OPINION

In search of some common sense, with certain annoying truths

VASILIS PAPAGEORGIOU
Should there not be an inquiry into management of the bank which allowed its employees to stay in the area even though other stores and bank employees elsewhere had evacuated the area. Is it not strange and should we not be investigating this situation as well? What manager or business owner allows his employees to remain and jeopardize their safety?
WAYNE A. MCKENZIE, Ottawa, Canada
As a Greek Canadian who lived in Greece and understands the culture, I am not surprised by the most recent events. For years I heard that two in 10 people pay taxes on a regular basis and I saw drawers being opened and bribe money tossed in at the customs building in Piraeus personally. A cash society, black money and sense of entitlement have brought Greece to its knees. How does one change that sort of mentality? Not easily, for it is ingrained in the Greek mind-set. I find that the Greeks are not a united country, they do not work together to achieve a common goal. My people are «poniree» [i.e. canny] but they seem to have «ponireed» [i.e. «cannied»] themselves into bankruptcy. I am afraid civil war will follow. On this side of the Atlantic, many Greek Canadians are afraid to go to the homeland for the summer – talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Are the tourists not the big moneymaker for the Greeks? Shame on all those who assembled with Molotov cocktails, that is not democracy but anarchy. Years ago I wondered how joining the EU would impact Greece, and now I know the answer. One has to wonder if the street protesters unintentionally seek to drag Greece out of the eurozone. Since Greece has insufficient euros, it would have to resurrect the drachma, whose result would be sharply rising inflation on stagnant wages and shortages of imports, as Greece could not pay for them. Do the protesters really want this outcome, as there is no alternative to strong austerity measures.
CHRIS KAPSAMBELIS, Pocasset, USA
Yet again the world can thank Greece for showing the way to the future. From around the world, people need to recognize that the European model of governance is unsustainable. The focus on government as the main source for the welfare of a nation needs to shift back to the original Greek idea of democracy, where each individual is responsible for his own welfare, and the government is limited to providing services that are beyond the individual’s ability. I realize that this clashes with the European utopian view of life, but, unfortunately, human nature seems to be incompatible with utopia. The picture of Athens on fire is all the proof that is needed.
GUNNAR SVENSSON, Sweden
I am nothing but a simple teacher from Sweden. Like most people here, I work 40 hours a week as does my husband. We have two daughters who we see after 5.30 in the evenings. We are not rich; we don’t even own a house, but we are quite content. We are paid 12 months a year, but we do not receive any extra salaries in the summer or at Christmas. We pay 33 percent taxes each month, which we always have done, ever since we started to work. We, like everyone else, will have to work until we are 65 years old before we get a pension. So, as you see, we work hard in a harsh climate. Therefore, I hope you understand that I will never empathize with your strikes. Furthermore, I will not pay for the Greek people to have an early retirement, and if you want that, then I suggest you do it on your own money and not be funded by the EU. If the Greeks start paying tax, then maybe you can fund it yourself.
GEORGE SALAMOURAS, Melbourne, Australia
All political parties are more or less responsible for Greece’s economic woes. Most agree that Greece needs to change politically and economically. Greece must reduce the number of deputies from 300 to 200, and set an example when others are asked to make sacrifices. Greece should deport all illegal immigrants that are selling imitation handbags, CDs etc. The center of Athens should be a showpiece for international tourism not a dumping ground for undesirables. This is not good for local traders or the Greek economy. Greece should drastically cut back on defense spending. The international community would never allow Turkey to invade an EU and NATO member. The army should be scaled back and put to better use for border protection. The Dublin II Regulation treaty should be scrapped. As Greece is one of the first points of entry into the EU, this puts a huge burden on a small country like Greece. Immediate deportations should be implemented and the bill should be sent to Brussels. These are some examples of how to save money.