By Loucas Charalambous
I AM AT a loss over all the bizarre views I have been hearing from Athens. Much of what is being said by political demagogues and journalists are beyond the bounds even of insanity. Greece is on the verge of suffocating to death and they give the impression they cannot see the dire straits their country is in.
Under normal circumstances, the events of the last six months should have shattered all illusions and delusions. They should have brought all Greeks back down to earth and led them, firstly, to engage in some serious self-criticism. They should have looked at the real causes of the catastrophe, acknowledged their many mistakes and started work on the gradual restoration of their country that they had driven to bankruptcy and disrepute.
If only! The demagoguery and cheap slogans continue to dominate political debate and media comments. “The masks are off in Brussels” a presenter on state broadcaster ERT blurted out on Tuesday night. The presenter was presumably one of the ERT employees who, immediately after their re-hiring by the Syriza government, issued a statement demanding, among other things, that ERT hire a first degree relative of every employee that had passed away.
I mention this because the unbelievable audacity of the unions was one of the main causes for Greece’s bankruptcy.
So whose masks are off? Those of the 18 eurozone leaders, who were preparing to open their state coffers to give Greece another €117 billion to save her from total catastrophe. When it is just a television presenter expressing these views, it is not much of an issue, but when similar and worse insults are uttered on the TV panels by ministers, party leaders and deputies – even by the prime minister – it becomes clear why the main argument in the eurozone is that “trust has been shattered.”
How could trust not be shattered when everyone now knows that the political demagogues used vile deceit to get Greece into the eurozone in 2001? What trust could there be when the countries giving loans, at very low interest, are being crudely taken for a ride by the clowns of Athens and especially the self-aggrandising, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis? How could there be any trust when by the end of the 2010-2015 bailout programmes only 52 per cent of the provisions were actually implemented?
Prime Minister Tsipras’ most-loved slogan was that the austerity programme of the last five years had failed and led the country into a deeper recession. But how could the programme have succeeded when its most fundamental provisions (privatisations and structural changes) were never implemented by the political demagogues?
In the last five years Tsipras and his Syriza comrades did little other than incite public employees to go on demonstrations, which sometimes turned into riots in the centre of Athens, “against the memorandums”. Tsipras finally admitted in his last interview on ERT, that “it is not progressive to pension off workers at 45 years of age.” But this had been happening for 35 whole years, ever since the Andreas Papandreou plague swept the country.
The slogan that dominated debate after the agreement in Brussels, which Tsipras endorsed during his television interview, was that the agreement was a coup. If being given €117 billion by foreign countries so that your economy avoids a nuclear winter is a coup, then words have really lost their meaning. And when they are giving you the money while you are labelling them blackmailers, thieves, exploiters and rapists of democracy, and on top of this accuse them of not respecting your dignity and of humiliating you, I wonder how much money they should have given you for you to thank them.
Tsipras and his indescribable comrades should pray for more of these sweet and lucrative coups.