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Yeap, I could see it all coming, innit?

Yeap, I could see it all coming, innit?

This is completely unrelated to Christmas. It is related to the fact that today, while walking around my crisis-hit hometown, I passed in front of a bookstore and saw a book written by Greek ex-PM Kostas Simitis called ‘The Derailing’ (‘Ο Εκτροχιασμος’, στα ελληνικα), obviously referring to the situation that Greece, the EU and the Euro is facing, and I say that quite literally judging a book by its cover, I haven’t read it yet. However this is an issue that is very close to my heart. It may be because I am Greek. It may be because the state that the country is in now is pretty horrid and I think Simitis had a lot to do with it, even if he was by no means the only politician responsible. The core of the problem was and still is systemic. So, I read a review and found out that Simitis, in the book, accuses his successor – whom he all but appointed as leader of the ‘socialist’ PASOK party – George Papandreou for having dealt with the financial crisis badly and for lying to the Greek people. Here is an extract translated below:

«Συνολικό σχέδιο για την αντιμετώπιση της κρίσης δεν υπήρχε. Κορωνίδα των συνθημάτων ήταν η διαπίστωση του Γ. Παπανδρέου, προέδρου του ΠΑΣΟΚ: “Λεφτά υπάρχουν’. Η πεποίθηση ότι “υπάρχουν λεφτά” είχε ως αποτέλεσμα την έλλειψη οποιασδήποτε προετοιμασίας σχετικά με το κύριο πρόβλημα της χώρας, την εξάντληση των πόρων, την ανάγκη συνεχούς δανεισμού και τις όλο και μεγαλύτερες δυσκολίες εξασφάλισης των δανείων. Για μια ακόμα φορά στην έναρξη μιας κρίσιμης περιόδου για τη χώρα, η ηγεσία της εκδήλωσε το σύνδρομο της στρουθοκαμήλου. Αρνιόταν να δει την πραγματικότητα». (http://www.fimes.gr/2012/11/simitis-vivlio-papandreou-2/#ixzz2G4skJujD)

(Translation: There was no overall plan to deal with the crisis. Heading the political mottos was Papandreou’s judgement that “There is money (available)”. This belief resulted in the lack of any preparation regarding the main problem of the country, the draining of resources, the need for continuous borrowing and the increasing difficulty to secure borrowing. Once more at the beginning of a critical period, the leadership hid behind its’ finger. (The leadership) refused to ‘see’ reality.

Now, I won’t say anything about the fact that all – and I mean all – of the above text was exactly true for the time that Simitis himself was PM as well. However, I want to juxtapose a statement made by Simitis himself round about the year 2000, when under his PMship Greece entered the Euro as a single currency. Simitis said:

‘We are living an historical moment for the country. Joining the EU signals a new historical cycle for Greece. It starts a new era of security and stability, development and well-being. The image of a Greece that is small and self-centred leaves our horizon irrevocably. A country that used to be at the fringes of international developments (is there no more). Today Greece is a powerful and modern country with a robust economy and international recognition. We have entered the EU deservedly (“with our sword” is the exact phrase used).[…] The first decade of the twenty-first century finds the country an equal partner in the large European family that is evolving” (Here is the original Greek text for it )

Stay tuned for my book review of Hitler’s as yet unpublished masterpiece “It was the Jews’ fault” (Tel Aviv University Press, 2013)

Additional bonus for Greeks from the same speech, καντε και στους φιλους σας forward γιατι μπορει να τους εχει διαφυγει, στην καθημερινη τους τριβη με την ευμάρεια:

“ίσως η μόνη χώρα που μπαίνουμε στην ΟΝΕ χωρίς όχι απλώς να μειώσουμε, αλλά αυξάνοντας σταθερά τις κοινωνικές δαπάνες. Παραλάβαμε το 1993 μια οικονομία με ελλείμματα και ανισορροπίες σε όλα τα μέτωπα. Έχουμε σήμερα μία οικονομία που χαρακτηρίζεται από σταθερότητα, υψηλούς ρυθμούς ανάπτυξης, σημαντικές επενδύσεις, αυξανόμενη ευημερία και ευοίωνες προοπτικές. Τα αποτελέσματα είναι θεαματικά. “

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