Greece is the hardest-working country in the EU! According to Greece. And only Greece. According to Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, it's the laziest country in Europe. Meanwhile, Germany is the most respected EU country, according to the Pew Global report, European Unity on the Rocks. And Greece appears to be living in a bizarro universe where 78% of its respondents held negative views of Germany. Three in five Greeks said their country had Europe's hardest working citizens. Half of the rest of the respondents from the other seven nations said Greece had the laziest workforce in Europe...
Tag Archives | Greece
After austerity follows fascism. Neni Panourgia writes on Al Jazeera English:
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By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.
But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.
So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos.
The banks are getting back all their money, so I guess a 40% increase in the suicide rate is the blood the Tree of Liberty requires to grow. Teo Kermeliotis reports on CNN:
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When Apostolos Polyzonis’s bank refused to see him last September, the 55-year-old Greek businessman had just 10 euros ($13) in his pocket. Out of work and bankrupt, he thought all he could do with his remaining money was to buy a gas can.Desperate and angry, Polyzonis stood outside the bank in central Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, doused himself in fuel and surrendered to the flames.
“At that moment, I saw my life as worthless, I really didn’t care if I was going to live or die,” recalls Polyzonis, who says he was hit by financial troubles after the bank recalled a loan given to him for his business. “My sense of living was much lower than my sense of self-respect and pride, the fact that I had lost my right to be a free Greek,” adds Polyzonis.
Relax, folks, nothing to see here. After all, I’m sure that all that austerity-funded bond money is going towards a good cause—like gold-plating the vomitorium drains in Lloyd Blankfein’s villa on the Riviera, for instance. From the BBC’s Mark Lowen:
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Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament.
The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city’s busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning.
Greek media reported he had left a suicide note accusing the government of cutting his pension to nothing. Flowers have been laid at the spot where he died and tributes have been paid online.
“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance.”—Extract from reputed suicide letter
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the square outside parliament on Wednesday evening, the scene of many large protests in recent months.
Reports Jon Henley in the Guardian:
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In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.
None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.
In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts. “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network.
A number of nations, including Greece and the United States, are in the process of deciding between being governed by democracy or by finance, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich writes:
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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou decided in favor of democracy yesterday when he announced a national referendum on the draconian budget cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding from Greece in return for bailing it out.
(Or, more accurately, the cuts Europe and the IMF are demanding for bailing out big European banks that have lent Greece lots of money and stand to lose big if Greece defaults on those loans—not to mention Wall Street banks that will also suffer because of their intertwined financial connections with European banks.)
If Greek voters accept the bailout terms, unemployment will rise even further in Greece, public services will be cut more than they have already, the Greek economy will contract, and the standard of living of most Greeks will deteriorate further.
Site editor’s note: The following is excerpted from The Secret History of Rock ’N’ Roll: The Mysterious Roots of Modern Music by Christopher Knowles (Viva Editions, October 2010). Used with permission.
I like to think of the history of rock & roll like the origin of Greek drama. That started out on the threshing floors during the crucial seasons, and was originally a band of acolytes dancing and singing. Then, one day, a possessed person jumped out of the crowd and started imitating a god.
Most historians believe that the Mysteries began at the end of the Neolithic Age (also known as the New Stone Age, roughly 9000 to 4500 BCE), making them one of the earliest cultural developments known to humanity. Coinciding with the development of agriculture, the rituals were designed to appeal to the grain gods of the Underworld by acting out their myths, which celebrated the cycles of planting, growth and harvesting.… Read the rest
China has offered to buy Greek bonds to show support for international relations. It’s nice to see China helping out after obtaining the position of the second largest economy. The China Post reports:
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China offered on Saturday to buy Greek government bonds when Athens resumes issuing, in a show of support for the country whose debt burden pushed the eurozone into crisis and required an international bailout.
Premier Wen Jiabao made the offer at the start of a two-day visit to Greece, his first stop on a tour of Europe, and also said he wanted to boost shipping and trade ties with Athens, underscoring Beijing’s use of economic strength to win friends.
“With its foreign exchange reserve, China has already bought and is holding Greek bonds and will keep a positive stance in participating and buying bonds that Greece will issue,” Wen said, speaking through an interpreter.
OK, the headline’s a little over the top, but what a photo, from the Daily Mail/AP:
It looks like a narrow escape for one of mankind’s most ancient symbols.
A bolt of lightning illuminates the sky around the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, high on the Acropolis during a heavy rainfall in Athens early this morning.
Fortunately, the temple is believed to have escaped any damage.
[story continues in the Daily Mail/AP]