OPINION

On pensioner suicide, Lagarde, fuel tax, Turkey

Suicide of Dimitris Christoulas

I read the article about the tragic death of Mr. Christoulas. Your article reports the contents of his suicide note. He states that he saved for his retirement with no help from the government and is too old to recover.

I think ekathimerini ought to talk to his family and find out what he meant by losing his 35-year-old retirement savings. Is he one of the people who lost nearly all their bond value due to the recent ?haircut? given to satisfy requirements for the EU bailout?

I?d like to know. My reading of the matter is that private holders of Greek bonds maturing in March were forced to accept 17 cents on the dollar in cash and 30 cents on the dollar in new Greek bonds (which downgraded soon after).

If Mr. Christoulas? tragedy is part of the ?ordered restructuring? of Greek debt, then perhaps the protesters signs are accurate: this wasn?t suicide, it was murder.

Barbara M

Tax on fuel oil

You what?! ?Given that the state has no other way of monitoring fuel trading? — what?s wrong with the General Chemical State Laboratory monitoring distributors? Those found to be guilty could be given appropriate penalties that deter adulterating fuel. Like cancelling or withdrawing their licence. If they were really worried they would test each batch they received. Ooops, forgot, this is Greece.

Ross Shotton

Pensioner suicide

Mr Christoulas has been sacrificed on the alter of support for the Euro. For some strange reason many Greeks still think that endless austerity, pain and declining incomes are better than leaving the Euro and returning to the Drachma. They have been brainwashed by the EU and the Troika, who are only interested in preserving the Euro for the benefit of business and banks elsewhere in the Euro zone. If the EU could get rid of Greece without any impact on German and French banks then they would do so tomorrow. Voluntarily leaving the Euro would be painful, very painful, but only for a short time and then hope would return as Greece once again regains its competitiveness. As it is, the austerity will get worse, Greece will lose the little remaining sovereignty that it still has and after many years Greece will probably still leave the Euro zone (as will other countries). It is time for Greece to make radical and dramatic changes for a better future — are there any politicians honest enough and up to the job?

Paul Savage

Lagard and Schauble talking to CBS

Just thinking that Germany wants to occupy Greece is an imaginary scenario that holds no truth to it. Germany, as a main member of the EU, wanted to help out Greece to prevent it from going bankrupt. They are doing this very sincerely. Since the introduction of the Euro, the Greeks had been living far beyond their means. They also had been squandering their public funds on corruption, partying and huge salaries that are incompatible with the size of Greece?s wealth and economy. It?s time for the Greeks to realise that the past times are over. It?s now the time for austerity and back to normal as they were 20 years ago when owning a car using to be a luxury that only the rich enjoyed. It?s time for the Greeks to realise that corruption and free money could only bring them down to the brink of collapse. If only they could see the abyss to realise how close they are from the bottom of the sinking ship. The Greeks as a people are very smart; but their politicians are as dumb as anyone could imagine. They have destroyed the very fabric of society by creating levels of people that could be served differently in order for them to remain in power perpetually. Time is now ripe for this mentality to cease and for hard work in addition to ethics to kick in in order to save this God-blessed country. The country of all the prophets and messengers. A country only dreams could conjure up. It?s a pity for anyone to waste such beauty for personal goals.

John Elkass

The pressure created by illegal immigration

Dear Mr Konstandaras

Given Greece?s current economic climate, the best option is to use the EU Repatriation fund for non-EU member states to send illegal immigrants either back home or move them on to more prosperous EU nations. With an unemployment rate of 21% and 50% for 15-25-year-olds there is no reason for these people to be in Greece. Greece also needs to tighten its borders and ask the EU to put pressure on Turkey to stop the flow. Turkey is deliberately sending them over the border in its bid to destabilise Athens economically and demographically. Illegal immigration is a huge burden on the Greek state. And this is essentially what I wrote to Mr Chrysochoidis. I also want to thank you and ekathimerini for raising awareness on this hot issue.

George Salamouras

Melbourne

The terrible Turks

As a reader of online Greek newspapers for a few years, I have been reading lots of comments about one of the biggest reasons of Greece?s failure — the Turkish Occupation that they had endured in the past. Apparently under Turkish rule that lasted for 400 odd years Greeks grew accustomed to paying bribes to government officials, large-scale corruption and avoiding paying taxes to name a few bad habits. Which are the main reasons that Greece is where it is today.

Now let?s have a look at the current economical performance of Turkey, just across the Aegean Sea. They are the 16th biggest economy in the world and for the last 2 years have had the second highest growth rate in the world after China. Turkey has the highest growth rate in Europe and about $135 billion in exports, which is still growing every month.

If we are going to accept the fact that these bad habits are stopping the country from improving, then the only explanation that we can make is that Turks have realized that their bad habits were no good and decided to change for the better. In other words, they learned and improved. And they worked hard.

Now what puzzles me is that it has been nearly 190 years and quite a few generations have passed since the Turks left. How come these bad habits have endured for so long and have even grown worse? How long can the Greeks keep blaming the Turks? Another 50 years or maybe 100? At what point in time in the future will they accept that it is them and not the Turks anymore? Continuing to blame others for your own problems only prolongs the solution. And the truth always hurts. But accepting it frees the spirit.

Ned Watsons

Sydney