The tangle, the defiance, the challenge and the reckless gamble by all involved in the coming Greek referendum, immediately brought to my mind a somewhat rough, but certainly utterly honest observation by Charles “Chuck” Wendell Colson.
Mr Colson used to be a special assistant to President Richard Nixon back in the 70s, and in that capacity performed a number of rather disreputable tasks, among other things (the more amusing ones you can read up on here) the organisation of the Watergate burglary that ultimately brought the Nixon administration down. For this and many other transgressions he served a prison term, after which – to his credit – he saw the Light, found the Lord and did his best to make up for his many sins as a preacher and a conscientious Christian.
Chuck Colson was, if anything, a ruthless Realpolitker (it was said by one who did not even dislike him all that much, that he was ‘The Evil Genius of an Evil Administration’, who wouldn’t think twice about walking over his own grandmother if this were necessary to win a re-election…), and he believed that the way to political popularity often involved a certain dose of pressure. Or, as he himself put it in far more flowery terms than my own:
Once you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow…!
This, dear reader, is of course what today the Brussels Nomenklatura firmly believes about the Greek populace. Let them sweat! Let them starve! Let them panic and make them bleed! Never give in an inch, and then they will learn to love us!
They may well be right, for bullying often works wonders. But anybody who – like myself - has ever read a history book about the roughly 2,500 years of Greek history, say from the Battle of Thermopylae through the Ottoman Empire to the Greek War of Independence and the German Occupation, surely will share my doubts… Yes, the Greeks may be a little bad and a little mad, but you cannot beat them when it comes to pride and dignity.
Next Sunday will tell…