Greek crisis. What are your thoughts when you think of this? “Poor Greeks”. “Greeks stole our money”. “Greeks are lazy”. These are some of the comments I hear from people from around Europe. Let me explain you why non of this is right.
Greece has a full history. 400 years of slavory, 100 years of war for freedom, 5 years war against the Nazis, 4 years of civil war,7 years of dectatorship. And all this is the modern history of Greece only. There are a lot of people who remember the butchery of women and children from the Nazis. My grandmother lost a couple of brothers in this war.
Anyway, as you can understand our ancestors had to fight a lot for freedom! And I am really proud of them! And our parents had to fight for their and our labor rights. And then on 2001 Greece enters the eurozone. Euro is our new currency and everybody believes that our problems are over. Well, ok, not everybody!
When we entered the eurozone some of the fiscal data were fake. But the EU leaders knew all about it and they still let us in. (Would it be too extreme to think there was a plan all this time?)
But we held the Olympic Games of 2004. You know, the Games returned home. What a dream! I remember the thrill I felt the first time I went to the Olympic stadium to watch a game and the olympic fire was on and all were just amazing. My mother was volunteering back then so I got to hang around a lot. It really was the golden days. Fake, yes, but everybody could live what Americans call ‘The American Dream”. You know, a car, maybe two, a home, vacations on the islands, good studies for the children and so on.
Then 2009 came. “We have a debt problem” the government said. We had to sign a memorandum with the so called Troika (a word to hate!). So to sum it up a bit, after 5 years of programs in Greece we count:
-6,000 suicides (due to economic difficulties)
-6,3 million Greeks are living in the limits of poverty (that means less than 980 euros for a 4-member family)
-650,000 children starve each day.
-30% unemployment, but 60% unemployment for the young people (under 35 years old)
-200,000 of economic immigrants
-586 euro the minimum wage (when my rent is 250 euros, the electicity, water and telephone is extra!) Of course education and experience is just in pros to get the job, not to get the proportionate wage. Plus, the full time jobs are so few nowadays.
Oh, and for those under 25 years old is 15% off. (When I was not unemployed I was working 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and my wage was 320 euro!)
-All pensions have been cut. Some maybe even by half. Everytime I go to the super market there are old people outside aking for food. You know there is no more dishonorable thing than cutting pensions. These people can’t work, but they had been working for 35 years and paid all their contributions and taxes.
-The VAT has raised these years 4% . That means at least 4% more expressive everything.
-Every year since 2013 we have to pay tax for our homes. It is like we rent the houses we own, these houses we bought after years and years of work.
-There are people who have no homes anymore. Everywhere you go you can see people sleeping on the road. Homeless people that 5 years ago had a decent job, a beautiful home, a beautiful life.
-The education system is to cry for. The universities don’t have money. But the worst is that elemenatry schools, secondary schools, high schools don’t have even heat for the winter months. The schildren have to wear jackets and scarves and gloves during the lessons. Plus, if someone wants to enter to the univerity he has to pay tutorials for all 7 or 6 lessons in the final exams (the cost in more than a 1,000 euro per month, but as I said earlier the wage is 586 euro)
-And the national healthcare system… I don’t even want to talk about it. We just wish we never get sick.
Do your country’s media show you the lines outside banks after this weekend? Yes? Were these past 5 years showing you people searching food in the garbage or, maybe, the lines for the free meals? Or the children passing out in the school? Or did they even bothered to show you the demonstrations and what the riot police was doing?
And now you are probably asking “but my country lended you money, where did these money go?” THE BANKS! 90% of the money we borrowed with the programs went to the banks! If you don’t believe me you can watch HERE the talk of a member of the Belgium parliament.
And now we have the chance to vote on a referendum and everybody in Europe is against it. Well, sorry but this is DEMOCRACY.
And I do not fear the “NO”. No to memorandums and no to extortions.
As Kazantzakis said “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”
The reason I started this post with a reference to the Greek modern history is because every time Greece falls is due to traitors. Not the Jon Snow style though. The modern traitors are the governments that tromped out dignity by voting almost 200 new laws in one night and non of them had read those laws (yes, this is what they said about memorandum no. 1).
V for Vendetta said “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” I am waiting for this moment.
I am sorry if this was too heavy for you to read. I just felt the need to share with you. I hope my images from sunny Athens shot a morning some months ago from the Acropolis hill can make it up!
Although if you read the text, I would really appreciate any kind of comments. All opinions are accepted. You know, democracy!!