Wednesday Jul 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
22o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The ship of fools

By Nikos Konstandaras

It is said that in medieval Europe some nations would load their lunatics on ships and send them away, on a journey without end. In this way, they were freed of the daily care of their mad brethren. When another ship of fools arrived, the locals would be entertained by the passengers’ antics, give them some assistance, and, without becoming responsible for them, send them on their way. This was a practical solution, but also a parable for man’s journey to the unknown.

Sometimes during the past few years, the image of a ship whose passengers are caught up in endless squabbles, with no idea of where they’re headed, could serve as a metaphor for how at least some of our partners see Greece: They are forced to help us, they think our predicament is our problem only (remember the comments that “Greece is a special case”?). But as long as the problem is not solved in a way that convinces everyone that Europe takes care of its people, the contagion will spread – the ship with no destination will represent Europe itself.

This is an exaggeration, of course, but there is no arguing that Greece today is on a journey with an unknown destination. We face neither war, nor occupation, nor some natural disaster. Instead, we are forced to knock down our political and economic system on our own, in exchange for loans that will maintain society in some semblance of normality. Because today nations express solidarity with each other, our partners and creditors in the EU and the International Monetary Fund provided assistance before our walls collapsed. The price, though, was that we tear them down ourselves, with the argument that with their money and their help we will build them on more stable foundations (while repaying our debts to them).

Our partners see what they are providing and how difficult we find it to make use of it quickly and effectively; we, however, live the drama of those who must throw down their arms, and who, at the moment of their greatest humiliation and deprivation, must rebuild their society (their walls) from the beginning. Greece will need a long time and much patience to recover, to be able to produce again and to free itself from debt.

The storm in Parliament on Wednesday is indicative of how disoriented we are. While most of the governing coalition’s deputies were forced to defend harsh austerity measures that may lead to their political demise, deputies of all the opposition parties strutted about smugly demanding changes to the course of a ship that has run aground. At the same time, as if oblivious to the drama in Athens, impatient and grumpy at our delays, our European partners began to hum and haw about when they would release the tranche of the loan that would put some air in our sails. They saw us as a special case, not as a parable of our common fate.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 8, 2012 (22:43)  
Unequal after death
Chinese investment
Forty-year milestones
The great enemy
Finance Minister, MPs to finalize overhaul of party funding laws
Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis is on Wednesday to meet coalition MPs in a bid to finalize an overhaul of regulations governing the funding of political parties, one of five prior actions...
EU envoy sees ´clear progress´ on immigration, asylum
European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Tuesday expressed satisfaction at the “clear progress” made by Greece in the areas of migration and asylum while Development Minister ...
Inside News
Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
The number of companies that filed for bankruptcy in Greece last year declined by 5.5 percent from 2012, according to ICAP Group data released on Tuesday by the Federation of Business Inform...
TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
Following the third sale announcement, state privatization fund TAIPED has managed to find five candidate buyers for the two plots up for grabs at Afandou on Rhodes. The fund announced on Tu...
Inside Business
TRACK & FIELD
Athens, the Marathon capital of the world for good
Paco Borao, the man who restored Athens as the Marathon capital of the world with the establishment at the Olympic Sports Center of the headquarters of the International Association of Marat...
TRACK & FIELD
Pole vault record on same day as three doping cases
Greek track and field had a mixed weekend, as on the same day as Katerina Stefanidi matched the national record in pole vault as well as the leading result in Europe so far this season, thre...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Number of firms filing for bankruptcy in Greece drops
2. TAIPED finally finds suitors for Afandou properties
3. Traders say last weekend proved Sunday opening is pointless
4. Fight for ADMIE privatization ends
5. Strategy focuses on debt sustainability
6. Minor gains at the end of up-and-down bourse session
more news
Today
This Week
1. Unequal after death
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Chinese investment
4. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards
5. Shares in Greek renewable energy firm drop in trade debut
6. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
Today
This Week
1. Ex-Credit Suisse banker taps lesson for Greek rebound
2. The cost of excellence
3. Greece seen in third bailout as bonds not enough, economists say
4. Summer storms cause problems in Thessaloniki, spread across the country
5. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
6. Greek banks able to tap investors after stress tests, HFSF Says
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.