Friday, February 3, 2012

All is Changing, All is Frightening?

Nikos Konstandaras of ekathimerini reports, All is changing, all is frightening:

One of the reasons for the impasse in Greece is the clash between two opposite, irreconcilable forces: On one side are those who insist on administering dangerous medicine to Greece’s weakened body, on the other are those who will accept no treatment. Even as both conspire toward the worst possible result, they accuse each other of the crime and persist with their methods. Caught in the middle of this “ideological” battle, the citizens have no convictions, they have no hope.

Uncertainty is worsened by our politicians’ either being terrified of what they must do or excited by the prospect of elections. They know that all is changing, that hitherto dominant forces will be swept away while others -- mainly leftist parties -- which were marginal, will pick up a heavy burden in a difficult climate. Citizens are continually exposed to conflicting arguments. Neither international organizations, nor our partners’ governments, nor our own politicians have persuaded them that we are following the right policy.

There is no synthesis of ideas, no vision, an idea that will unite and inspire the nation. Lucas Papademos’s government gave our politicians a way out, allowing them to share responsibility for difficult decisions, but the continued prospect of elections, the infighting by government members and the left’s unmitigated hostility do not permit any sense of security.

The consequences of strategic mistakes and political paralysis are worsened by the sloppiness of our state -- a sloppiness that betrays the great indifference that our politicians and state officials showed the citizens over many years. Before the crisis, this indifference was papered over by excessive spending, by the “generosity” of a disorganized country. Today we see all the weaknesses in their full glory: Back taxes and pay cuts result in empty pay packets, electricity production is uncertain, prisons are overflowing, the health and pension systems are depriving citizens at precisely the time that they need them most, the country’s finances depend not on our partners’ solidarity but on their fear of our collapse, the recession is deepening, and state and individual incomes are down while expenses are rocketing.

The next few days will be decisive with regard to our debt reduction, the new loan agreement with its difficult terms, with the continued “internal devaluation.” All is changing, all is frightening. Because we do not believe that the war is about victory, but about limiting our defeat.

The next few days are critical. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is preparing for a make or break meeting with Greek political leaders amid unconfirmed reports that he is considering resigning if the three parties in his coalition government cannot agree on the set of reforms Greece should adopt so it can qualify for more loans.

It saddens me watching this beautiful country I love so dearly going through economic hardship. Greece's bankrupt politicians make me sick but the truth is you can't impose more austerity on Greeks to pay off the bankers and bondholders. Nobody in Greece wants to go back to the drachma, but they don't want to become debt slaves for the rest of their lives either.

I was listening to a panel on Greek television this morning lament "forced wage cuts in the private sector" and demanding "war reparations from Germany." Unfortunately for them, they were rebuffed by the Hague Court of Justice.

Some Greeks are openly voicing their concerns that they're being targeted so politicians elsewhere can use them to instill fear among their citizens, showing them what happens when you don't bow to IMF/ troika demands. As one lady on television rightfully noted: "How are cuts in wages going to stimulate growth which we desperately need?"

It's all distressing and hopeless, wearing down Greeks who are sick and tired of EU summits and Greek political drama. And amid all this, 'Anonymous' hacked into the Greek Justice Ministry site:
The Greek Justice Ministry's website was out of order on Friday morning after being attacked by a group of international hackers sending an anti-austerity message to the Greek government. Known as 'Anonymous,' the group has in the past hit the American Justice Department and the FBI, among other state agencies.

The video sent by the group featured a person whose face was covered by a mask similar to the one featured in the «V for Vendetta» comic book series and film, in which the mysterious protagonist works to destroy a totalitarian regime.

"What is going on in your country is unacceptable,» the masked figure read from a piece of paper. «You were chosen by your people to act on behalf of them and express their wishes. But you have derogatorily failed. You have killed the most sacred element your country had, and that is democracy."

The group also warned that by signing the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on intellectual property rights, the government was pushing the Greek people «one step further toward oppression,» adding, «We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget."

Below, watch the message Anonymous posted on the Greek Justice Ministry site. Kind of eery but their message resonates with many Greeks who are sick and tired of being bullied by the IMF and troika into accepting more austerity.

Stay tuned, while millions will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, the real war will be fought in Athens -- the war for the heart and soul of Greece and her proud citizens.

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