On the Greece Debt Free campaign and other charitable initiatives

I was reading about a new Greek beer that is produced on the island of Santorini, famous for its volcano and magic scenery. The beer is, not surprisingly, called Volkan and is brewed with rare Cycladic ingredients. Its brewing method includes the conditioning of the water using Santorini basalt in a so-called “Lava Rock Filter”.

Volkan beer

I visited their website and noticed that the brand is part of a campaign called “Greece Debt Free” (GDF). It means that for every euro spent on their products, 50 cents will be donated to reduce the Greek national debt. So far the only member of the GDF campaign is Volkan beer. Here’s their Facebook page and below you can watch their promo video.

The whole campaign is aiming either to the patriotic feeling of Greek consumers (help your country while sipping your beloved beer) or to the charitable feeling of tourists (while you’re having your holidays in Greece, help this poor country). My excitement about a new creative Greek product, at a time when Greece is obviously producing less and less, has been compromised by the whole idea behind campaign like GDF. What’s the point? Are we supposed to get drunk in order to help Greece get out of the mess? What is the GDF-supported company’s role in this chaos? And what if we manage to save Greece with the GDF campaign, as their vision suggests? The wrongdoings of those in power who mismanaged Greece for all these years will be forgotten. They, not just Greece, will be saved. No justice will be done. And, of course, it will be repeated. Simply see the criticism on charities to understand what I mean.

My objection to such initiatives is that there is no reference to responsibilities. Who brought us here? According to the mainstream narrative, we face the crisis as a natural catastrophe. Well it’s not. There have been people in power (and behind it) who took decisions and hold a part of the responsibility. And if Greece’s financial problem will be solved by offerings and donations, nothing will change.

On another similar occasion I remember, last Spring, when I passed by the Greek Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia. There was a notice board where people were invited to donate money in order to reduce the Greek public debt. Like a charity’s box over the counter of a grocery store. “This is where we’ve ended” we said with my friends. Where has this country’s dignity gone?

"We love Greece - We support Greece" says the poster outside the Greek embassy in Belgrade, Serbia.

Apparently, there was no funds for a special printing of the poster in Serbian, so the poster is fully in Greek. I guess these posters were printed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and were distributed in Greek embassies worldwide. I wonder how much money this campaign managed to raise.

3 responses to “On the Greece Debt Free campaign and other charitable initiatives

  1. I can’t believe I’m reading this!! You wrote “And what if we manage to save Greece with the GDF campaign, as their vision suggests? The wrongdoings of those in power who mismanaged Greece for all these years will be forgotten. They, not just Greece, will be saved. No justice will be done.”
    Are you serious??? Do you honestly believe that the Greek debt problem will be solved by initiatives like GDF?? Instead of congratulating these people for their initiative, which is to help TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY, you dismiss the whole thing as pointless and even dangerous… Unbelievable!
    As for charities, which you apparently criticize, what exactly are you suggesting? That people should be left to die on the streets? Do you realize there are more and more people in urgent need of help? People who are unemployed and can’t feed their children let alone themselves?? You write “My objection to such initiatives is that there is no reference to responsibilities.” Well, let me inform you that charities are not judicial courts and are here to HELP, not judge and condemn. And that’s one thing that the debt crisis has not taught the majority of Greeks. To start helping each other! So THANK GOD for the few who do!

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  2. First of all I didn’t say that the Greek debt problem will be solved by GDF, I merely wondered “what if…”. You haven’t grasped the idea behind my question though. Who is responsible for the crisis? (by the way, who do you think is responsible for what we are going through?)

    I can’t congratulate these people, because the people behind GDF are shipping industry tycoons and they have a very important interest in keeping the status quo in Greece.

    As for charities, I didn’t say that they shouldn’t exist, neither that they all do only harm. But when the state fails somewhere (e.g. people dying in the streets as you say) and a charity steps in, they should have in mind that, at the same time with helping these people, they hide the incompetency of the state. Of course they should save the dying people if they can. Their help is welcome and needed but their work should not let us forget who’s fault it is that we need a charity for services that would otherwise be provided by a developed Western welfare state system. My vision for Greece is not to have a bunch of charities to rely on and be thankful and dependent for their existence. This doesn’t sound a nation with dignity. I pay taxes, damn it. Lots of them. I demand a proper welfare system.

    And last but not least, since the beginning of GDF’s campaign, the number of homeless people, unemployed people, patients with cancer that can’t buy their medicines, etc has not been reduced. Only some junk bonds have been bought back, as the GDF site suggests.

    If you bother to reply, please answer to the core of my criticism (about responsibilities) rather than taking quotes from my post out of context in a populist way.

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    • As a journalist you should know that there is no way of taking quotes “out of context” while the original post is in full view. Plus I did read your entry, you know…

      As for responsibilities, I will say it again, that has nothing to do with charities. If your original intent was to discuss the failure of the state to protect its citizens and provide for them, you should have done just that. No need to go bashing charities -which, allow me to say, you did.

      You speak of dignity yet you seem to forget that the only dignity we have left is that of beggars. Because regardless of what has brought Greece to its knees, at this point in its history Greece is begging for money. And that’s a tough one to swallow.

      PS Who do I think is responsible for what we are going through? That will probably takes us the rest of the century to figure out, in terms of specifics. If a general answer will satisfy you at this point (and it’s not “who” but “what”) I would say greed, arrogance and fear. Not necessarily in that order.

      BTW Don’t be surprised if my e-mail doesn’t match the previous one I entered. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t -I can’t remember as both are bogus. I feel strongly against blogs that won’t allow you to reply unless you enter you e-mail address. Sorry.

      Al the best.

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