Society Boils but Politicians Won’t Listen: A Swan Song for Greece?

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Is this a swan song we’ve been listening here? A song sung by a corrupt political system and a society in despair? No, it’s not. Because the swan song is supposed to be beautiful even though the last one before death. But what we’re experiencin ghere is ungly. And I wouldn’t know a metapher to describe such a situation. Are we now seeing the notorius “social unrests” they warned us about? Protesting workers storm the ministry of national defence. Society groups are trying to meet with the political leadership whihc is absent. Politicians in a country in deep economic and social crisis are not available.

 Workers without salaries, disabled without social welfare, pensioners without medication. They storm the ministries in order to meet with those responsible. In best case, they can have a short chat and submit their demands. In worst case, they can get slammed by the minister in charge, describing them as “thugs”.

Our elected politicians and holders of government posts are absent. They have nothing to offer to society groups that forward demands in order to make ends meet and survive the next month. Our elected politicians rule over our present and future with the arrogance and ignorance of a well-paid breed towards a jobless and a homeless.

The scandals of the lists containing the names of several thousands big scale tax dodgers, come and go. Appear and disappear. Some striking examples are given as PR- food to cheer the hungry and desperate. It doesn’t work, guys! It doesn’t! Publicity tricks will not save a corrupt system in collapse!

USB sticks with notorious Lagarde-list stay as decorative trinkets on secretaries’ desks* apparently for years. “The stick was on my secretary’s desk as item, ” PASOK-leader and coalition government partner Evangelos Venizelos told private Mega TV last night. He was trying to explain why he didn’t hand over the stick to the authorities earlier and justify his way of dealing with a usb-stick with 1,991 names of alleged tax evaders. Last night, thousands of Greeks thought, visibly angry and conspicuously distressed Venizelos was about to get a brain or a heart stroke. A high ranking politician, a former Finance Minister caught inflagranti unable to deal with the hot potato of combating tax evasion.

The former FinMin of a broke country, where average Joe Greek gets his phone line cut for 50 euro debt and his electricity abolished for debts of 400 euro. Not to mention the cases, where loan tranches or debts to the state get directly deducted from salaries or pensions. Of the Joe Greek with annual gross income of 10,000-20,000 euro.

The names of politicians involved in alleged corruption scandals get ‘cleared’ within ten days. Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis resumed office today, after the Financial Crime Units (SDOE) declared, his income declarations were OK.

Big scale tax dodgers keep their assets abroad, while the new tsunami of austerity measures are going to cut again grandpa’s pension and the income of Joe Greek family with children. Just to mention two examples. The new taxation law -currently being worked out- will benefit earners of 60-plus thousands euro. But those with annual income of 26,000 euro will be taxed with 35%.

Men and woman without hope commit suicide on a daily basis. On Wednesday a man set his legs on fire. The father of four was demanding his payment of 16,000 euro by a private company. A woman tried to put an end to her life in her husband’s car. Both were saved at the last moment. For others, every help comes too late.

Social injustice triggers social unrest. Who is so bold to expect something different? Who does live in such a huge protective bubble to believe that Greeks will swallow without reaction these incredible things happening every day?

This morning unpaid workers at Skaramangas shipyards stormed the National Defence Ministry. The Chief of General Staff went down to speak with them, while the political leadership was absent. The protest was announced in advance. Everybody knew a protest would take place, but no one cared to make a plan to deal with the issue. “Crisis management”, we call this. One policeman had to deal with 450 angry workers. The Minister had to attend some Navy celebrations. No wonder, the angry protesters could storm the ministry and expose the naked king.

A political system in crisis ruling a country in crisis. A cabinet of dilentante politicians. What are they doing the whole day? Chat with the Troika about the new austerity package?

As for the Prime Minister…? “He  is concerned about his government partner Venizelos and PASOK” he had his aides leak to the press and left for Paris to speak in a meeting organized by an international newspaper.

 Who else is protesting today? Doctors and personnel at state hospitals in Athens and Piraeus. Members of public and private sector unions. They went to see the Labour Minister but he was somewhere in Luxembourg – to attend a conference, a congress, a constructive meeting I suppose… Farmers in Crete got on their tractors and launched a protest march. 

The clue of a cynical political system: our ministers believe that workers and employees should not raise demands on payments.

When labour is not being compensated in money form, the decline of the country is not far.

PS It would take hours to put all the necessary links, therefore just click KTG’s categories “Society”, Politics” and “Economy”.