Sunday, 27 May 2012

Oscillation (Tαλάντωση)

Anything could happen from now till the elections. We've been given a long long long time to decide who to vote for, in a day and age when things change so quickly. Every day, my idea about who to vote for may change according to what I see and hear going on around me. I find it difficult to work out how I will decide: on the one hand, the Greek media pushes only mainstream opinions onto us, while on the other hand, the international mainstream media treat the Greek elections with total disrespect, with horrendous press coverage given to the wrong issues. Both the Greek and international media are misleading people by the way they cover only the "Will she stay or will she go?" issue. Greece is at the forefront of global news every day, but only in this context; no consideration is given to the real issue: "Greek people want a government that works in the interests of the whole nation". 

I listen to Greek news in Greek, but I prefer to read news in English. Here's how I've seen the election period since voting day was announced. I hope it adds a different dimension to the issue, as well as giving an insight to the Greek identity; we cannot remain unaffected by the current events. The opinions expressed in this post are mine alone. 

"The problem with the Greek media today is not just that thousands have been left out of work. It's also that democracy is on the line .... The very same people who created this crisis insist today that they will overcome it. In reality what they do is that they manipulate public opinion. They're matching the policies of the Troika and the IMF and they control journalism. All those who have been thrown out of the media organise themselves and create their own experimental cooperatives which can provide real information as opposed to the directives coming from the elites who are selling austerity and authoritarianism."
D. Trimis, the president of the Union of Greek Journalists

Wednesday, 16 May 
Second election date announced: 17 June. Schools close 15 June - why are they giving us so long to decide? Probably to plan the Grexit from the €ΕU - or maybe to give everyone time to take out all their money from Greece safely: Greece will always be a poor nation full of rich people.

SIRIZA: it’s all Greek to foreigners! They sound like commie bastards to me: civil servants will get pay rises, OTE and Olympic will be renationalised and the memorandum will be scrapped. Does Tsipras think Merkel's going to say: "Wow! What a magnificent idea, Alex, let's do it"?

New PM: Panayotis Pikrammenos. Does the foreign press know what his surname actually means*? Once they cotton on, they will have a field day.

Thursday, 17 May
"... either that, or those who lead the party have no idea how Europe works" - is Tsipras misleading people or is it time Europe changed the way she works? Samaras continues to spit his venom: SYRIZA was a coalition of forces ranging from anarchists to “those who want to resurrect the hammer and sickle.” All he cares about is that the old two-party system has been busted, and he's up against SIRIZA, but wishes it was PASOK - better the devil you know. 

Husband: All parties will be included in the next round, but a few will become coalitions: Dora goes back to ND, along with a few more δεινόσαυροι** while Katseli goes with Tsipras. No wonder he named Arsenis to lead the interim government – that’s her husband, for crying out loud! Kammenos, Kouvelis and the Greens may join someone else too. Maybe I can still vote the Greens...

Bloody hell: Dear Mr #Tsipras: stick to the Greek language and use an interpreter. Did he really need to experiment with Amanpour?!?!?!

Friday, 18 May
via FB: Tsipras declared €48,000 in income last year, with €9,000 in savings, his own home (114 sq. m.) and a 650cc motorbike. (Average Greek his age makes €0, with €0 in savings, living in the family home and can only afford to take the bus. Γεια σου ρε Τσίπρα, παιδί του λαού!
- Αλέξη τρέλανέ τους ΟΛΟΥΣ!! Βγάλε την Ελλάδα από την Ευρώπη και βάλτην στην Ανταρκτική, να την ψάχνουν ΟΛΟΙ για να πάρουν τα λεφτά τους πίσω!
- Όποιος ισχυρίζεται ότι οι "ξένοι" μπλοφάρουν και ότι "μας φοβούνται" και λοιπά φαιδρά, ας διαβάσει προσεκτικά λίγο Ελληνική πολιτική ιστορία απ'το 1920. 
Everyone is playing bluff: everyone keeps forgetting that we are all in this together.

via online news:
Merkel has just given Papoulia a call - what game is she playing, by calling her subordinate? And why not Pikrammenos insteaad? Perhaps she sees him as a temporary puppet. The French PM says "We waited too long before helping Greece" while Schauble says "It's up to Greek politicians to explain the reality to their people and not make false promise. We want Greece to stay in the euro but meet its commitments and that's a decision that's up to the Greeks." Everyone is pretending that there is no problem: Greece's relationship with Germany and the eurozone is a case of pushmi-pullyu.

a few OMG's:
Easier said than done
Papariga's thinking of getting a nose piercing: Αν φέρει νόμο κατά του Μνημονίου, να μου τρυπήσετε τη μύτη (she can get Μαίρη Συνατσάκη to do it for her). I love Paris Match's first page headline: Tsipras is the fear of Europe?!?! SCHULTZ says keep to what we agreed on and we will  keep supporting you; if GR leaves the euro, it's logical that others will leave too. Maybe they will see how easy and better it is to start over. And one from the μπαμπούλα, Mr Scary Spice himself: he can't wait to see us go.

Husband: Europe has realised that the μαλάκες in Greece have all gone home to bed.

Saturday, 19 May
Iraklio window display
my colleagues at the English examinations in Iraklio: 
"You're not voting Tsipras, are you?!"
"He looks so smug, with that baby-faced cheeky smile of his."
"What does Tsipras know? He's just a kid!"
"I used to be a student activist and I was always a member of the δεκαπενταμελές at high school, because I believed in what I was doing and I believed that I could help to make a change. At university, I realised that no one else actually believed in what they were doing, but they were only interested in getting voted into the student bodies. I've quit politics forever since then. It's simply a power game, no one enters it for the good of the people."
"I like DRASI - they sound like economists who know what they're doing." (they're headed by an ex-big-party man - ουστ for me).

taxi driver in Iraklio:
"I'm voting Tsipras, girls. He's offering a rope in the well. We can't see what's at the end of it, nor do we know if the rope is rotten, but it's better than nothing." (NB: He didn't use a meter, and he over-charged us - and, like good Greeks, we said nothing.)
Above: Olympic Hotel breakfast from the buffet table. Below: Every time I leave home for work purposes, my kids know that I bring back presents (this year, it was chocolates). This is how Greek people will vote: not on national interests, but on personal ones.
Sunday, 20 May
TV news snippet - heard before going down to the hotel breakfast:
"Dora/ND marriage may take place today."
Another TV news snippet - heard at home once I returned home from Iraklio:
Merkel wants a referendum on EU membership - she is so over.

Nice photo choice for Mark Lowen's question about whether Greece has the energy for a fight - a beggar in Athens against a background of rioters. Is that Greece or is that just Athens? "It could all read like a script from an Aeschylus tragedy... Germany knows that most Greeks like the Euro. Greeks know Germany fears that one country leaving could lead the whole European project to unravel. Which side will blink first?" But it's not Greece doing the fighting, it's other countries bickering over Greece's decisions for herself.

Monday, 21 May
Th BBC has probably already written the first article that will come out on the day Greece exits the €ΕU. And the bogeyman strikes again: he can't wait to see us go. Balls to him then.

Mega channel news: Chippy's in France - wanted to meet Hollande but couldn't prendre du cafe with him due to presidential protocol
- PASOK's Anna Diamantopoulou actually said so many sensible things; why didn't she ever say them before?
- Tzohatzopoulos' diaries show he'd oiled everyone in politics. That's it: I'm not voting for PASOK, ND, KKE, anyone who was previously involved with them, NAZIs, or rich people who have nothing better to do than be involved in politics; maybe I can vote λευκό, or make my vote invalid. Or simply not vote. Whatever road Greece takes, it's going to be bad. (DO NOT VOTE for any spin-offs, no matter how nice their candidates seem - the party's well and truly over and they really do know it, end of story). 

Tuesday, 22 May
via FB: Δηλαδή, όποιος αρνείται ψήφο στο ΠΑΣΟΚ και στη ΝΔ λέει όχι στο ευρω;
Από πού βγαίνει αυτό ρε παιδιά; Κι ύστερα λένε για μας του Πόντιους !
(Χάρρυ Κλυνν)

via online news:
- Poll reveals 72% believe Greece will leave single currency: the Brits would really like that; they are so out of touch, but at least they seem to have cottoned on about the bogeyman...
tsipras efivos
Boy Wonder in the 90s, when he spent 
most of his time in demonstrations
- They're all dying to meet Boy Wonder - για να τον κάνουν με τα κρεμμυδάκια και να τον φάνε λάχανο afterwards?? Congratulations Chippy - calling someone Olandreou is definitely not going to get you friends; neither is telling them to come and spend their holidays in Greece to show their solidarity with the crippled Greek people - they will think you just want their money.
- For God's sake, we are not Argentina! We cannot be Argentina, even if we wanted to! I'm with Argiro on this one - there will be no drachmageddon because Greece will never be allowed to leave the €EU.
- Is the wolf real this time? Tsipras is a bit like a person who’s wandered into a rich guy’s living room and is threatening to shoot himself in the head unless the rich guy hands over some cash. It’s not a very credible threat. Malkoutzis reminds us that politicians are uncooperative power-hungry bastards.

indie press:
France's Hollande and Greece's SIRIZA are both nothing more than a left or not so left flank of the political establishment. But Hollande did meet up with Venizelos, not Chippy - they are all in it together to try to keep the euro intact and silence the small guys.

Wednesday, 23 May
via online news:
- Samaras heads to Brussels to cultivate ties with the grey suited men (and "Europe’s movers and shakers"): pack a brolly with you, Antoni, it's probably raining there.
- As usual, Greece is leading the world: when she coughs, everyone catches her cold even if she wasn't really sick; stocks have always been over-priced in the first place. Trust the BBC to report this one as the main headline; Brits' money is tied up in virtual intangibles - do they own anything with real value?
- Tsipras is the Pied Piper - I'm probably right on this one: he played truant at frontistirio classes.
- Lucky this happened 3 weeks before the elections, and not 3 days before, otherwise, Golden Dawn would be running the country now. 

Thursday, 24 May
Pharmacy in Hania, with an olive tree growing in it from its basement
- The EU wants Greece to stay in eurozone; but the Americans sensationally predict we will be thrown out. The UK, their satellite state, colludes with them.   
- Helena Smith probably doesn't know of the phrase 'είναι φαρμακείο' (literally: 'it's a pharmacy'; it loosely translates as 'it's expensive')
- I don't believe Anna was forced to leave her baby at the hospital - this is probably being sensationally misreported; it wasn't even reported in the Greek news, except in translation from the BBC article (and Anna is anonymous - go figure). They probably told her to find a way to pay her debt - the word 'immigrant' comes to mind; they have families here too, and they have been living here for generations. 
- The crisis through a child's eyes: “The biggest problem is that our politicians are bad and instead of making things better, they are making them worse”; “Once upon a time there was a country that had all that was good. The people were brave, ambitious, kind and hardworking. Slowly, though, they began to steal, not to work as hard; they became greedy. The politicians used tricks to make the people vote for them. Other countries, seeing the mess, began to take advantage of them. Many people lost their jobs and no longer had the basics; no longer had a home.” Tzohatzopoulos should read this. Greek politicians have destroyed at least two generations. Cry, the beloved country!
- Greece embraces fascism - where do these mushrooms sprout from?

Interesting facts on the new Berlin airport - it failed to open on time due to fire regulations not being met and it cost more than double the original budget. Yet, Germany borrowed money yesterday with a zero-percent interest rate. Greece should leave the eurozone - it's a special club for hypocrites.

Friday, 25 May
- If we are through, then they are through - forever bound together.
- GREXIT: something that scares the pants off foreign financial analysts (stated by radio announcer on Melodia FM radio in a list of newly coined global phrases concerning Greece).
- Over lunch with Danish friends: they are amazed with the foliage of Crete; shared a few North-South jokes. 
- A bit of contagion in the Very Far East: “... students had something that no doubt someone will call a riot in Auckland last night dragging some rubbish bins around, they need the Greeks to show them how to do it.” Send a Greek over there to teach them.
- The village of Kalavrita is reeling with the news that their spiritual leader supports fascists. Remember that all the men in the village were killed by the Nazis in Novermber 1943 and let's not kid ourselves: reparations have never been made because Germany believes it has done all it possibly can do to make up for the crimes of the Nazis, which is absolutely nothing in the case of Kalavrita because no one can bring back the dead. Which makes me think that we shouldn't have to pay back any money to anyone if we really can't because they shouldn't have lent it to us in the first place since they realised we couldn't pay it back. Let them lose their money instead. Make them throw us out - this is what they are afraid of: having to play the bad guy.

This monument has always stayed in my mind after my visit to Kalavrita 12 years ago. 

Saturday, 26 May
If we win Eurovision tonight, let's ask Germany to host the contest on our behalf - we don't more expenses.

Twenty years ago, Nikos Portokaloglou was faced with the same dilemma many young Greeks are facing today: should I stay or should I go? This song came out of his anguish.
Από πείσμα και τρέλα θα ζω
σε τούτη τη χώρα
ώσπου να ΄βρω νερό
γιατί ανήκω εδώ.

*Pikrammenos = embittered (cf πικρός = pikros = bitter)
** δεινόσαυροι = dinosaurs - used to refer to Greek politicians who have been around for too long

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There are still three weeks to go - this expensive form of torture of the Greek people isn't over yet. The general conclusion so far: "Does she stay or does she go" is simply a hoax. Remember the 2000 computer crisis? It's still hush-hush in most circles, probably because it cost billions of wasted dollars.

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