OPINION

On Germany, Venizelos, protests, the ‘Greek mentality’

?All of this is getting us nowhere, however?

I am not of your opinion, it is getting us somewhere: We all are gaining time.

The mood in Germany has changed dramatically meanwhile: First we thought that the crisis was a private Greek problem. Now the German talkshow spectator gets the completely different impression that Greece is only the first player to fail and we will follow you soon. So, if we cannot avoid a European currency reform due to peak oil, we could at least defer it to a time when we have any idea of a solution.

But this idea, how to deal with peak oil, must come soon to us all now, do you have one?

Yours sincerely

Matthias Hermanns

Germany

Venizelos dicusses measures with the troika

Day in and day out all the foreign press mentions Greece, and not to congratulate anyone for any achievements. We are at a crossroads and we need leadership from above and support from those who believe each and everyone somehow contributed to the mess we find ourselves in.

The appointment of Mr Venizelos as Finance Minsiter at this point is at best baffling, at worst stupid.

Mr Venizelos has a PHD in law and had been a great attorney when he defended the current prime minister’s father in court against charges of corruption.

He held the ministries of Transport and Communications, Justice, Developement, Culture and Defense, most for a few months each except Culture. He is an accomplished orator.

At this point he is in negotiations with the EU and IMF for a bailout and future economic measures Greece must take to qualify for another loan. What kind of training and knowledge in finance and economics does he have to accomplish this and still keep Greece a sovereign nation?

He may be able to talk a dog off a meat truck, but it would be inpossible to convince the bankers and the speculators that given a chance, this band of politicians will manage an additional 28 billion euros in spending cuts and additional taxes off the back of the middle class.

Monica Lane

Florida

Time to grow up

I grew up in the diaspora, my parents having left Greece after the civil war because my dad could not go to college in Greece, being labeled a communist. Back then Greece was not an equal opportunity country where each citizen could pursue his or her dreams. So he left, got educated abroad, started a family and built a life. Millions left then, and continue to leave our beautiful country because there still is no opportunity for the young. Greeks outside of Greece are wealthier and better educated — why is that? Every year I return to my ancestral home and am amazed at the extent to which we as a nation have abandoned the concept of personal responsibility. The only thing that we think is not the government?s problem appears to be our sex lives. Everything else must be solved by the «government.» They must protect industries and protect professionals from competition; ensure that it is who you know as well as what you know that counts. You need ?mason? not competence to succeed. The few elite families own the entire place. We have allowed families to own the political space — out of 9 million Greeks, could we not find a leader who is not the great-grandson or grandson of some other political leader? Our prime-ministerial office looks more like a dynastic piggy bank than a democratically held office. The bottom line is if you are a go-getter and young, you?d better get going to London, New York, anywhere but your motherland — and that is sad — so many years after our civil war, young men and women have to leave to grow their lives.

All in all, we as a nation have failed to grow up. We behave like kids. We are broke because we borrowed money, not from other «European» governments, but from the savings of hardworking men and women all over Europe who naively assumed we had grown up, to pay for a lifestyle that is not supported by our work ethic or economic structure. That is the cold fact. To all the protestors outside parliament — grow up. Millions more Greeks will leave the country now, because they cannot afford to pay for another 30 years for you to keep enjoying the free lunch. Grow up — be responsible for your actions. Grow up — you cannot responsibly teach your children that the «Greek» way is the appropriate way to live — the many freeloading off the efforts of the few — it is not sustainable. The many not paying taxes but stealing money from the state which in turn pulls the wool over the few taxpayers? and dumb foreigners? eyes. Your kids cannot be the Greeks you are — they will fail, there is no one left to steal from anymore. Grow up — you have sold your children?s future to the highest bidder to ensure your cushy lifestyle, overpaid civil servants and protectionist economy. Grow up — tell your kids these facts and apologise to them for the dastardly inheritance you have given them. Your political elite gave you what you wanted for 30 years — a free ride. Now it is over. Grow up my compatriots, grow up fast and own your own destiny, otherwise would the last Greek to leave Greece switch off the lights?

Anthony J Bizos

South Africa

Protests, a luxeury we don’t have!

At such time and circumstances, protests are luxeury we don’t have. Greeks must behave as matures and realize that we are a war. In war times only hard works are required. People who go to protest or encourage it must realize how much Greece loses with each minute of such protests. Let us work, let us put aside our political and social differences, let us pray and first of all, let us love Greece. Are we able to be real greeks?

Theologous Xristianous

Response to Jane Crow

Dear Jane, 

Unfortunately the majority of the people who are able to see the true nature of Greece’s problems are those who are from abroad.  It used to be that Greeks were considered very well educated and knowledgeable of the world around them. (Or at least that’s what we were led to believe as «stupid Americans» as they referred to us as children.)  The reality that I’ve encountered after nearly 3 years of living in Athens is that the majority of Greeks live in a small bubble, largely ignorant to the realities of the world around them.  They continue to believe that their education system is superior to those abroad (they’re not), they continue to believe that they work harder (they don’t) and longer (some do, but largely unproductively) than those abroad. They think their pensions are low (try living off of $600 a month in Toronto, and not having the luxury of owning a summer home, in addition to your permanent residence), they complain they can’t retire (both of my parents are over 60 and working because they have to cover their living and medical expenses and help pay for my sister’s post-secondary education), etc. They are jealous of foreigners’ quality of living, yet they are unwilling to take steps to improve theirs. (Why should we pay for post-secondary education? Why should I save for my own retirement? Why should I work like a dog? Why should I save money and be miserable like the ksenoi? Life is to be enjoyed. ) 

The first step to Greece solving this crisis requires, above all, a change in the mentality of the majority of its citizens; it has little to do with defaulting or continuing with austerity. Sadly, they aren’t willing to change. Any time the goverment tries to implement a change, they protest, destroy the city, shut down business, and make the crisis worse. They are arrogant and yet suffer from serious inferiority complexes. As a Greek-Canadian I find the situation in this country so heartbreaking and baffling, and I wonder if there are any citizens of Greece who actually love and appreciate their country and their heritage.

Eleni

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Six questions and one fact about Athens

6 questions and 1 fact about Athens

Mr. Pangalos needs to get off his high horse and get a grip on reality. Immigrants simply need to go. The landscape of the country we love continues to deteriorate to the point Athens will slowly look like a 3rd world city, if it hasn’t already. Stop hidding behind these philosophical and «legal» retorics and act. Follow the footsteps of other countries, such as Spain, that said enough is enough. Greece is a small country with its own issues, it can’t affort nor can’t it handle additional issues and people. Greece must take the time, now and finally, to clean its own house. Put up a wall at the border if you have to. Do whatever you have to do to clean the streets of Athens and beyond. The financial and social burden these immigrants bring to the table only weigh down the already existing issues the country and Athens are dealing with.

Panayiotis Lambropoulos