Tag Archives: pitsirikos

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.

On the dysfunctional year that ends today

I woke up and started reading a couple of blogs with my morning coffee. The majority of them reminded me that this is the last day of the year. I thought of translating two small abstracts to give you an idea of how this otherwise joyous day is experienced in Greece. Yes, there’s plenty of pessimism in them.

"Disfunction" by Susana Blasco

Author and veteran blogger Nikos Dimou wrote:

I was asked to give a label on 2011. I spontaneously answered “A year lost”. Then I remembered 2010 and I added “one more”.

Greece’s most read blogger, Pitsirikos, wrote:

The year 2011 was a beautiful and “useful year”. It was the year that the Greek society had a mirror turned towards itself and was told “That’s who you are!”.

Off I go now to have my second cup of coffee in downtown Athens with one of my best friends. He was laid off three days ago.

Classifieds: Prime Minister wanted for small South European country

When I started writing this blog I was thinking that one post per 1-2 days would be enough. The developments of last week have been so many that I feel like posting something every half an hour. Unfortunately everything is changing so fast that I avoid writing things that might be outdated within minutes.

A Prime Minister decides a referendum about question X. He then changes his mind and prefers question Z. Then he changes his mind and cancels the referendum. Decisions that usually need weeks or months to be taken or change. Here in Greece, our politicians need minutes to do that. Who said that Greeks are slow and lazy at their job?

I was relieved that Papandreou and Samaras (I shall call them “the kids” for the rest of this post) have shelved their egos and started talking about the new government. Unsurprisingly they haven’t yet agreed on the new Prime Minister (or, rather, the agreed candidates they chose did not want to take the job post). The irony with these kids is that they now look like adults who have nothing in common. Some decades ago, they were studying in the USA enjoying a comfortable life.

Papandreou and Samaras studied together at Amherst College (USA)

The were playing in the same music band, they were going out together. They could even have had the same girlfriends, said jokingly Mimis Androulakis, a PASOK veteran ideologist. One day Samaras and Papandreou were at their favourite place, a pizza restaurant owned by some Chris Bell. Samaras told Papandreou “One day we’ll face each other in the Parliament”. “I will not get involved with politics” replied Papandreou. And here they are quarelling like kids again. The only difference is that now the whole world cares.

Samaras and New Democracy have rejected the idea to offer their members for Ministry posts. So we have the paradox that New Democracy is the only opposition party in the world that wants to participate and influence a new government, without ever being accused of having participated in it.

Another funny thing is that the greek public has been a bit confused on the name of the new goverment. Here are some of the names:

  • national unity government
  • government of national salvation
  • emergency government
  • interim government
  • transitional government
  • government of cooperation
  • co-goverment
  • special task government
  • fixed-term government

But that’s a detail if you compare it with the crucial point: who’s gonna be the Prime Minister? The most probable candidate for the most of the day (yes, it actually changed during less than a single day) was Loukas Papadimos, former vice-president of ECB. It was reported that he posed some demands that couldn’t be satisfied. Another candidate was former Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros. The third candidate was Panagiotis Roumeliotis.

Now, I have no reason to prefer one of the three, but I would like to write this. Panagiotis Roumeliotis was a Minister at the end of 1980s during Andreas Papandreou’s (George’s father) administration. During that scandal heavy era, Andreas Papandreou, Panagiotis Roumeliotis and three more MPs were accused of embezzlement. Roumeliotis went off to become a European MP before the court and managed to avoid being tried thanks to his European MP immunity. He later was Greece’s representative to the IMF.

Update: As soon as I posted this I read that a deal has been reached and it will be announced tomorrow. Despite that, I’ll keep the fact expressed in the words of popular Greek blogger Pitsirikos: In the country where everyone says “Make me a Prime Minister even for just a day and I will manage to change everything”, no one wants to become a Prime Minister.