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Go to hell!

An illustration by Manos Symeonakis on the Greek haircut (made for the Cartoon Movement)

I just read this post by a well-known Greek blogger, Kartesios. I decided to translate it (the link to the original post is here). The illustration is by Manos Symeonakis and I decided to add it here with the text below. It’s dedicated to those who believe that the recent haircut saved Greece from bankruptcy. I don’t know about the economy and the banks, but the society and the welfare state (what?) is already bankrupt. Here you go with Kartesios’ post:

I haven’t been writing for the past couple of days because I thought I’d get over it, I’ll calm down and won’t swear. I hoped that if I start writing I won’t be moved, I won’t cry like an idiot. But apparently this is not possible.

It’s not possible because it’s not something that I was told of but something that I lived. He was looking me straight in the eyes and telling me “I’m gonna sell my kidney, mate, but I’ll save her”. He was angry and decided about it. I knew he meant it.

He is unemployed. Fired. She, his wife, is a 700 euro nurse. They found cancer on her breast.

None of them has reached their 40s. When they asked at public hospitals they were telling them something about a waiting list for the operation and about lacking personnel. In the private ones, the 3.000 euro pay for the doctor was non-negotiable.

The public social insurance doesn’t even cover the breast ultrasound. Even those 15 euros is coming out of their pockets. Their 3 kids at home. They shouldn’t learn anything. And he is decided. “I’m gonna sell my kidney, mate. I’m going someone to sell it to”.

And me, not being able to find those 3.000 euros to give them to him and he could return them whenever he can. Not even knowing someone who has this amount. These are my friends, what can I do now? None of them has that much.

This is why I don’t feel like writing. Because I don’t give a damn about anything. And anybody. Punks. Scoundrels. Both leftists and rightists. Those who call me to vote for them. They can kiss my ass.

As for the sacred right of the vote, let those who believe that vote is more sacred than human life and dignity practice it. I don’t think it’s more sacred than human life and dignity. And because none of them hasn’t defended them as they should, they can go fuck themselves altogether.

The leftist parties in the parliament have given a void battle. Everything was passed. The Memoranda, the measures, the treaties and the Mid-Term programs. And the two parties of the Left haven’t managed to say good-morning to each other.

They have 30 MPs today. So what will happen if they become 50 or 60? The rest 240 will continue to vote for measures. What measures? Those that are secretly passed when the night falls, which raise the heart patients’ participation to their medication from 10% to 25%.

Many Doctors’ Associations are already screaming that low pensioners, unemployed and fired heart patients are undertreated putting their life at risk, because they decide by themselves to reduce the medication in order to save it.

They cut the pill in half so that the box lasts for double the amount of days. These are the posh battles at the Parliament. Words, words, words and then everything is passed. Like a road roller. Dead people who go unregistered.

And then they tell you “please complain quietly”. No, you imbecile. It can’t be quiet because you pocket 3 or 13 or 30 thousands by simply being a fucking MP and some other guy sells his kidney to save his wife.

Why should I vote for you, you bimbo? So that you give their democracy an alibi? Everyone is innocent. Their crimes are cancelled because of limitation periods, just like that. And the other guy is losing his wife. Go to hell, I’m not going to transact with you. You can stick the ballot box and its results up your arse. Mother-fuckers.

And, yes, I swear to the Left because I was waiting from the Left to come forward and get out in the streets. Not for the right wing fascists, not from the green crooks did I wait for something. I was not disappointed by them. They were opposite me in the first place. Now I’m also opposite to the courtesan of the so called political culture. Radical Left and bollocks. Get out of here you clowns. Wankers.

Exercising the Power of Nightmares

Greek Prime Minister Papademos gave a long introductory speech to his cabinet meeting last Friday (10/02/12). Considering his previous speeches and announcements, he devoted a big part of his speech by describing what would happen to Greece and Greeks should we end up in a disorderly bankruptcy.

Lucas Papademos, Greek PM

Here’s a hasty translation of that part:

A disorderly bankruptcy would throw our country into a disastrous adventure. Circumstances would create economic chaos and uncontrollable social explosion.The adverse consequences of a disorderly bankruptcy would be multiple and extremely painful for the Greek economy and society.

The state will be unable to pay salaries, pensions, to cover basic functions, such as hospitals and schools, while we will still have a primary deficit of 5.2 billion euros. Which means that the state revenues would be insufficient to cover our expenses, even if we would stop serving our debt.

Direct spending cuts which would have to go in case of a disorderly bankruptcy would result in real wages and pensions collapse, especially since it would be even more difficult to collect taxes.

The import of basic goods such as medicines, oil, machinery, etc., would be particularly problematic, as the country, both public and private sectors, will lose all access to borrowing and liquidity will shrink. Businesses would close en masse, unable to raise finance.

The living conditions of Greeks in the case of a disorderly bankruptcy would collapse and the country would drift into a long spiral of recession, instability, unemployment and destitution.

These developments will lead, sooner or later, at the exit from the euro. From the core country of the Eurozone, Greece would become a weak country on the fringes of Europe.

The full speech (in Greek) can be found here.

Never before has he spent so many words to describe what his vision of Greece is. Never before has he used more words to inform us how the situation can improve. Never before, during his duty, has he told us where exactly we are led with this new round of measures. For the first time he chose to describe the worst case scenario, a psychological blackmail trick that has been abused repeatedly during George Papandreou’s two years in power.

It’s not a new or unique phenomenon in politics. British film maker Adam Curtis described it in his 3-part documentary called “The Power of Nightmares”.

In the past, says Curtis, politicians were competing each other by offering a better future. Citizens were choosing the best and more feasible future and would vote it in elections. In the past decade or so this has changed. Politicians are now competing by offering the least worse future for the citizens, who live in a state of fear of what could happen to them.

Lucas Papademos just joined the group.

To watch all three hour-long parts of Adam Curtis’ Power of Nightmares, click here. Adam Curtis’ blog at BBC is available here.

PSI Athens

An illustration by Manos Symeonakis for ekathimerini and Inside Greece blog.

"CSI ... PSI Athens" by Manos Symeonakis

A porn star’s political party and random thoughts of today

While the fate of my country is decided by unknown people on the other side of the planet and Twitter is like a sewer of rumours on how the PSI negotiations are going, here’s some random thoughts and news in brief.

The Public Power Company (DEI or PPC) has sent out the first 30.000 notices to electricity consumers who haven’t paid the bill which included the special property tax. This was a tax based on the square meters of each consumer’s home and was charged in the electricity bill so that everyone had to pay this. I know several people who had no money to buy petrol for heating and were warming themselves with the use of electrical appliances or, simply, firewood.

Nikos Fotopoulos greeting his comrades from the prosecutor's office window (older incident)

The chairman of PPC’s trade union, Nikos Fotopoulos, has called the PPC employees to disobey the order of cutting electricity supply to homes of unemployed and poor citizens. God knows how this can be done in practice. According to Ethnos newspaper, the notices have not been handed yet to the private companies which will carry out the work of cutting the supply.

According to the latest statistics (from the Ministry of Citizen Protection) the number of suicides between January-November 2011 reached 598 people. Last Friday, an 80 years old man set himself on fire outside the parking lot of the Greek Telecom office in Lefkada island.

Along with the best of the Greek youth that is steadily emigrating abroad in search of a job (preferably with a decent pay), Julia Alexandratou, the nation’s most famous porn star, has decided to move to Los Angeles and try her chances with the planet’s top porn industry. She also announced her intention to create a new political party. “You never know, people might vote for me just to state their reaction to the current situation” said the blonde porn celebrity. If she indeed gets any votes at all, I’ll feel that I belong in the most desperate country in the world. Greek blogger Pitsirikos expressed his disappointment that Greece cannot sustain financially not only its youth but also its best paid porn star. He also added that Julia has put things in the right order. She’ll go to try her chances in the American porn industry and, if things don’t go well, she’ll return to found a political party.

Finally, here’s how the paranoia of Greek politics and economy look like to foreign observers of things here. This is a short post from ZeroHedge based on an article from the German broadsheet newspaper Die Zeit.

As Greek standards of living nose-dive, loans to households and businesses shrink still further, and Troika-imposed PSI discussions continue, there is one segment of the country’s infrastructure that is holding up well. In a story on Zeit Online, the details of the multi-billion Euro new arms contracts are exposed as the European reach-around would be complete with IMF (US) and Europe-provided Greek bailout cash doing a full-circle into American Apache helicopters, French frigates, and German U-Boats. As the unnamed source in the article notes: “If Greece gets paid in March the next tranche of funding (€ 80 billion is expected), there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts.”

Greece intends to buy tens of these EuroFighters

With the country’s doctors only treating emergencies, bus drivers on strike, and a dire lack of school textbooks and the country teetering on the brink of Drachmatization, perhaps our previous concerns over military coups was not so far-fetched as after the Portuguese (another obviously stressed nation), the Greeks are the largest buyers of German war weapons.  It seems debt crisis talks perhaps had more quid pro quo than many expected as Euro Fighter commitments were also discussed and Greek foreign minister Droutsas points out: “Whether we like it or not, Greece is obliged to have a strong military”.

Speaking of coups (again), here’s a short story that happened to me yesterday. I was outside a public health building and an old man approached me. He didn’t look very well. “Can I tell you something very serious?” he said. “On 21st of January, 4pm, there will be a military coup d’ etat. The tanks will get out in the streets and a curfew will be imposed. Prepare yourself, buy goods from the super market and, for god’s sake, don’t get out from your house!”. I asked his source and he replied very seriously “I was told so by my uncle who was an adjutant of Dertilis”, one of the most prominent members of the 1967-1974 military dictatorship who is still serving his life sentence. This is not to be taken seriously of course (I was in no position of checking the credibility of his claims), it’s just a note on how some people are losing it.

The year in numbers

WordPress sent me this annual report for my blog. Here are some stats on When the Crisis hit the Fan.

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2011, there were 63 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 128 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 1,845 views. The most popular post that day was Greece spirals out of control.

A military coup in Greece: conspiracy or real threat?

I ‘ve just got an email from by Leonardo Bianchi, an Italian journalist and author of La Privata Repubblica, who has been reading this blog for quite some time. His question was whether all those references to a possible coup d’ etat in Greece are a real threat or simply a conspiracy chit-chat. After replying to him, I thought that more readers could have the same question so I decided to explain.

An important detail is to see who is the source of the reference to a military coup.

In Greece the majority of the mainstream media have been aligned with the government in this 2 year course of crisis & EU/IMF driven reforms. Since the beginning, decisions were taking only at the last minute and usually after some form of psychological blackmail to the public, which the mainstream media dutily reproduced in headlines. Greeks have a sad past with military dictatorships and the mere mentioning of the word shocks a lot of people (only 35 years ago there were people, now in their 50s or 60s, who suffered a lot because of our last dictatorship). So when the mainstream media mention such scenarios, I believe that their goal is to terrorize people, to shock them and make them accept anything (example, “if we get kicked out of eurozone, there will be chaos and possibly a dictatorship, so accept these new round of measures and save ourselves”). This methodology has worked repeatedly around the world (read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein) and particularly during the past 2 years in Greece.

Foreign journalists of course have no reason to be part of this game. When they write of coups and tanks in the streets, I think they just want to write an interesting story and since it has been mentioned before as a possibility, they are legitimized (I guess) to reproduce it. Some of them have no clue of the seriousness of this claim (some have never visited Greece) but still, it’s catchy.
Now, whether I believe if it is a real threat, well, not really. I think we have a lot of crazy people in our military who might have thought it but the public today is more mature than in 1967 and it wouldn’t be so popular as then (back then, it was the cold war, the communist “threat” was something serious and the social mass could be controlled more easily). Plus, if an EU country would become a dictatorship, it would be immediately expelled from the EU with wider repercussions, not just for the country but also for the rest of the EU. For example, read about the British Army preparations for military action because of the eurozone crisis.
This is why I think it’s impossible (unless the wanna be dictators have the illusion that we need no one else in the world and that we can do it on our own for ever)