OPINION

On Lagarde, eurozone, Golden Dawn and Israeli reaction

UK’s Olympic coins an insult

I saw the gold coins issued for the Olympics… I find it insulting that the coins illustrate the Roman names of the Greek Gods on them. Why would the United Kingdom insult the Greek culture? The Greeks changed the Olympic coin in 2004 to illustrate the Kallimarmaro instead of a Roman structure…

Thank you

John

Letter to the editor

Dear Nikos Konstandaras,

Personally I think you have done a wonderful job over the years in your commentaries and I do not agree with Mr Powell’s comments. Keep up the good work.

George Salamouras

Australia

Jewish groups and Golden Dawn

Whilst global Jewish groups have genuine concerns regarding Golden Dawn, who deny the Holocaust, their main political agenda is the removal of all illegal immigrants out of Greece and between 61-80% of Greeks agree with this. Unfortunately the red white and black Nazi look-alike flag with a twisted swastika and Nazi hero-worshipping literature put them at odds with the majority of Greeks, as 93% of the electorate did not vote for them. Understandably some Jewish groups worldwide are concerned with the rise of the far right in Europe, but they should also not stay silent about anti-Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset.

Avigdor Lieberman is a current member of the Knesset, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel. He is the founder and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Many commentators, including Arab Israeli groups, have accused Lieberman of anti-Arabism. Christoph Schult in Der Spiegel has accused Lieberman of having a reputation as a racist. M.J. Rosenberg in the LA Times characterized Lieberman’s previous election campaign as anti-Arab. Daphna Baram in The Guardian called him an arch-racist. Richard Cohen in the Washington Post noted that while Lieberman is a nationalist, he is also an anti-Arab demagogue. Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, called Lieberman’s previous election campaign ?an outrageous, abominable, hate-filled campaign, brimming with incitement that, if left unchecked, could lead Israel to the gates of hell.? Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, a passionate Zionist and critic of the peace movement, called Lieberman ?neo-fascist… a certified gangster… the Israeli equivalent of Joerg Haider? During the 2009 campaign, Meretz [the left-wing Zionist party in Israel] released an internal memo comparing Lieberman to ?Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, Haider in Austria, and Zhirinovsky in Russia.? Mr Mihaloliakos, party secretary of Golden Dawn, is no different.

George Salamouras

Australia

Lagarde does not pay taxes

Further to IMF Director Christine Lagarde’s cruel comments that she feels less sympathy for suffering Greek children than she does for Nigerien children because Greek parents do not pay taxes, it turn out that Ms Lagarde’s monstrous salary and benefits of well over half a million dollars a year is tax-free, and she does not pay any tax. More, here is an article by Nick Dearden in the UK’s Guardian newspaper explaining how a lot of the responsibility for the plight of children in Niger is because of the punishing policies imposed on that country by Ms Lagarde’s IMF: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/29/greece-sympathy-imf-niger

Peter Kyriakeas-Kirk

Stoupa, Messinias

In response to Ragnhild Irene Meijer

Thank you for your caring comments about Greece and Greeks.

However one thing you should note is that Greeks are not and will never become Norwegians, or Germans or anything like that. You said, ‘I think it will take many years to change the mentality down here’.

Why should it change? Greeks are Middle Easterners. Would you ask Turks or Arabs or Albanians to change? Why do Europeans want the whole world to become like Europe? Granted Moslems would like Christians to convert to Islam. But that wouldn’t work either except by force of arms.

If Greeks had no ‘ancient heritage’ would we ask them to ‘change their mentality’? Why is it that Europeans think that Greeks especially are somehow more capable of change than other Balkan/ME peoples? Because of the ancient mythologies? 3000 years after those mythologies, Greeks are still a nation of Balkan peasants who became urbanised over the last 50 years (two generations) or so. The legacy of Byzantine and Ottoman is permanent in Greece as elsewhere. We and they have to come to terms with that, rather than engaging in wishful dreamy thinking about ‘when oh when will they change (and become like a European Periclean Athens…?)’. I’m afraid it ain’t going to happen except in European and Greek fantasies…

We are living lots of those fantasies at present. Whether in or out of the euro, the Greek nightmare is likely to continue for a very long time. The mismatch between our/their fantasies and our/their reality is total. The only difference is that the Greek nightmare is likely to unfold more dramatically after June 17, while in the rest of Europe the larger nightmare (disintegration, return to nation-state cooperation or conflict?) will unfold more gradually. Scandinavia may be spared the worst, but mainland Europe will be fully involved. When that happens Greece will probably be forgotten about for another 600 years…

Philip Andrews