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To Germany from Greece with love............
by Nikos Laios
2015-10-24 11:03:00
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As a result of the harsh austerity measures that have been imposed and dictated to Greece by the new German Reich, one in three Greeks are currently poor, facing poverty and unemployment. Failed austerity measures that kills demand and thereby the growth required to grow and maintain a revenue base to enable the servicing of debts have been imposed several times on Greece now with disastrous results. The shackles of the Euro, of a one currency fits-all has denied nation states the financial levers to manage their own economies through demand and supply, where internal devaluation is the only tool left that is being rigidly enforced on the rest of Europe by Germany.

Where at present in Greece and other EU nations - but more so in Greece - large swathes of the middle classes have been decimated. Previously gainfully employed and proud Greeks now reduced to living in destitution in grimy streets under the graffitied walls and shuttered shops; surrounded by swirls of paper and garbage, dreaming of the happier times. Of dining room tables brimming with bread, fruit and sumptuous meals shared by the family. As the babble of happy voices wafts and floats above the table and out through the shuttered blue windows floating out to sea over the Aegean. Their now haggard faces nuzzled in their coats wearing the same smelly urine stained underwear for months as they reminisce of the happy and joyous times of Greek Easter, and the trek back to the ancestral homes that all Greeks make at that time. These lyrical times the only visions of hope that sustains the destitute souls of the newly poor Greek middle class; the aspirations, hopes and desires that capitalism and the European Union offered all now blowing in the breeze.

germ01_400_02Indeed, it is a sad testimony to the uncaring selfishness and greed of the EU consciousness as a whole at the moment, that more care and attention is given to the maintenance of the performance of the fiscal bottom line and the need to punish Greece for its fiscal sins, rather the show some humanity and compassion. In order to use Greece as an example, as a scapegoat to deter other fellow European nations from stepping out of line from the dictates of Germany in its mission to impose 'German good-wifely housekeeping' on the rest of Europe as a solution for the existential crisis that is currently facing Europe. Is this microcosm of the failed EU experiment, this harbinger of failed capitalism a sign of things to come for the rest of the developed world?

Selfish individual capitalism has taken center stage in western societies during the twentieth century that seemed to offer a solution for a time to the poverty, chaos and famine that followed the Second World War and up to the present day. A world that rejected philosophy, religion, spirituality and an existential meaning for outright materialism and consumption. Masses of young people growing in these societies living totally for material consumption; the latest iPhone, the latest music DVD's, sneakers, clothes that can outdo friends and getting blind drunk on Saturday nights while immersing their shrinking intellects in reality television and home improvement shows. Being groomed to be the next mindless and vacuous generation of proud home owners pushing mountainous debts up the hill like a mini-me Sisyphus.

The European Union was constructed as a bulwark of sorts, as a deterrent against Europeans fighting with each other and causing any more wars. Though Europe has been the flowerbed of the growth of so much of the civilization that has influenced the rest of the world, yet it is this sophisticated Europe that has caused so much death and destruction in the world through World War One, World War Two and countless civil wars, revolutions and imposed imperialism.

A cursory and perfunctory examination will find the causes of the two world wars being European imperialism and most importantly Germany. That perfected a vile political movement called fascism and also perfected genocide with the usual German efficiency.

Yet Europe -  and more importantly Germany - now finds itself with a moral imperative to seek redemption for the death and destruction caused during the twentieth century. Its solution seems to be the constructing of the European Union, but with what success? And is this the solution or just an excuse to promote their own selfish needs?

Rather than the construction of an entity which promotes what is just and right, there seems to have been a battle waging in Europe of Keynesian economic theories versus anti-inflationary austerity theories which was born from a Germanic fear of Weimar Republic era hyperinflation. Then in the 70's grey Thatcherism hit Britain, slashing and burning British society with deregulation, privatization and the primacy of the free market coupled with slashing spending. Now the grey shades of Merkelism has hit Europe steamrolling all before it and taking no prisoners. The election of Syriza and Tsipras in Greece offered a glimmer of hope not only for Greece, but to the rest of Europe for another alternate vision of how a society should be ordered. It might not have fully fleshed out in detail an alternate vision, but it at least asked a question; yet this opposition to Merkelism and to the German primacy of Europe was met with a brutal suppression of any Greek aspiration of some freedom with an asphyxiation and a public execution like some martyr during the inquisition at deterring heresy.

Now with Autumn setting in Europe, with golden crumpled leaves blowing against the  cobblestones, and the fat raindrops trickling down stained walls and empty buildings, as the new homeless middle class  in Greece  - still proud - huddle in quite corners in the cold Athenian nights, along with the tired and weary refugees resting their tired bodies in the same cold Athenian nights, sharing this same communion of poverty; a melancholy and a quite sad detachment lingers over what should be the golden years of European and human civilization. The same human civilization that has put a man on the moon yet cannot manage to solve the easier problems here on earth of caring for our fellow human beings.

In the haunting shade of these reflections, we find ourselves with an ironic theatre of sorts being played out; Dante's Divine Comedy, or a maybe a play by Aristophanes, with the gods dispensing out a divine lesson in karma. Europe is now faced with one of the biggest people migrations since the mid twentieth century; where once Europe sent out its poor and war-ravaged to the rest of the world, now waves of Syrians are heading to Europe to seek safety and salvation along with other economic migrants. A problem that Europe is struggling to cope with and solve, who instead is trying to buy off the day of reckoning by buying of the Turks to push the problems elsewhere. There are indeed valid questions that need to be asked here on behalf of the European citizen; how do we deal with this situation? Do we want these refugees? How do we help them? And should we be accepting economic migrants?

All complex questions which with the fullness of time can be solved, for if Europe has produced the most important and profound philosophers and intellectuals, surely the inheritance that produced this tradition can also be brought to bear on this problem; whilst fulfilling our obligations for the respect of human rights and decency of our fellow human beings with dignity and respect. During this week, Germany has advised Greece that it is willing to offer Greece additional financial assistance in return for more refugees staying in Greece. A German government insider was recently quoted as saying in the respected economic publication Wirtschaftswoche that: Our highest priority right now is that more refugees stay in Greece.”

The irony here is that the vast majority of the refugees want to migrate not to Greece, but to the north of Europe, to prosperous Germany and are only using Greece as a stepping stone. Yet while Greece suffers a poverty imposed on it by Germany - where one in three Greeks are facing poverty and unemployment and the dislocation of an entire nation - Germany now wants the majority of these waves of refugees to stay in poverty and crisis-stricken Greece?

There is indeed a day of reckoning coming for Germany for its hypocrisy, and it’s cruel and callous treatment of their fellow Europeans. Where millions of refugees all with a desire in their hearts to migrate to Germany to start a new life now start to flow to Germany, fraying the imposed bonds of European solidarity. If the Germans showed cruelty to the Greeks, they will now be forced to show kindness and compassion to these refugees; and they can consider these waves of people a gift to Germany from Greece with love, and a lesson in karma. For ignoring the moral and ethical bonds of human compassion and kindness comes with a heavy price.


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Emanuel Paparella2015-10-24 12:09:36
Indeed Nikos, the above disturbing but timely reflections ought to logically lead to the next set of troubling considerations: was Spangler on to something when in 1926, right after World War I, he spoke of an inevitable “decline of the West”? And 66 years later, was not Fukuyama’s sequel on target in speaking of “the end of history” wherein democracy becomes a façade and a charade? Which leads to the ultimate question: will the center ultimately hold in Western Civilization, on both sides of the Atlantic? Willy nilly, we are forced to return to the considerations of Plato’s Republic on the issue of democracy. It is practically inevitable within the issue of the cultural identity of the EU. A political system, democratic so called, which ominously begins with a tragic mistake: condemning a Socrates, the father of Western philosophy, to death. ..ought to give pause even to those who have never heard of Spangler or Fukuyama. For indeed, if a Reich is anti-democratic comes as no great surprise to anybody, but when democracies, allegedly united in a common union and purpose of solidarity hypocritically reveal themselves to be pseudo-democracies and close their borders to compassion, that is a disappointing development proving that those who do not remember their history are alas bound to repeat it.

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