OPINION

On Greece’s emigration, scenarios, and a poem

Narrow view of educated Greeks

Ioanna Fotiadi’s article on the labour force movements makes us aware that Greece has thousands of educated people leaving the country. When the people leaving are young, they are unlikely to ever return. The young grow up in their new surroundings, fall in love, often with non-Greeks, and never come back.

The reality is that Greece may have paid its debts to Europe by sending its youth, its most highly prized treasure, to the Northern Europeans.

The educated youth cost Greek tax payers billions to reach their state of work readiness.

The ones finding jobs are not the ones who skipped classes, and even bashed professors, and sometimes even paid to get adequate marks to pass, but the most able and smartest of the crop. The dumb, violent and malingering fools will be left for the Greek taxpayer to feed for eternity.

An Australian television reporter was interviewing a few Greek professionals in Athens who would have been in their 30s, and every one of them was pointing a finger at others, but not one took any responsibilty for the present situation.

They took no interest in how Greece was governed, when they, more than most other Greeks, could have have influenced what was going on around them. One of them even blamed the German invasion for the present problem. Nothing about dumb Greek fighting dumb Greek in 1945-49. No mention of a million Greeks in government employment who can barely read and write.

What has stopped Greece developing as a democratic country has been its Stalinist attitudes to everything. It’s as if the 1949 last battle did not wipe out the Stalinist dream of heaven.

Greece will be dragged by the rest of the world into the 21st century whether it likes it or not, or the rest of the world will burn Greece to rid itself of trouble. The hatred of Greece by the rest of the world should not be underestimated. In every news bulletin in every language Greece is mentioned. Every fall in people’s shares or savings is partly blamed on the Greeks.

If Greece allows itself to prosper by freeing up the economy and society, it will eventually hit a wall. The lack of an educated workforce will mean Greece will struggle to reach the levels of income it enjoyed before 2008. A professional produces at least 100 euros of wealth an hour, unskilled workers barely reach 5 euros in most cases.

If anyone has any hope for Greece in the future, they had better organise, very quickly, a way of keeping the educated young; they are the salvation of Greece, there is nothing else.

The dead wood in the public service should be sacked, and their jobs given to the young as a way of keeping them in Greece before it’s too late.

Charilaos Lithoxopoulos

Subject: Re: The Greek dilemma

I am an English language teacher and my name is Thomas Hendry. I have been living as a permanent resident in Thessaloniki for over 33 years and have along with my father, who has been living here since 1982, been following the recent political and economic turmoil in Greece with considerable anxiety and fear even.

I am writing on behalf of my father, the Reverend Leonard Hendry, who has no personal experience or knowledge of sending e-mails, and he has requested I send you a poem he has written about the delicate issue of whether the country should stay within the euro zone or revert back to the drachma, in the hope you may consider publishing it. My father is a retired Anglican priest, aged 77, who reads your newspaper in English On Line on a daily basis. Together we have endless conversations about what the future might possibly hold in store for Greece — a country we have the greatest of respect for and whose problems we empathise with.

The poem is simple and can in part be sung to a tune most expats living here in Greece will be familiar with. The tune is based on an old British music hall ditty (based on lyrics written in 1893 by George LeBrunn) and the refrain of the original song goes like this: ?Oh! Mr. Porter, what shall I do, I wanted to go to Birmingham, and they’ve taken me on to Crewe. Take me back to London as quickly as you can. Oh! Mr. Porter, what a silly girl I am.?

Please find the patience and time of day to bear with me as I relate to you my father’s poem:-

Oh! Mrs. Merkel, what shall we do?

We want to stay in the Euro,

But we don’t know what to do.

Shall we vote for austerity

Or for prosperity?

Oh! Mrs. Merkel, what shall we do?

Oh! Mrs. Merkel, what shall we do?

We want to stay in the Euro,

But we don’t know what to do.

Shall we have the Fourth Reich?

Or maybe pick up our own mike?**

Oh! Mrs. Merkel, what shall we do?

Oh! Mrs. Merkel, what shall we do?

We want to stay in the Euro,

But we don’t know what to do.

Shall we accept the Marka?

Or just go back to the drachma?

Oh! Mrs. Merkel,

Do tell us what to do!

** The reference to picking up the mike refers to standing united as one nation with a uniform voice. Also, defying any anti-Greek comments made by Angela Merkel and the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Thomas Hendry

Thessaloniki

Reply to Phil Williams

?With an inexperienced PM and escalating violence in the streets, President Karolos Papoulias dissolves the government and empowers General Michail Kostarakos to restore public order and institute an interim government while introducing the New Drachma.»

The above scenario is only the beginning of the nightmare. At least at this point the military is in control and some level of order is being maintained.

So they introduce the New Drachma. But where is the economy to back it up? How does Greece import basic goods? In the meantime, does the state begin to collapse even further? Greece is already a failing state. It is failing because no one knows how to run a state properly. No one out of 11 million people.

Into this scenario can enter two more factors; armed resistance to the military and organised crime. There are about 1.5 million firearms in Greece, of which only 300,000 are licensed (http://www.balkanalysis.com/greece/2011/05/15/organized-crime-in-greece-statistics-trends-and-police-countermeasures-in-2011-2).

That’s 1.5 million firearms for 11 million people. Greece’s coastline is a smuggler’s paradise: 6,000 islands constitute 20% of her land area. Mountains and mountainous borders constitute 34% of her mainland. The history of the Civil War tells us how possible it is to create anti-government insurgency in the Balkans.

If the Greek state collapses completely, we may have a Kosovo/Bosnia scenario. This is not an impossible scenario. The Greek economy is beginning to resemble Peru or Bangladesh far more than even E. European poverty (Albania, Romania). Where the state collapses, organised crime flourishes and/or supplies resistance. If the Germans try to ‘intervene’ to stabilize, the left will cry ‘Occupation’.

In the meantime, any semblance of normality, even the present ‘abnormality’ may come to seem preferable to what may develop without state and without governance and without money/economy after June 17 if Berlin pulls the plug.

This really is only the beginning of the nightmare. In or out of the euro, the nightmare is more or less the same…

Philip Andrews