Ten days ago, I read somewhere that there are now 20,000 homeless people living on the streets of Athens, Greece. Eating out of garbage bins in the freezing Siberian cold.
Ten years ago I read something else. I was told that the Euro was a godsend. That it would bring us wealth, prosperity, growth, booming international trade, stability, accountability, freedom, equality and brotherhood…
Of course, it speaks for itself that such a miraculous panacea for all our ills, such a fountain of eternal economical youth, must be preserved at all costs. Hence we all agree, I hope, that to plunge a few million Greeks into misery, and starve a few hundred thousand of their old folk and children, is only a small sacrifice when it comes to saving the Euro. For the Euro is Good. The Euro is Benign. The Euro is what really matters. The Euro is – let me just whisper it - God!
It is, forsooth, an apt irony that Democracy is at present being strangled in what is reputedly her own cradle. Let there be no misunderstanding: I know the Greeks brought it upon themselves. Yes, they have shown themselves to be overspending, corrupt, nepotistic, untrustworthy freeloaders, who lied and cheated, who lend and spent idiotically, who danced through the spring without a thought for the morrow. So it is only fair to call them to account.
But no population, no matter how ill-behaved, deserves the sort of treatment that is now being visited upon the Greek nation.
The devilish combination of international financiers and Brussels Beurocrats finally have what they’ve been after for so long: sovereign European democracies are now being treated the way we used to treat Third World Countries in the 70s and 80s. You wanna know how it’s done? This is how it is done: first we allow them to overspend to their heart’s delight, giving easy credit by the shovelful, to buy weapons, or votes, or Swiss bank accounts for the top 1%. Then, as soon as they run into dire straights, due to a change in the markets or the interest rates or a financial slump, we sent in the World Bank and the IMF. These make the troubled people an offer they cannot refuse: we will grant you new loans with which to pay off old interest, but in exchange, every penny of social spending must be squeezed out of the national budget. What if people starve? What if children die of malaria? What if the Lumpenproletariat eats the rags from the shirt on its back? Once translated to the dispassionate forms of statistics, those are actually healthy economic developments.
This we used to do to African countries. To our shame and at the cost of our karma. And this is now being done to Greece. Behold the spectacle: a troika (now doesn’t that sound cheerful and folkloristic?) – a troika, then, of unelected Brussels beurocrats, joined by unelected European Central Bank officials and unelected IMF agents, have been negotiating a deal to plunge Greece back into the 19th century with an unelected Greek Prime Minister, who incidentally is a former ECB bigwig who helped setting up the Euro, and was put in – Colonial Office style - when his predecessor had the audacity to propose a referendum on the austerity measures. Democracy at work in Athens, 2012 A.D.
And what may be the name of that fine fellow, the PM of Greece who is so happy to sell his own nation down the river so that the Euro may survive? Ah, here history shows itself a great wit once again. The man is called Lucas Papademos… The latter of which means, unless my Greek is rusty beyond redemption, Father of the People. And Lucas? Well, Lucas, dear reader, ultimately goes back to Lykos. Wolf.
How apt! How very very apt. For yes: the Greeks are scoundrels. But these Eurogues are many times worse! And what we are assisting at, is a pack of jackals cornering a rat. Yet you wanna take care, little jackals of mine: rats bite back at times! And – take it from an old man who’s been around - by treating the European peoples like dirt, by putting your monetary pet projects before the well-being of your citizens, you are asking for guillotines in the Grote Markt of Brussels, on the Place du Chateau in Strasbourg, and on the Willy Brandt Platz in Frankfurt.
Stop wrecking our democracies. Stop starving our poor. And stop repeating history.
Alfred B. Mittington
(whose current blood pressure better not be mentioned)