovereignty”?
– Which other country has been slandered to such an extreme degree?

I very much fear that whatever measures we take, they will never be enough for our creditors.

They will always ask for something more. And that “something more” will lead to something more than that “something more.”

I am certain that even if the Greek Parliament voted a minimum wage of 100 euros per month and a maximum Social Security retirement pension of 200 euros per month, still they would not be satisfied.

Why? Because I begin to suspect that the continuation of the Greek crisis is, for some, a convenient excuse:

– to destabilize the values of the European social state
– to install a type of overseership on the smaller countries
– to play profiteering games
– to come here and snatch up properties for a penny
– to present us as a “special case” and an example to be avoided for any future naughty countries.

I am sorry, but this tactic has no future. I will never forget how, years ago, I visited an acquaintaince of mine in the hospital, who was dying of cancer. While we spoke, a nurse came to administer his chemotherapy. He looked at her calmly and he said: “Tell the doctor that I don’t want any more salvation! I can’t take it anymore.”

“And what do you suggest?” you will ask.

I read an article this morning by El-Erian in the Financial Times with the title “The Greek deal faces the fate of its forebears,” which begins as follows:  [article quotes first paragraph of linked FT article]

Well then, what are we arguing about? In other words, the much advertised deal is considered terminally ill before it’s even voted!

The only solution that remains:

First, we should ask the Troika to leave the country. Their recipe has failed. They are leading us to catastrophe.

Secondly, elections should immediately be called. Today’s Parliament in no way expressses the popular will and has no legal right to make decisions that hold sway over the future of this country for decades.

Thirdly, the new government should take it upon itself to, within the first trimester, present a program for the way out of the abyss. A program that does not humiliate the country and one that can actually be put into play. If the EU wants to support it, that’s great. If not, that’s great too.

“And with your 14.4 billion in bonds maturing in March, what will happen?” Manolis Kapsis would ask. The political parties would announce that with the call for elections, the Greek state is willing to renew that bond, with its original terms, and with maturation date of March, 2042. Take it or leave it.

“But isn’t that a recipe for default?” some will ask.

Is it?

I close, with a few further notes:

First, they have been blackmailing us for two years with the threat of default. I say we call their bluff. Because, if they mean it, they’d do it in any case, so why put up with a catastrophic ‘deal’?

Secondly, if they really wanted to “save” us, they would have done so.

Thirdly, the dignity of the nation is not for sale. They cannot save us and humiliate us.

P.S. Reuters began relaying Mr. Schauble’s statement before I finished writing this, according to which it seems he is saying that with the new program, the Greek debt is not necessarily to be considered ‘manageable.’ Already the undermining of the new program has begun.

By Kostas Rodinos.

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20 thoughts on “no salvation

    • Wait a second… I don’t think that we Germans are that bad… There was a news paper article today that said that we were told to be nazis in a greek news paper and greek people that live here understand the pain that all this causes for their own people in Greece but something has to change!
      I don’t think it’s easy either but only saying that Germans are bad doesn’t solve anything… or even Europeans .. whatever… we spent so much money because of this…

      • You know, I live in Germany. The shooting for Greece started in Germany through German news papers. Their propaganda was worse than the Hitler’s propaganda. And of course it was not truth. I would like to write some numbers to explain why this was not truth, but I think I will lose my time. But anyway

        1) Greek state income through taxation etc. 55 billion Euro. German stat income through taxation etc. 561 billion Euro. Divide them through the population. You will find, that every greek pays 5.500 Euros per year for taxes, every German 7.500 Euros every year. BUT in Greece there is no social welfare system like in Germany. The cost for this system is in Germany 50% of the federal tax income. The federate tax income is 300 billion Euro, it means that you have to take out this money from the account. So you have to divide 561-150=411/80 million Germans =5 137 Euro per capita. It means that before the crisis the Greeks have payed the same taxes as the Germans although they have had 20% less income.

        2) Go to wikipedia and find the GDP of Greece and Germany. It is in $. Transfer it to euro and calculate how mach in percentage pay Greeks and Germans in taxes. I gave you the numbers of the taxes above. It is about 22% for Germans and 20% for Greeks. I am repeating again: We don’t have social welfare system in Greece. It means normally our taxation as a GDP percentage should be about 15%.

        3) There is no corruption scandal in Greece without a German company involved in it. Normally they use for doing the bribery Greeks who have studied in Germany. They have pay bribery to some politicians and then of course they blackmailed them.

        I could write some other reasons, about 10 or 20 about Germany’s role role in the crisis. In my opinion the problem for Europe is not Greece but Germany. It would have been less problematish without Germany participating in Europe.
        And please read some British or USA news papers and you will find more criticism about the negative Germany’s role in the crisis.

        • I’m sorry I guess the information I had wasn’t enough 🙂
          And just that you don’t misunderstand… I didn’t mean that it was only Greece’s fault…

      • Germany’s Role in the European Debt Crisis

        True austerity within the European Union would have been disastrous for the German economy, since declines in consumption would have come at the expense of German exports. While demand from Greece is only a small portion of these exports, Greece is part of the larger system — and the proper functioning of that system is very much in Germany’s strategic interests. The Germans claim the Greeks deceived their creditors and the European Union. A more comprehensive explanation would include the fact that the Germans willingly turned a blind eye. Though Greece is an extreme case, Germany’s overall interest has been to maintain European demand — and thus avoid prudent austerity — as long as possible.

        That’s the whole truth …

        Germany certainly was complicit in the lending practices that led to Greece’s predicament. It is possible that the Greeks kept the whole truth about the Greek economy from their creditors, but even so, the German demand for suspension of Greek national self-determination is particularly striking.

        and I have to answer only to that. Greece used the same tools like every other European country to join the Euro. If greek statistics were not correct because of the usage of the economic tools, it is very possible that the other European statistics were not correct because this countries used the same tools. But except that, Greece after the Olympic Games of 2004 was obliged by the EU to check its data again. There was a problem with the deficit in 2004-2005. In 2006 the deficit was less than 3%. Germany says, that the statistics of Greece are not in order and the books are cooked. They announced an investigative commission from the European parliament and another on from the Greek parliament. I’m still waiting for the commissions to start their job. They won’t start!!! You know why? Because the statistics were orderly, they can’t find any mistakes and therefore they avoid to make known to the entire globe, that they executed Greece telling lies about fake Greek statistics.

        If it is not truth what I say they can, after three years of the announcement of the investigative commissions to send me the reports telling something else.

  1. I can certainly understand how people would feel this way..instead of partnering and trying to build a solution with valid input from the people with the problem and who have to live with it, outsiders are pointing fingers and dictating what should be done no natter how onerous that might be on the citizens .. things need to change

  2. I so agree! Too much is too much – and it’s indeed a shame how Greece is being treated. No good can come out of it anyway. In Flanders we would say “one cannot peel a stone” … If I were Greece, I wouldn’t want this kind of humiliation either – salvation or not!! And if Europe would go down with Greece (which most likely will never happen) – then that’s what we deserve! I’m with the Greece: shame on Europe!

  3. I think that a country salvation’s comes first and foremost from itself. When a person is in crisis, the said person tries first to solve the crisis by themselves, to see what they did that lead them to the crisis and try to make things right. If the said person only looks for help from outside and blames everyone else, but themselves for the crisis, and fights with everyone because the others don’t bring exactly what the person expects, this person will never solve their problem, but only deepen it.

    I know that those who are really affected by this situation are the normal, common people. The politicians, like everywhere keep their warm seats, their huge salaries (from public money, usually) and their life stile. As usual, those guilty for the crisis stay up there, untouched, while the common people have to tighten the belt and deal with unemployment and all sorts of miseries. And, as usual, those up there, responsible for the crisis try to divert the attention of the people from the real guilty ones, and find an escape goat, be it EU or the aliens or the snow storm. This doesn’t apply to your country only, it applies to every one, it’s the usual game of those up there, the politicians.

    I feel deeply for your country, and for the common people. I visited Greece and I loved it, it’s a beautiful country with really nice people. I find it right that people revolt against the situation there, but people shouldn’t allow the politicians, those that drove the country into the crisis, manipulate them. People should use their revolts and energy against the real guilty ones.

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