OPINION

On tourism, PSI, Haris Alexiou, strikes, oil

Strike

Hey dude: what’s up next week? Lotta work? Yeah, as always. What about a strike? Strike? Yeah. Do we have a reason then? We’ll think of one. Strike against or in favour? Against of course, what else? With what purpose? Well, it’s against everything. Against our customers too? Customers? What are you talking about, customers? What or who are they, these customers of yours? We don’t need them! Enough of this kind of talk, let’s get to the point. Are you going to strike or what? Ok, ok, but one day is a bit too short. Have to fix some things at home, so I would like two days. Ok, in that case: two days it’ll be. And don’t you worry about those customers of yours in the meantime. They’re used to waiting, again, again, again, again.

Paul Tolhuis

Time to demand immediate lifting of MPs’ immunity from prosecution

Deborah Doxakis, I hear you, and so have many other readers of these excellent letters pages, I am sure. You report that the situation in Greece is affecting you badly, as it is so many others, and you say that the corruption that is at the top of the system is the root of Greece’s ills. And you are so right.

But I read Ekathemerini and Athens News daily hoping to see that the people of Greece are taking action against the corruption, and I am daily disappointed. There are no reports or statements from politicians announcing that corruption is to be attacked head-on. And there are no reports of determined mass movements in Greece taking action against the inactivity of the politicians in this regard. And so, as you imply, Greece is doomed despite loans from the EU.

As we haven’t had an announcement from Parliament that the number of Greek MPs is to be slashed from 300 to 150 or that all immunity from prosecution for politicians is to be immediately removed, I think it is reasonable to assume that it will be futile to wait for such announcements. They simply won’t come. Like the Syrian regime, Greece’s politicians are determined to protect their interests, to protect their excessive salaries, and to ensure that they remain beyond the finger of the law.

So what is the option, Deborah, and all regular citizens of Greece who are wide awake to this problem?

Surely the answer is daily demonstrations, massive peaceful demonstrations, in front of the Vouli, and all in support of the most important thing of all: removal of Greek MPs’ immunity from prosecution. This is the priority.

Let the TV crews and the whole world see the people of Greece refusing to disband from Syntagma Square for as long as it takes until Greek MPs’ immunity from prosecution is entirely ended.

Only when Greek MPs’ immunity is ended can the rot and corruption which is at the top of the system be cleaned out. Only then will all Greek MPs really begin to act for the people?s good.

And once that objective is achieved, the people of Greece must immediately issue their next demand: the redrawing of electoral boundaries so that the number of MPs in the Greek Parliament is reduced from 300 to 150 or thereabouts. Greece is a small country that needs a small, accountable, and effective government.

I suggest we all start writing in Greek to other papers in Athens, urging them to help launch the campaign or absolutely nothing will happen.

David Cade

South Shropshire, UK

Re: Greek oil reserves

Mr Lithoxopoulos comments about small countries that cannot get rich from oil reserves.

One only has to look at Qatar and Dubai among other small countries which are exceedingly rich from the oil reserves they are sitting on.

A country does not have to be the US, Russia or Saudi Arabia to prosper from oil.

In the Gulf of Mexico, which is a relatively small area, we have oil drilling platforms. All states on the Gulf have booming tourism and fishing industries. Oil drilling and a prosperous clean environment do not have to be mutually exclusive.

With regard to pollution, we survived the BP oil spill and again there are no guarantees it will not happen here again or in Alaska or the Ionian Sea.

Last but not least, especially in these times of crisis for the Greek economy, to hope that Albania and Montenegro find oil before Greece is at the minimum, spiteful.

We have heard so many times that all we have is sunshine and not much else. If we discover oil and natural gas we can hopefully have something to sell besides tours of our ancient sites.

Monica Lane

Florida, USA

House foreclosures

I read in this article: Banks could not auction houses worth up to 200,000 that are the main domicile of their debtors.

So, these people cannot lose their house? I cannot believe it.

Bart Ramirez

San Francisco

Re: Snap polls

I asked today a Greek living in Athens: Do you believe you can change anything without first changing the Greek Consitution? She answered all that is mentioned [in Alexis Papachelas?s commentary] as to why there had to be snap elections. but she added: «…apart from that we all hope the politicians will be restricted by the signed agreements. But yes, I would tend to agree that anyone in his right mind would see that a change of Constitution should come first if the people were not understandably so upset as to absolutely want to vote now.

?You argue that there has been no difference between ND and PASOK on the grounds that both represent the public sector which sank the Greek economy, and again this is a fact. Simply remember it is Papandreou’s father who was the first and main artisan of that huge public sector, huge debt disaster.”

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: ?The Ambassador? at the Thessaloniki doc fest

?The Ambassador? is a subversive and incendiary documentary film in which, according to maker Brugger, the honorary consul unveils himself as an unscrupulous forger/briber and while doing so, purposely damages the interest of individuals and governments for his own glory to sell his product.

The film is made with public money from the Danish Film Institute and produced with a budget of 1 million by Lars Von Trier (Zentropa), a controversial Danish film director who admitted to journalists at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 to being a Nazi, understanding Hitler. Organizers were not amused and declared him a persona no grata at the same festival. Under the influence of Von Trier?s ideology, Danish journalist Brugger purposefully took several steps beyond the rules, both written and unwritten.

It smells like a documentary film based on fascistic roots. Take a look at a photo in Politiken (http://politiken.dk/kultur/ECE907085/mads-brgger-dansk-journalistik-er-meget-kedelig/) and see how Brugger presents himself as a neo-Nazi on horseback. That maybe explains why he insults Africa and ridicules the Twa pygmy people. With misplaced intellectual superiority he confronts the Twa with a sick Hitler joke about champagne and forces them to listen to whale sounds. Clearly an inspiration out of Von Trier?s wine cellar.

Brugger used hidden cameras and false pretences to record and film confidential meetings and telephone conversations without informing his victims or asking them permission or approval by means of adversarial response. Then he edited a documentary film with a specific tunnel vision to transform a fantasy-fetish into reality to prove his mistrust under the slogan ?the end justifies the means.? He hides that he received his desired position and does not tell the viewers the lawyer returned his money.

Willem Tijssen

Re: Haris Alexiou on Europe

Dear Haris,

I am a big fan of yours and I am a northern European citizen who lived in Greece for many years. What surprises me is that you as a woman of the world, you have visited many countries, know nothing about your European ‘friends’. It is not the Norwegians or the Danish who dictate your members of parliament what to do. These countries do not belong to the European Union(!) So keep focusing on your beautiful music and be carefull who you accuse!

Xavier de Monchy

PSI or bust

It really busts my chops when I read the snide remarks of (mainly) foreigners that Greece is living beyond its means on other people’s money. Borrowed money is not the same thing as other people?s money — the former implying that the borrower is somehow a crook or a deadbeat. A borrower loans money at a premium and a lender lends it with the intention of profiting from the loan.

While it is true that Greece has borrowed far more than it should have, that fact did not deter lenders at all from making those loans until the house of cards began to come down. Too little diligence too late in the day? Victims of the common currency? Who is really to blame? Is it the profligate borrower or the profiteering lender, or are they both victims of circumstance? Clearly there is a little of all these elements at work here. It shows complete and utter ignorance to suggest otherwise. Both borrower and lender were taken in here and now that the bill needs to be paid, the finger is being pointed at the now stereotyped «lazy and corrupt» Greek.

Why are no questions being asked of the market players here, as they were following the Lehman crash? Why are the rules of the market not being scrutinised more closely so that we can avoid situations like this in 10 or 20 years? time?

It may be easier (and more profitable?) to blame the Greeks but this fails to address the real issues at play here.

Fronzel Neekburm

When will this charade of musical chairs end?

When will we as citizens finally see a break from these clowns? How much longer must we suffer under these corrupt, lazy, incompetent politicians?

We read how they take out loans for swimming pools etc, while we’re on the verge of bankruptcy etc. How much longer? Where is the Greek Army? Why have they not begun to lay the law down against these crooks we have calling themselves politicians?

We are waiting for our VAT return and returns tax over payments made years ago, and we’re still being told ?at the next court date.? This has been going on for eight years now the ‘government’ places a 1% fine on our delayed payments, but won’t pay us what it owes, and now says it’s going to give a haircut to all its debt to us citizens.

Very soon, if these clowns don’t get their act together and sort out this mess they created, a few anarchists throwing rocks around for a few hours are going to be the very least of their worries.

Lionel Luthor

On Chrysochoidis still being appointed

Isn’t Chrysohoidis the guy that didn’t bother to read the terms outlined by the Troika in a vital social services document!? What a creep! And he is still being appointed? Where is Robespierre, for God’s sake?

Marie Lisette

Tourism slump and the media?s role

It’s time to correct the wrong assumptions our overseas friends have of Greece since the media focused on the demos at the end of last year. The financial matters are being resolved, obviously Greece will never leave the euro, even though it makes good copy to predict disaster. Reforming our bureaucracy is an excellent thing, we all know it has to happen, it might hurt for a while, but every country goes through this; Europe itself is going through political changes that had to happen.

Neverthless, life goes on as normal. The looped news shots of breaking windows in Syntagma have as little to do with everyday life in Athens as predictions of doom from journalists selling copy. Strikes are short, demos last about 3 hours at most and located in Syntagma, the coffee shops are packed as soon as the demo ends. Basically the nonsense doesn’t affect the majority of people who see no point in resisting the inevitable.

This is the thing. There has never been a better time to visit Greece. Athens is much cheaper since the media scared away tourists. The weather is lovely, springlike and fresh. The sites are quiet, no crowds no spruikers. We have had a resurgence in restaurants, brilliant new chefs opening interesting, creative Greek-based cuisine. No city in Europe can now compete with Athens for food and wine at these prices. Hotels are doing deals, the airlines are doing deals. Our transport is excellent, trains, metro, trams, boats. It is quite simply one of Europe?s most interesting, vibrant cities and definitely one of the cheapest to visit at the moment.

If you have care at all for Greece, please pass this on to your friends, who may also pass this on. Facebook it, twitter it, let?s not let the Murdoch media make money from others? troubles to sell copy and damage whole countries as they do so.

Nick Ieronymos