OPINION

On the Greek debt, lawmakers, the Aegean dispute

Re: ?The honest and poor politician?

Mr. Xydakis? third paragraph is hard-hitting, and to the point, but his first two are somewhat unfair.

It takes some courage for two MPs to come out and to be the first to say that they will stick their snouts less deeply into the trough; and for one of them also to say that 300 MPs is too many, and 200 would do fine. Typically for Greece, no others have joined them; and also no ?leaders? have come out in even the mildest of support. So, one can imagine the way this brave pair are being treated by their ?colleagues?, who are all benefitting from the trough, and are scared-stiff that it might be reduced or taken away from them — horror of horrors!

So, I think their moral courage — to be the first to take a step, in the certain knowledge of not being supported — should be applauded, not sneered at. Instead, why is there not outrage among other MPs, media and the public about the continuing hypocrisy in the Parliament? The statute of limitations, the immunity, and the corruption? Instead choosing to cry crocodile tears about the economy and the suffering of the Greeks. And why is no coalition of ?fellow-thinkers? coming forward to shout aloud about the facts stated in Mr. Xydakis? third paragraph?

And finally, it really is time to stop treating the ?orthodox? church with such kid gloves, to disestablish the church, and to let it use its vast wealth to pay the salaries of its servants, and not to allow it to get away with saying, ?Hey! We?re giving out a lot of bowls of soup!? The synthetic squeals of outrage of the Thessaloniki bishop interviewed by Mr. Manos should be rebutted, and treated with the contempt they deserve — which unfortunately Mr. Manos was too timid to do. Time to call their bluff!

Robert Skailes

Heeding our own advice

As an Australian, I find Mr John Pandazopoulos?s comments regarding so-called solutions to Greece?s debt problems quite revealing. Australia by sheer luck has high-priced raw commodities to sell to two major cashed-up countries (China and India) and suddenly our politicians are roaming the world advising debt-burdened countries about restructuring their economies to export more.

No mention that the rest of the Australian economy is in the doldrums, including manufacturing, retail, finance and tourism. No mention that Australian personal debt is the highest in the world. How a Greek diaspora of 7-10 million can be compared to a Chinese diaspora of hundreds of millions is breathtaking in its naivety. No doubt Mr Pandazopoulos?s intentions are admirable but perhaps he should provide leadership to his struggling Dandenong patch before giving advice to Greece.

Anna Baras-Miller

Melbourne

Re: ?Diaspora MPs back ?Greek Davos??

Great idea!

We can do it together.

There is need for some concrete steps in all aspects of promoting what we are proud of and what we have to offer.

Is the confererence faciitating any step-by-step promotions of products and/or services?

Let the people of the diaspora know how they can help and they will respond!

Proud to be a Greek.

Leonidas Kotsinonos

Prime minister and Greek debt

Your article in Sunday?s Ekathimerini quotes the prime minister as saying, ?It is the first time that Europe has recognized and has placed on the table the issue of reducing the debt burden on the Greek people.?

Is this another way of the prime minister saying Greece wants to default on its debts and does not believe it can ever pay back all that it has borrowed?

Geoff Hughes

Paradoxes in the Aegean dispute

Since 1974, Greece has spent a lot of money on its armed forces and several of its pilots have been killed enforcing Greece?s sovereignty over the Aegean Sea, both in its national airspace and the Athens Flight Information Region.

One paradox of this dispute is that Turkey has been seeking a revision of the status quo in the Aegean even though Turkey was a signatory to treaties that established the current territorial borders and that there is no legitimate claim by Turkey. They are applying enough pressure on Greece through airspace infractions and violations to alarm the Greek military and government officials. Yet not enough to clearly provoke an open confrontation in the hope that Greece will actually be pressured to surrender some of its sovereignty without any shots being fired. The other paradox involves allies of both Greece and Turkey that have done next to nothing to resolve this situation. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?s visit to Athens has reminded me of the question I often ask: What has any Western leader done in the last 37 years to help bring about a resolution to this situation, especially one between presumed NATO allies? They sit back and chastise both nations for presumed ?childish? and parochial behavior and do not appear to take the situation seriously at all. Greece especially has been excoriated for its large defense budgets and very large armed forces given its current debt crisis, yet cannot afford to let its guard down given its current security needs.

Is it naive to think that one of the monarchs of the so-called peace-loving countries of Scandinavia could invite the leaders of Greece and Turkey to Copenhagen, Stockholm, or Oslo in order to mediate some sort of solution? Or that a person with more diplomatic weight, like Hillary Clinton or Nicolas Sarkozy, could help broker some solution? Or do none of them really care or believe there is a problem?

Peter Kates