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Karamanlis: Go home!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-12-10 09:25:12
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The only way for hope to survive is to defend these kids and their right to the dream. This is the only thing I can think about over the last few hours while a funeral is under way in Athens - the funeral of a fifteen year-old boy murdered by an irresponsible policeman. The other thing I have done is to look in my daughter’s eyes and feel guilty; guilty because we betray her, just like we betrayed Alexander.

karamanlis1The riots continue in Athens for the fourth day and now they have expanded to every major city around Athens; there are whole areas burned and Prime Minister Mr. Kostas Karamanlis called the political parties to denounce violence. For him it is just politics. He proved everything that people say about politicians - irresponsible, incapable, worrying only for his seat and ignoring the people. This government and personally Mr. Karamanlis have failed in their major obligation, to protect the future, to guarantee a safe and productive future for these kids and now these kids are on the streets acting in the only way they know.

The riots in Athens show the multiple problems of Greek society and probably the problems every European society faces this moment and we saw the same thing happening in Paris just a year ago and please note that at this moment with the young people demonstrating their repulsion to a system that supports the bankers instead of helping the people other parts of the society found the chance to come out.

According to police and witnesses the majority of the arrests are actually from looting the broken shops and the people are immigrants. This shows something that we all deal with in Europe and nobody is doing anything. The majority of immigrants in the European countries live in total poverty and unemployment on the back sides of the society. How low these people have reached is obvious if they found the chance to riot as the way to get their voice heard?

Greece and in extent Europe was not prepared for the tsunami of immigrants that fled to the continent over the last twenty years and they didn’t do anything about it; they just let it grow ignoring the fact that with the growing of the immigrant population other parts grew as well. Unemployment did, slavery did, underpaid jobs did, racism and prejudice did. And of course the Greek government, just like any other European society, acted in the same way, leading those people in ghettos and misery without assisting these people to adapt in their new environment or help the citizens of their country to adapt in the new situation. The reaction was apparently the same it has been for long for the financial problem, stay still and wait for the problem to be solved itself.

But the people who participated in the riots were not only immigrants, there were a lot of the native people, people in the lower economic classes, the new ghettos we face now in Europe with all the results they bring with them. Families that live on the dole, problematic families, alcoholism and drugs; you just need to see the British newspapers to understand. Baby P’s case in Britain is unfortunately not the exception in those ghettos, Karen Matthews and her kidnapped daughter is equally dramatic and the list goes on and on with more cases every day. These are the new ghettos in Europe and every European country has them. These ghettos have nothing to do with religion or colour they have to do with economics but and this is very important they become places that racism and prejudice can thrive.

And then the boys and girls in Athens and the rest of the major Greek cities. These kids are school kids and students. These kids this moment represent a society tired and sick. The last years they hear nothing else than the stock market and the shares. I have said it many times in articles that despite the fact I never gamble and I consider shares a gamble I’m getting angry when I see my every day expenses depending on the NY stock market and my milk on the oil prices. How do you think all these kids feel when their future is so insecure? The policeman who shot the fifteen year-old boy was just the excuse that triggered the events that followed and his uniform and the attacks on police stations all around Greece represent the state, a state that failed to protect these kids’ right to the dream. And this is the states’ obligation.

In Greece the young people have been for long time the pinnacle of social changes, my generation went against the dictatorship mourning tens of dead and this was our heroic moment in history but unfortunately we forgot. We forgot the reasons we were fighting then and haven’t changed today and that’s why I said in the beginning that today I feel that we failed these kids. It is over thirty years ago when unarmed boys and girls, the majority school kids and students went against the dictatorship, the tanks and the armed police, asking bread, education and democracy. Thirty five years later nothing has changed, we only forgot how it is.

karamanlis2_400Three people I know very well, three people I grew up with and I know them since we played hide and seek are today members of the Greek parliament. They had the chance to change things but they did nothing, thirty years ago they were screaming next to me for bread, education and democracy and today they are doing nothing. The only thing they do is playing politics doesn’t matter which party they belong. Our generation became part of the system we so angrily wanted to change thirty-five years ago. We forgot the dead we left behind and a dead fifteen year-old boy came to remind me hoping that it might remind them as well.

The boys and girls that this minute riot in the centre of Athens are not from the poorest parts of the Greek society but from every part, among them there are kids from the middle class, there are kids from wealthy families which shows how much this financial crisis has touched everybody and contemporary has become what we were asking thirty-five years ago, bread, education and democracy.

And then the politicians. It's not a secret anymore that most of the politicians nowadays are people who become richer while at the national service, it's not a secret that tens of lobbies and funders has made them more businessmen than servants of the public. Suggestively! Most of them never actually worked in their life, have no idea how it is to wake up six in the morning and spend at least eight hours in a place you hate with people who are using you and getting in return pennies. The Greek prime minister is one of them, Mr. Karamanlis has never worked in his life and he became prime minister promising that this was a government that would protect the people, the people he has no idea how they live.

In five years – you see the Greek people gave him the chance for the second time last year to keep his promises – the man failed the people in just everything. And now with the financial crisis instead of helping the people, help the unemployed he gave more money to the bankers. Do you find this familiar? Didn’t all the European leaders do the same? They used the people’s tax, the money that should go to education, to health and unemployment to support the bankers; the same people who are responsible with their greed for this crisis.

Mr. Karamanlis failed in every sense and that’s what the young kids reminding him this minute in Athens, perhaps in the wrong way but this is the only way left to them, and with Mr. Karamanlis have failed Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Brown and Ms. Merkel and Mr. Vanhanen and they have better do something about it soon before the young people all around Europe wake up. And the best way to prevent that is at least for Mr. Karamanlis to resign and go home the fastest possible. His inability is so big that makes him seriously dangerous for Greece and the Greek people.

The states forgot something basic investing on how they will survive their petit political dreams that the future and the hopes depend on the young people and as I said in the beginning it is the states’ obligation to protect these young people and their dreams.

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