Τετάρτη, 20 Ιουνίου 2012

The Villains, the benefactors and the Greeks

By Evi Marami*
I am so angry, so very angry with last night’s Greek voting result. In fact, furious would better describe what I have in my mind and heart this moment. I am a 30 year-old professional, living in the UK for the last 8 years. Back when I decided to leave Greece and come here to study, it was not an easy choice but a decision I had to make to do something for myself. Now the choice of returning to my home country one day has been taken away from me, I wasn’t asked what I wanted, my wishes haven’t been respected, my voice hasn’t been heard and on top of that they ask me to respect the voting result because it is supposed to  represent the public demand. An election that was conducted in a climate of pure terror and blackmailed by our foreign benefactors who say “we will issue you the money only if you vote according to our wishes”. I am disgusted! Who on earth gave them the right  to interfere like that, to make propaganda against certain political parties who dared to express a different  view, by publishing vile controlling articles; to blackmail the Greek people with such contemptible means like holding the money back. Where does it stop? Where do you stop? Why is there no one objecting, where are society’s moral concerns? It is as if France was trying to interfere in British affairs while the rest of Europe sits back apathetically watching the movie.
I am sad. I don’t want anyone’s pity and I don’t expect your respect for what Greek democracy and spirit gave to the world. Truly educated people can understand and appreciate its significance so I am not in the least bit worried about it. What I do expect though is everybody’s basic sense of humanity, to treat Greeks as suffering humans because they do suffer. Please let me give you some facts that do not often reach the British news. Suicide rates have increased dramatically over the last two years placing Greece to the top of the list with an increase of 17% in a country that previously had amongst the lowest rates. There are children fainting from starvation in schools; the unemployment has stricken 1.5m people; seriously ill patients like those suffering from cancer are not administered medication because they cannot afford to pay; the salary of an academically qualified employee in the public sector, after 20 years of services, has been reduced by two thirds and further deductions are expected.  The market is dying, shops and small companies close every day as there is no disposable income to keep the market moving, which is something that could give a great boost to the poor economy; the larger companies move to neighbouring countries that offer a more attractive economic environment and a lower tax system as over the last two years all taxes have increased in Greece as a urgent and desperate measure to collect money. Last year the average-income family paid €2000 (£1600, approximately) extra heavy taxes to the state that were sadistically incorporated into the electricity bills, with a threat of ‘no payment, no power’. The result? Hundreds of houses blacked out, they stayed without electricity and heating in the heart of the coldest winter in years, in a country of the wealthy west, year 2011.
I feel betrayed by my own people. They allowed themselves to be intimidated and scared, to feel that this pressure and moral terrorism imposed by the Greek and foreign media was the natural consequence, the fair punishment for their past mistakes. They thought it is acceptable to feel desperate and depressed and hopeless. They were mortified thinking of what tomorrow might bring. They were intentionally left to believe that a change would mean leaving the Eurozone, with no support, no safety provided, no future and no hope. And they made the greatest mistake of all; believed that they could build their dreams on a burnt house. Instead of bringing it down and re-build it on strong and healthy foundations they chose to paint over the smudges, to hide their fears, their guilt and shame.
I feel drained. Not many words left to describe what’s inside my heart and mind. If people think that the Greeks say opa to all their problems, they couldn’t be further from the truth. The austerity measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund were to help Greece overcome the financial crisis and stabilize her shaken economy, not to bury her alive, not to sell her to countries with bigger wallets, not to condemn her to a poor, humiliating existence. No one and I mean no one deserves to feel that there is no tomorrow for his or her children. Let them pay for the past mistakes but in full pride and dignity. Make them correct and discharge everything that has become rotten but on fair terms. Expect them to comply with the rules but leave them space to do it on their own.
Help the Greeks believe there is future ahead of them. Not in favour of our great ancient history, but in favour of the necessity to keep modern Europe strong and alive, safe and secured, current and oncoming.
Ancient Greeks believed in catharsis. Let the Greeks today prove they can achieve it.
*KTG received this guest post by a young Greek woman living in the UK. Evi Marami, 30, an education psychologist,  felt the need to write right from the heart her thoughts about the results of  June 17 elections and the disturbed relations between the Greeks and their lenders.  

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