What is going on in Greece?

About a month ago I was staying at my friends place which is located a bit far away to the center of Athens. We decided to prepare a traditional Greek appertizer called “riganatha” for making this delicious thing you need grilled bread, feta (greek cheese), tomato and oregano. The only missing thing was feta which is a crucial ingredient. We headed to the market to buy some feta obviously. Guess what? It was the Easter time and all markets were closed. Desperately we were going back home, just on that time we saw a middle aged woman standing on the road, probably waiting for someone, and asked if she knows any open place to buy some cheese, she replied “no i don’t think so” and we kept on walking, after a while we heard her voice out of a car. She was yelling us like we were doing something so wrong… The car stopped right before us and that lady says: “We are going out of the city for a picnic we will need the cheese but we want to share our cheese if you accept”

In Greek daily life these kind of little gestures are ordinary. People smile and they ask “how are you” not for being polite but for they really care it.

But the most of the people in Greece believe that this consensus, this peaceful autmosphere and this trust in ‘strangers’ is fading away day by day. Greeks and ‘the others’ feel more unsecured.

In the last years Greece is living the tragedy of economical crisis. In the dept of 327 billion euro foreign loans, non-ending protests and strikes, rising unemployement… Government is trying to appease the society with “the tightening the belts” policy like our Turkish former prime minister Tansu Çiller once tried in 90’s -which has ended with a big failure-… On the other hand he is going to try to get 33 billion euro with the privatization till 2015. Papandreu tries to solve this economical crisis problem which he took over from Karamanlis with the help of World Bank and IMF (What a helpful coalition, right?) with the terrible reciepts. Officials say unemployement is over than 1 million (total population of GR is 11,3 million people) Left tended newspaper Avgi’s editor, Nikos Filis says: “Greeks used to have hope, but now they can’t see anything but fear” (13 May, The Guardian) Professor of economy Yiannis Caloghirou from the Technical National University of Athens says: “extremly rightist are pulling the country in an ungovernable situation, the faith in institutions is going down and EU is making it worse with lack of strategy” On the other hand unsolved immigration problem is turned the country to hell for immigrants too. %10 percent of all Greece population is from immigrants which are mostly African, Asian or Pakistani.

Hate crimes are rising

Athens which was one of the most peaceful metropols in all Europe till 3 years ago now is living this scene: a Greek man (44) who was trying to take his pregnant wife to hospital was stabbed to death on 11 May. On the claim that the suspect was an immigrant over than 100 people gathered to protest this attack. But this protest easily turned into ‘an another attack’… Neo-Nazi’s and extremely nationalist groups headed to Patission where mostly immigrants live. “Get out from Greece foriegners!” they were screaming and they attacked to the shops of immigrants. However it was not enough… One immigrant from Bangladesh was killed and so many injured.

Christos Papoutsis, minister of eternal order, said that “hate crime risk is going up” but the Greek police could not succeed to arrest anyone till now. (13 May, New York Times) Yes, the same police who is not missing any chance to beat students and the workers, the same police could not detain anyone from a 100 organized neo-Nazi group, here is a link to see Greek police is beating a guy who is protesting the government’s ‘the belt policy’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=celyhv_P79Y&feature=player_embedded#at=15

Greece is the doorway of Europe to the ‘rest of the world’, it keeps the door of West to the East, the door of North to the South, that’s why its the first stop of immigrants. If they can survive from a dangerous ‘running away’ trip from their countries (which is full of wars, hunger and poverty) they are welcomed (!) by the police. After it they are trying to run away from their obligatory houses (prisons?) to the other cities… They are tending to sell drugs and creating their ghettos.

Greek media began to debate again immigration problem after these incidents. I will put ‘a comma’ here with the words of a Greek blogger who is hosting on tripioevro.blogspot.com. And I hope to write better things about Greece soon.

“Greece is the part of the universe and the universe belongs to everyone”

“Η Ελλάδα είναι κομμάτι του πλανήτη μας κι ο πλανήτης ανήκει σε όλους τους κατοίκους του…”

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5 responses to “What is going on in Greece?

  1. Sadly enough I think that this development with more inequality, more riots, insecurity, fear and hate is one taking place all over “the West”. What happened in the UK will soon happen in Sweden if the liberal-conservative coalition is allowed to have their go with Sweden. Unfortunately the Social Democrats or the Greens aren’t really proposing a different policy, the only alternatives to the liberal agenda in Sweden are the Left Party (former communists) and the Sweden Democrats (racist populistic party). Two books I’ve read capture/explain a lot of this rather well I think, The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (on the effects of inequality) and On the Political by Chantal Mouffe (on the dangers of giving voters no alternatives (to liberalism)).

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