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Survival Guide
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On strikes, energy, unemployment, Tsochatzopoulos, drugs, Chrysi Avgi

Unemployment

This should not come as a surprise. It's time we connect the dots just based on recent articles in this newspaper. We have had a series of strikes by Greek sailors and bus drivers. We have heard complaints, especially from the islands, that the tourism and agricultural sectors, both vital for employment, have been seriously damaged. At the same time we decided to have elections that should not have taken place in these dire financial times knowing full well that a weak, fragmented government will be the result. On top of that we are shocked that Greece is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to foreign investment. Strikes + selfish politicians and unions + low investments = high unemployment.

John Athans
New York City


How about the revolutionary new technology to retrieve gas?

The price of gas, thanks to new massive progress both in technology to retrieve an even less polluting gas than previously used and the colossal reserves found in the USA, has sent the price of gas down by 3/4 in recent months. The main companies involved are Baker Hughes and Halliburton for the appropriate expertise.

In Europe, long-term contracts with gas providers have stabilised prices at higher levels. However, if an energy department exists in Greece, its head might be well advised to get more information directly from the two companies mentioned above. Needless to say, in Switzerland -- a real democracy -- all citizens can choose which power they wish to use -- hydraulic, gas  or electric -- some of which is provided by French nuclear reactors. Most choose one of the two "green" or " blue" sources of energy, but with the abundance everywhere and now the newest technology to retrieve a cleaner gas, no doubt the future is heading in that direction, not wind or solar power or even oil in regard to heating houses and transport.

Oil, of course, will always find its use in many industries and products and its price is most probably going to stay sky-high. But from an inflationary standpoint, as a Greek consumer, and from a less deficit standpoint, I’d pick up a telephone on Tuesday.

Marc Sursock
Geneva, Switzerland


Those who shout the loudest are the ones driving us to disaster

The ferry strike is yet another nail in the coffin of tourism, and therefore continues to destroy what could be the one glimmer of light on the horizon of Greek recovery.

The union path, and therefore in many cases, the path of politicians looking for votes, is dragging their country further down the road to destruction. Any talk of “out with the old” and of a “new dawn” seems to be 100 percent rhetoric. None of them even know what it involves, let alone want to achieve it; they just want things back the way they used to be.

After thirty years living and working in tourism in Greece, I am ready to throw in the towel and give up all hope of people ever seeing sense.

What a shame.

Iana Giannoulis
Corfu


Greek debt and Greek wants

In the MRB poll the majority of Greeks do not want the EU-IMF loans and their conditions.

We Greeks do have an alternative. We Greeks can pay back the money we borrowed ourselves and lift the country’s standing in the world. We are in company at the moment with the most backward countries of the world.

Everyone of us has his part to play. Every cent counts.

The government’s unnecessary expenses must stop at once.

If you smoke you are an expense to the country, if you are fat you are an expense to the country, if you are unhealthy you are an expense to the country. Most of us can improve your health and stop being an expense to the country. If we cannot improve our situation for ourselves and our families we should do it for our country.

Don’t forget to drive slowly to reduce imported fuel and to avoid using government funds to remove your arms and legs.

If you are a public servant without a real reason for taking the taxpayer’s money, resign and find some dignity, and, a create a new job for yourself.

Spend time reading to your baby child, and, listening your child reading. Teach your child to love learning. Sell your TV set and video games. Greece needs people who can truly read and write. The present situation where only 10% are really literate is holding Greece back.

As difficult as it if we all learned how to use a computer and a few accounting programmes, we can volunteer to go into government offices after the illiterate "public servants" have left and track down where every euro goes, and, where taxes are not paid.

If we all pay our taxes and do not steal or voluntarily burden Greece, the present debt can be reduced to a manageable level in a few years.

People who take to the street to shout and scream without doing anything else, will probably be more useful if they went on a one way trip to Antarctica.

If you want to protest at government corruption and stupidity, do it by cleaning the streets and cleaning graffiti, and at election time remember who you voted for last time, and, who did not say one thing in Parliament about the Greek economy.

Above all make sure the one you vote for understands what "democracy" means, if not, save Greece money on imports and use the ballot paper in your WC.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos


Immigration? Is that our biggest problem?

Immigration is only a part of reeks problems. Any fool can see that half of the Greek civil service needs to be fired, that the pension age needs to be lifted to 67 -- and no delays of any kind -- and that most of all the labor market needs to be reformed. No more sweet deals for politically connected lobby groups. No more hush-hush with the unions: We have to get serious. Really, very serious. As serious as serious gets.

And yes: Immigrants are not welcome. Of course not. Let’s not pretend: We have enough problems. Immigrants -- especially those that will claim unemployment pensions for the rest of their lives -- are not welcome here. Why is this a surprise? Why is this a controversial statement?

Richard


Re: ‘Greece's long, painful suicide’

What a thoughtful, articulate and well-reasoned article.

Your comment that “the idea of not passing on to the next generation the pathogenic sickness of the past few decades should be the goal of every Greek" is a powerful and compelling vision for all Greeks to pursue.

Jim Cassimatis
Toronto, Canada


Re: Private viewings a click away

As a Hellene of the Diaspora, who has visited his Patrida but who lives far far away, this is excellent news and one which I will herald far and wide.

Congratulations to all concerned.

Now let's add to it with images of all the stolen works of art, and not just the Parthenon marbles in London, Paris and the Vatican, but all stolen Hellenic antiquities.

Angelos Eleftherios Kenos
Australia (ex Tsamandas, Epirus)


Re: Greek unis eyeing foreign collaborations

With modern technology, Hellenic universities should also consider how qualified and competent persons in other countries could be on staff without ever entering Ellada, thus adding to the pool of talented lecturers, examiners, tutors.

Persons such as myself in Australia, who have tutored, lectured, marked papers in Australia could be invaluable as support staff and for far less than the standard academic rates so long as "barter" rewards were considered. For example, an honorary PhD or other degree instead of payment in money

Those of us who care about Ellada would be willing to make such a sacrifice.

Angelos Eleftherios Kenos
Australia (ex Tsamandas, Epirus)


I will vote Chrysi Avgi

I will vote Chrysi Avgi; they have helped my grandmother in a couple of times while the state police did not. And I am no extremist, just a Greek who wants a Greece where ethics and civil solidarity triumph, not money.

Petros Longerinos


Greek elections skulduggery

What are you going to do about the fake legalizations of illegal immigrants by Fou fou Genimata to prop up a Pasok victory?

Are you going to the prosecutor about this? If not! You should.

Do the noble thing for once, Kathimerini!

None of the two parties should win and you know this deep down in your hearts!

The whole European caboodle is going to collapse -- so get Greece out of there for God’s sake!

Emily


JP Morgan comments

JP Morgan has commented that it would be catastrophic for the euro and other countries in the eurozone if Greece were to leave the euro. Once again the interests of other countries are being put before those of Greece itself. The question should be: What is best for Greece?

One thing is for sure; there will be no further investment in Greece for so long as there is a possibility that Greece may default and leave the euro. Endless austerity does not create a market in which one would want to invest in any event. Greece needs to decide where it stands on euro membership and then either leave or implement austerity that is far greater than anything seen so far. Only then will there be hope that the current impasse can be resolved in the foreseeable future.

Personally I do not believe that greater austerity is bearable without serious social upheaval and no one wants that. Internal devaluation is needed to restore Greece's competitiveness (whether that be salaries, cheap holidays or low cost agricultural exports) and that can only be achieved quickly by either greater austerity (Spain and Ireland have cut salaries further as well as holiday costs) or by returning to the drachma.

What I fear is a lack of political will to do either which will result in a slow spiral of depression with no obvious resolution.

Paul Savage


The arrogance of the political class

In following the Greek news very closely the last couple of years since the crisis began, I have grown increasingly convinced that Greece needs a complete flushing-out of their current political class. The recent call for elections, and the comments of certain politicians, further supports these beliefs.

I have written before on these pages of my shock over the sheer stupidity, irresponsibility and disconnect of the current ruling class in Greece. I have in the past pointed out why I believe Mr. Samaras is not a patriot. I will now make the argument why he is an arrogant little man who does not deserve a majority and neither does any other present leader for that matter.

Mr. Samaras is intent on calling for a second round of elections if he is not given a clear mandate in the election of May 6th. I ask myself a couple of questions on this issue: Firstly, is Mr. Samaras even aware of the cost of an election to the citizens of Greece? If he indeed is, does he feel the expenditure is warranted at a time when everybody is being asked to cut back? Two, why does he feel he deserves a majority? What sound reform ideas and economic platform has he presented? What did his party do to put Greece in a strong position during their power (previous to the current government)? During the Papandreou government Mr. Samaras kept on insisting he had a better plan to take Greece out of its current malaise. As I stated in the past, this is hogwash. Where is this economic groundbreaking plan that he was so confidently teasing the Greek people with? One would think that during an election campaign he would present this marvelous plan, and awe the people of Greece and leading economists worldwide. Guess what? Nothing. because he has nothing. All he has are arrogant demands for power from the Greek people. His personal aspirations come first and the Greek taxpayer a very distant second.

The reality is that no current party and/or current leader deserve a majority. None of them have demonstrated any groundbreaking ideas, plans or efforts to resolve this crisis. Almost every one of them was present during the years when this crisis was developing. They were ignoring the misguided policies that were being adopted to bring the country to the sorry state it is in now.

Lastly, what amazes me about the build-up to this election campaign, is that no leader has put forth any solid plan with respect to solving this crisis. All the rhetoric is simply demands on what they need, and how they will position themselves and their party post May 6th. It is for this reason that neither party deserve a majority and why the Greek people are unfortunately a long way from getting good government (simply because they don't even know what good government is, or how to identify it).

Until the Greek populace is able to identify and demand good government, they will get what they are getting now: A group of professional politicians that have no clue on how to lead.

Tony Papapanos


Ex-minister is exposed

This is great news and everyone who committed crimes against the Greek people should be hauled in to face the judge.

The immunity of all those who took part in politics since 1974 should be lifted and all records should be looked into.

This should apply to all from prime ministers down to regional managers of every government office which handled money.

Mr Tsochatzopoulos and the Kallithea IKA employees cannot be the only ones who brought Greece to her knees.

There has been a lot of looting going on and it is high time everyone who mismanaged, misappropriated, accepted bribes or stole should be locked up and make restitution in full.

Monica Lane
Florida, USA


What content would we like to see in your website

Since you are asking, let me suggest a little more editing on submissions by readers who constantly attack Greeks as a whole.

In some letters we are portrayed like useless, immoral, lazy manipulators who never worked a day in our life and always expect someone else to pay out accounts.

Although there are many who may fit into one description or another, the majority of the Greeks are honest, hospitable and hard working.

We absorbed the refugees from Asia Minor, then the diaspora from Egypt and opened all our doors and made them feel welcome.

We have fallen on hard times because we allowed passions that ruled our grandparents to be transmitted to us and we voted based on what we learnt from those who before us chose one side and abhorred the other.

Our politicians failed us. They cheated, lied and ignored us. A large segment of the population still wake up every morning trying to do the right thing.

We are no better or worse than other people all over the world and it is naive to believe we are different because of this or that time in our history.

Thank you for your attention and Kalo Pascha to you and your readers.

Monica Lane
Florida, USA


Re: In reference to Ms. Monica Lane’s recent letter against drugs

I agree strongly with the views of Monica Lane in regard to her letter of allowing drug addicts to do drugs while under the supervision of the state. Indeed, it is a disgrace and outrageous for the Greek authorities to fund with tax dollars of the Greek taxpayers activities such as injecting dope into the addict's veins.

I would like though to add to the excellent letter of Ms. Lane that unfortunately, there are certain liberal idiots in Greece who have the same brain defects as the Californian, USA idiots who pushed a referendum over there in order to legalize marijuana in that particular state of  the United States. Fortunately for the Californian residents these idiots were defeated in the last election there.

I believe that your reputable newspaper needs to undertake the task of expelling addicts from the Greek society, once and for all. I am sure, there are plenty of Greek citizens that pray everyday in Church that their Government finally decides to expel the addicts from Greece and thus make the Greek society entirely drug free. Thank you.

John J. Ress


Drug users

This topic is a very sensitive issue that has been misunderstood for many years. The addict is a sick human being, meaning that he or she needs medical attention and must be treated with respect. Sure their road to pleasure has been made to look glamorous and self-satisfying but that is not the case. Most addicts are in pain before they even touched any drugs. This is a point few know or care to believe.
 
Another very important note is the fact that we as humans can choose to do anything under the sun as we see fit. As long there is no harm to others directly or indirectly. Most feel confused with this statement. Perhaps because it hurts their moral codes to some degree. But whatever your feeling about it, it’s true as the day you were born. Freedom is absolute and if I choose to harm myself in experimentation or to seek escape from pain it’s my choice to do so.

What is wrong is to take away this right or criticize anyone for doing so.

No one person knows what life is. We are all seeking truth together! We must find creative ways to assist others to the truth but not from themselves. Drug abuse is not an issue of criminality but of health.

Hari T


Re: JPMorgan’s analysis -- just concerned about investors

It’s okay to destroy Greece to save the rest of Europe -- that is what Morgan’s argument boils down to!

Well no, we don’t accept that.

Greece must exit the euro to save herself. Her exports to China are increasing, why not Russia, Indonesia, Arab lands etc, Africa, Brazil.

And none of the two main parties should win -- they’re all rubbish.

Alex Leandros


Greek civil servants: what can one say about this lot


If ever there were a more corrupt (besides their political master) lot of ungrateful, lazy, incompetent and greedy class of citizen, it's this lot.

Greek civil servants: personally I have absolutely no pity for them, the more the civil service is cut down, and more of them fired, the less corruption we'll have. Civil servants: we as the private sector have been paying huge taxes to keep you lot in your jobs, paying to have you abuse us, blackmail us etc et. Fire them all!

Lionel Luthor


Re: Need for reform to aid retail

Great article. Beyond this, what proof do you need that Greece (still) hates business? When are these small protected groups still complicating retail operations in Greece going to be blown off the map so that Greece might begin moving ahead? Nobody lives without facing competition, nobody.

Alec Mally


Re: What fun, elections again

I agree completely with Charilaos Lithoxopoulos and his very well-written comment. He 'said it as it is and will be'.

What he described is how my mother’s family lived during the years before she left Greece with my father to live in the UK (1947). And they were lucky to have that meagre diet.

On another note, when increasingly we hear that “it will be a catastrophe for Greece to leave the EU” (well what the bloody h**l do they think it’s like now in Greece? Can they even begin to imagine what is going on there? Pardon my French) I begin to get that feeling of doublespeak. Its like they're saying not “it will be a catastrophe if Greece leaves,” but rather “it will be a catastrophe if she DOESN'T leave.”

Doublespeak.

They've already planned it, the Greek military is prepared according to a Bild report on the Papoulias meeting with the Generals. And the Germans are financing it. It seems we may just have to wait for it to happen. Can we imagine this election producing any result short of chaos in Parliament and outside it?

Greece goes military, leaves the EU and rebuilds from the ground up. We can't say it isn't necessary. We are definitely not saying it’s desirable. No military wants to rule (believe it or not soldiers mostly prefer to be told what to do by the legitimate responsible government). Sometimes they have to when normality ceases to function. In Greece whatever passes for normality has definitely ceased to function.

Philip Andrews


Re: Athens hotels see revenue fall

All I can say is: not unexpected.

All I hear from friends who live abroad, no matter if Greek or foreign is: "Is it safe to come? I just seen horrible scenes in the news". This goes to the point where a good friend of mine who brings a group of students every year as a study group to Athens will not lodge at Syntagma Square as they have done for many years prior because of safety concerns and will come into town by bus.

The bottom line here is: Think before you riot, the damage will take many years to repair. And that will hurt us more than some government savings.

Alf Meier



Re: ‘Poverty can be beaten, hate cannot’

A well-written commentary that apportions blame where blame should rest.

Both major parties that governed Greece since the fall of the Junta have used their time in office to turn a beautiful, clean, poor country into an unattractive, dirty poorer country.

Those in charge managed to disregard what their mission should be and worked against what the citizens should expect of them.

The rule of PASOK and the mission of their brand of socialism turned Greece into a welfare state where the unions fueled by left wing venom and ND disregard brought us where we are.

During pre-election campaigns the rhetoric is going full speed and many promises are left unfulfilled when reality hits.

If the left-wingers win even a coalition government, we will descend even deeper into a depression that no one will be able to get us out of.  If anyone doubts this they can only look at the universities that turned into safe heavens for drug peddlers, users and illegals. Unions who decide to strike regardless of who loses.

Unfortunately the illegal aliens in Greece as in most of Europe are economic refugees who in their vast majority cannot support themselves through legal means. If we let them stay in Greece they will procreate and we will face in 10 years a new generation who never knew another country and calls Greece their own. We simply have no money to support any programs that will provide for them or teach them how to earn an honest living.

Chrysi Avgi sounds like an extreme movement to some and as a Godsend to others.

PASOK proved that they cannot govern. The left wing which sat all those years in Parliament collecting the salaries and perks may advocate one thing while living a life they cannot promise their followers. ND had 1/4 of the time PASOK had in charge and they also shown that honest productive and responsible governing is not their forte.

If the polls are correct our country has not been as fragmented as is now. Perhaps none of them can form a government and from where I sit none of them says: I do not need to lead, I can be number two or three as long as we cooperate and bring this train back on the track.

Under these conditions we will not be able to fight neither hate nor poverty.

Monica Lane
Florida, US


Tsochatzopoulos corruption

This ex-minister has no shame. He used to be so full of himself and at some point he thought maybe Greece is all his and everyone had to bow for him because he's Greece's dignity. I never liked him nor did I think that he was anything that this country could benefit from. This man had stolen so many millions and his place is certainly in jail for ever.

What I am appalled of is the fact that he was not dragged in shackles when he was summoned to court defying the laws of this land.

Two things need to happen to this man: Put in jail for good, and all his assets along with the assets of his family members liquidated and taken to the government's coffers where they really belong. Not only this, many other politicians who squandered people tax money should also be brought to justice sooner than later. In this way we could rebuild this country on a clean basis from now on.

John Elkass


Re: Drug users, to Monica Lane

Deviants, whether drug users, thieves or murderers don’t exist in a vacuum. They are to a great extent the product of society. A child born to wealthy, educated, loving parents has a much better chance to grow into a productive honest citizen that the baby born in poverty in a broken home.

A humane society recognizes its responsibility. The humane solution is education, counselling and specialized treatment. For all its shortcomings here is a very humane society

We do not live in a jungle where everyone carries a gun for self-preservation. We do not call ourselves Christians and at the same time legalize state murder.

Tonight we celebrated the crucifixion of Christ. Let us recall his teachings of love, compassion, tolerance and the sanctity of life

Santik Xannas

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