Somebody must have had a promiscuous sense of humour to send the Greece’s lenders, the so-called “Troika”, to Athens today. On the 38th Anniversary of the “Restoration of Democracy” that marks the end of the military dictatorship in Greece, on 24th July 1974. Who arranged this arrival on such day? Christine Lagarde? Jose Manuel Barroso? Herman van Rompuy? Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras? How did the three coalition government partners dare giving the green light for an arrival on such a historic day?
I know… I know… “Historic symbolism” has no place into a debt-ridden country. Or our governors have no clue about political culture.
Troika vs Greek Government
Upon their arrival in Athens, the representative of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank immediately started to open stuck drawers and dusty files and check fiscal progress and missing targets.
After almost two months of political power shortage due to two elections in May and June, one hardly beleives that the Troika would be positively surprised.
On the other side of the battle field, Greek government spent days and nights to write down a total of at least 47 austerity measures dictated by the Troika so that Greece would pay back its lenders. Spending cuts of 11.5 billion euro are needed for the years 2013-2014. Which in reality mean that austerity-ridden Greeks will further tight their belts with income and pension cuts, “emergency taxes” and public services in rash deteriorating decline. In one way or another, austerity worth 11.5 billion euro will be felt by everyone of us living here.
While the government tried to find equivalent measures in an effort to avoid Troika dictated cuts in wages of special payrolls, for example, Greek media claim that this would be hardly accepted by the country’s lenders.
The Greek government has no other choice but to bow to the Troika’s dictates, if it want to receive the next financial aid of 31 billion euro – as provided by the second bailout signed between Papademos government and the Troika in February 2012.
The bitter truth is that Greece has abolished its souvereign decisions since the country sought the IMF aid in winter 2010, anyway.
Today, 24th July 2012, we mark the Anniversary of the Restoration of Democracy that started in July 1974 and practically ended in May 2010, when then Prime Minister George Papandreou officially announced Greece’s application to IMF.
The modern occupators of Greece do not wear military uniforms. They’re preferably dressed – winter and summer alike – in grey suits. I guess they want to demonstrate stability, concervatism, target-orientation and mathematics-skills.
Military Junta vs Economic Dictatorship
After almost four decades, we, Greeks, ended up with the military dictatorship of Greece to have mutated into an economic one.
Human Rights to a descent life have been suspended for large parts of the Greek society. Labour rights as well. The right to a work place has been deleted from the lives of 1.1 million jobless.
Citizens bleed economically and get “tortured” – at the bank counter because of an unpaid loan, at the utility companies cashier, submitting a humiliating request for a payment renegotiation. Even if the debt is just 180 or 300 euro. People are threatened with electricity and even water cuts.
Citizens do not get thrown to prisons for political reasons but for economical. Confiscation of private assets will soon start due to debts to the state.
“The absence of a valid code of jurisprudence led to the unequal application of the law among the citizens and to rampant favouritism and nepotism.” (Military Junta 1967-1974).
Citizens are forcefully removed from their homes. And kicked out to the streets. “New homeless” we call them. People without job and income that are not able to provide a roof over their heads.
Labourers work for wages that make it impossible to cover basic needs. Some even are deprived of their salaries. Friends of mine have not been paid regularly since almost a year.
The most recent cases I heard was about an 18- and a 30-year old. Who got fired just days before the end of the month and the employers refused to pay them their salaries. The two young men were exposed to threats.
Whoever manages to get a job abroad, goes to ‘exile’. Some even before they have secured a job. Something almost impossible to obtain in Greece nowadays.
“Complete lack of press freedom coupled with nonexistent civil rights meant that continuous cases of civil rights abuses could neither be reported nor investigated by an independent press or any other reputable authority. This led to a psychology of fear among the citizens during the Papadopoulos dictatorship, which became worse under Ioannides.” (Military Junta 1967-1974)
Waves of fear-mongering launched by Greece’s lenders and local politicians, the international and local press push millions of Greeks to endless nervous breakdowns, depression and some even into suicides.
While during the military junta thousands of Greeks got ‘filed’ by the police, one of the Greek government plans to combat tax evasion is to establish a so-called “assets-lists” where ten millions of Greeks will have to declare apart from income, salary and properties also bank deposits, jewelries, art collections and other items of some value.
Despite ending-up here…
Exaggerated comparison? “Maybe”, some will say. Unless you have no money to feed your children, take medicine for your elderly and spend your days under permanent distress and lack of future perspective.
“According to an editorial published by the Greek conservative newspaper Kathimerini, large public deficits are one of the features that have marked the Greek social model since the restoration of democracy in 1974. After the removal of the right-wing military junta, the government wanted to bring disenfranchised left-leaning portions of the population into the economic mainstream. In order to do so, successive Greek governments have, among other things, customarily run large deficits to finance public sector jobs, pensions, and other social benefits.” (Greek government debt-crisis)
And yet, even under the horrible circumstances of the economic dictatorship, the mismanagement, the favoritism, the nepotism, the corruption and the squander of public money by Greek politicians and their courtiers during the last 38 years, I wouldn’t regret a single day of the “restoration of democracy”. Despite our political, economical and moral decay here and now: a divided Greek society. With one half of the society against the other for enjoying benefits that are deprived from those who really need them.
More reading on the Military Junta 1967-1974 Here