O wind, rend open the heat,
Cut apart the heat,
Rend it to tatters.
Fruit cannot drop
Through this thick air —
Fruit cannot fall into heat
That presses up and blunts
The points of pears
And rounds the grapes.
Cut the heat —
Plough through it,
Turning it on either side
Of your path.
The above fantastic lines belong to Hilda Doolittle, an American poet.
They just came to my mind these days of the unbearable high temperatures in Athens, writing an essay and having my mind and my heart both set to the crucial elections on Sunday.
I really don’t know what Hilda had in mind while writing this poem but if she had written it these days, being herself an admirer of Greek culture she might have been influenced by the awful situation now in Greece:
O wind, rend open the heat,
Cut apart the heat,
Rend it to tatters…
What’s for sure is that Greece needs a wind of change.
After the “unexpected” outcome on the 6th of May elections, Syriza, a coalition of left parties came second in the final rank and Golden Dawn, the far right political party in Greece garnered a stunning 7 percent of the vote up from just 0.29 percent in 2009.
Concerning the two ex-dominant political parties in Greece, Pasok and Nea Dimokratia, their electoral defeat reminded me of “Exit Ghost”, title of a book from Philip Roth.
In the second run of elections on Sunday many believe, me included, that Golden Dawn will still enter the parliament despite the latest assault of neo-Nazi MP, Ilias Kasidiaris, who assaulted two female left politicians, slapping one three times, and throwing a glass of water to another live on television.
After the “incident”, every political party condemned the assault and called for Ilias Kassidiaris’ prosecution within the 48 – hour legal time limit.
The facts: No prosecution from the Greek police instead Ilias Kasidiaris submitted suits against the two left politicians.
The conclusion: Not “everybody” in this suffering country condemns Golden Dawn. Instead, Golden Dawn is only the top of the iceberg. On the top lie these wild, skinhead, violent individuals and below a whole system of corruption including not only the Greek political scene, but also the European one.
In fact from the very beginning of this crisis the corrupted Greek politicians danced a tango with the international “markets” long before the current crisis reached its peak.
If somebody connects the dots carefully, they will realize that the “Flowers of the Evil”, in an interpretation of the famous book of Charles Baudelaire, flourish on a fertile soil.
The greek economic crisis, which was triggered many years ago, was the “fertile soil” for the “markets” to strike and make profit.
In order for Greece to mask its growing sovereign debt and meet European Union requirements, Greece took a secret loan from Goldman Sachs. According to a thorough analysis in Bloomberg (read it carefully here), on the day the 2001 deal with Goldman Sachs was struck, the government owed the bank about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed. By then, the price of the transaction, a derivative that disguised the loan and that Goldman Sachs persuadedGreece not to test with competitors, had almost doubled to 5.1 billion euros. The trading costs on the swap rose because the deal had a notional value of more than 15 billion euros, more than the amount of the loan itself.
An extremely profitable transaction for Goldman, n’est-ce pas?
However, Goldman Sachs came back in November 2009, after the elections, and asked again to collaborate with the Greek government of former prime minister George Papandreou. Papandreou denied the “offer” that time, because he had another “ally” in the meantime: the French Lazard, opponent of Goldman Sachs.
Then the game started: The so called credit rating agencies started to devalue Greek economy. Strangely enough, two of these agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poors, are related through Blackrock with.. Goldman Sachs.
As a citizen of this country, struggling to understand the complexity of that “system” and how it works, I have many unanswered questions..
If somebody looks carefully, they will realize that from October 2009 to April 2010, more than ten statements of former prime minister Papandreou and Papakonstantinou, former minister of economics, caused the rise of spreads, making the borrowing of Greece even more difficult. Was it ignorance or.. intention?
When the historians write about this dark period of our history, I hope they will be really careful.
I also hope that they won’t stamp Greeks as lazy and that they won’t blame them exclusively for the current crisis.
Personally, it hurts me, having lived and traveled abroad, to listen to this blot.
Voters and people of Europe, we’re not enemies but friends.
Knowledge is power. That’s our weapon. Just think about the severe crisis in Ireland too: Are Irish people lazy? Of course not.
Not a long time time ago,Ireland was the celtic powerful tiger. Now that’s not the case at all.
There’s also the case of Iceland, which was ground zero for the financial crisis but was able to respond by devaluing its currency, the krona and also had the courage to let its banks fail and default on their debts. Iceland is now experiencing the recovery.
To conclude, I humbly wish that Greece hadn’t entered the Eurozone. I fully agree with Paul Krugman (stating in his article here) that “Europe wouldn’t be in this sitution if Greece still had its drachma, Spain its peseta, Ireland its punt, and so on, because Greece and Spain would have what they now lack: a quick way to restore cost-competitiveness and boost exports, namely devaluation.”
The question is what we’re doing now.
If Greece exits the Eurozone and returns to drachma what will possibly happen?
Honestly.. I don’t know. What I believe is that we are in a desperate need of a decisive leader that will take risks against all odds.
Because, staying in the Eurozone with these terms, is equally devastating.
Concerning the “economic death” of my beloved country, whatever comes, I would modestly say, like this unknown English poet:
I am not going to lie underground
‘cause somebody told me that death is coming round
When I “die”, my head will be high…