With unbroken intensity internet users continue to comment on the Facebook page of IMF head Christine Lagarde – three days after she made her incredible tax-dodging comments about Greeks, and less than 48 hours after she tried to refute her comments. In an interview to British The Guardian uploaded on Saturday morning, Lagarde said that she had more sympathy for the children of Africa than for Greek children of impoverished parents.
“The parents of [Greek] children must pay their taxes” Lagarde said.
The comments triggered an angry outrage not only among Greeks, who wrote comments like these below or simply slammed her. but also among IMF-critics with thorough knowledge of IMF’s role in sub-Saharan Africa.
Also IMF-critics with thorough knwoledge of IMF’s role in sub-Saharan Africa posted angry comments, while some even remembered her involvement the state she left France as a finance minister.
“There are very few ways one could make such a move even more cack-handed. One could choose, as the vessel of such sentiments, an ex-Finance Minister of a Eurozone country; perhaps someone who left France with its highest deficit in 60 years. One could choose someone currently under investigation for not just one but two cases of fraud in shady financial deals. One could even accompany this interview with a pictorial which showed her dispensing thrift advice, while displaying a deep tropical tan, heavy jewellery and expensively tailored clothes” (New Statesman)
Harsh criticism came from Greek politicians.
Socialist PASOK-leader Venizelos, the former Finance Minister who signed the second bailout package, described her comments as “insult to the Greek people”.
Left-wing SYRIZA-leader Alexis Tsipras commented “The last thing we seek in Greece is her sympathy. Greek workers pay their taxes, which are unbearable.
Criticism came also from her fellowmen.
French minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told France’s Canal+ TV that Ms Lagarde should not have made the comments. “I find (her point of view) rather simplistic and stereotypical. I think that these days it shouldn’t be about trying to teach people a lesson,” she said.
French far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon even said Ms Lagarde should resign over the comments.”What gives her the right to speak in this manner to the Greeks?” he said in an interview with France 3 TV. (BBC)
After having received arrows full of poison from left and right, Christine Lagarde wrote on Saturday on her Facebook page:
As I have said many times before, I am very sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing. That’s why the IMF is supporting Greece in its endeavor to overcome the current crisis and return to the path of economic growth, jobs and stability. An important part of this effort is that everyone should carry their fair share of the burden, especially the most privileged and especially in terms of paying their taxes. That is the point I was emphasizing when I spoke to the Guardian newspaper as part of a broader interview some time ago.
Until Monday 6:55 pm, 21.352 Facebook users had posted comments in several languages and from all over the globe.
Nadia Tasiopoulou we dont need pity we want decency..
Βαγγέλης ΜπάρτζηςΕιλικρινά απορώ με την τόσο υπομονετική στάση που έχουμε κρατήσει εμείς οι Έλληνες τόσο καιρό σε όλα αυτά που μας κάνουν…….Εγώ επειδή ξέρω την Ιστορία της Χώρας μου ξέρω τι γίνεται όταν ο Έλληνας τα πάρει και πεί ΟΧΙ άλλο ……… εσύ μωρή πατσαβούρα ξέρεις ????? Προφανώς όχι……καλομελέτα και σου ΄ρχεται …….. και τότε να δεις τι ωραία θα τα περάσουμε…….. Οι Έλληνες με πιάνεται ετσι ?????? χαχαχαχα
Jannis XatzisMadame Lagarde the name Tapi make a bell in your ear ? The Bank Credit Lyonnais at 2008,you know the skandal with Bernard Tapi? Oh,sorry i forgot. They are from Nigeria !
Lia Siouti if you really care more about africa why don’t you do something for them? Is it because they aren’t really a good investment? Please, do tell us
Comments that also contained heavy insults and words that I woul dbe blush to copy-paste them.
The number of comments is increasing by minute.
Hasn’t she lost in terms of credibility? Isn’t it high time, she resigns?
Look most of the French criticism is from her former political opponents who are still furious how their candidate (Strauss-Kahn) was ‘exposed’ and forced to resign and abandon his candidacy for president. And when I read the interview there was not much to complain about. She reacted to some provocative questions in the way she always does: bit provocative and bit emotional.
But like always: it is what you want to read in it. And an awful lot of people like to use this as an excuse as a cover for their own failures and (often justified) frustrations.
The intensity of the reactions remind me strongly about the hysteria around Rushdi, so many years ago. Most of the totally enraged people never ever read one sentence of the Satanic Verses but it served the purposes of the vested interests in their corner of the world and their own frustrations.
If only 10% of the energy that now goes toward an interview would go into finding a real solutions for Greece’s internal problems we would be halfway out of this whole mess. But as with ‘foreigners’ and ‘immigrants’, scapegoats are much more comforting than facing up to once own shortcomings. C’est la vie…
Is it really an insult to request payment from tax dodgers?
It was Venizelos himself who published in January 2012 the list of the 4000 biggest Greek tax dodgers in the internet – full name and tax number included! These criminals owe more than 15 billion Euro to the Greek nation – and this was only the tip of the iceberg. If now Mrs. Lagarde required that these Greeks (and of course she was only referring to those who did not pay yet) to settle their tax debts, it is considered as an insult? What a weird thinking! And why this outcry of Greeks who claim that they paid their tax? Why do they feel insulted? Lagarde was not talking about them! Why this solidarity of the average Greek people with the criminals in their own country? Just because the criminals who committed tax fraud are Greeks too? Nobody who thinks reasonable can understand this!
If you carefully read our older post, what she really said to Guardian… She was asked about people with no access to hospitals, medication and healthcare, mothers with no access to midwives, impoverished familes, and that was when she gave that answer. Solidarity with criminals? You have totaly misunderstood the whole issue: If Venizelos had indeed work out the list of 4,000 names, things might have looked different today. But he didn’t. And Lagarde still supports his party just because he is pro-bailout.
“Something is rotten in the Kingdom of [southern] Denmark…”
Chania, you stumbled upon one of the great enigma of Greek society. Although an awful lot of decent people abhor all this and are paying through their nose for those kleftes. But still there is this crazy tendency among a sizable minority to show sympathy for the tax-dodgers. Why? Beats me. Must have to do with being a slave to long or so. Bit like Stockholm Syndrome or so. Even Akis has his supporters. And I know of no-one who does not think that in the end he will go scot free.
We had a journalist with a popular program who was caught red handed at the Swiss border with 5 million in his suitcase. He still is popular and I see him laughing and being witty once a week and have to throw up every time. But I guess his ratings are still good.
Why don’t people feel insulted? Good question. Think the answer is this: no-one listens to what the other says. Look at the television squares with screamers. Listen and watch in the kafeneios. Observe around you how you always have to repeat three or four times something before someone is even starting to listen. Hear how a lot of people applaud how it is said, but almost never comment on what is said.
So, I think a lot of the ‘insulted’ are not insulted because of what was said about them, but what they perceive was said.
Well, these are my two cents of trying to explain mass psychology through gross generalization. Because I know enough people who are the opposite. ‘The Greek’ does not exist. 😆
Combating tax evasion is a matter of political will Full Stop
“In Kathimerini today after the article about Lagarde was an article stating 650 high profile Greeks are being investigated regarding properties not declared”
In the first article Kathimerini published on this on 24/05/2012, it is clearly stated that this investigation is concentrating on “the tax records and bank accounts of 500 former and acting politicians”. How does this tie in with Lagarde and her disgusting comments?
Now and again, the elite drops the mask and clearly says what it means. Which is exactly what happened here. Mme Lagarde obviously resorted to the IMF “Book of Lies” to have a go at the Greek people. Why “Lies”? Simply, the IMF has NEVER produced an aid-package for the poor anywhwere in the world, including Niger and Africa as a continent. In fact, every time the IMF gets involved anywhwere, the result is the same; debt payment takes precedent over anything else. The IMF makes sure that the banksters and speculators get their money back, at any cost. And if at all possible with a handsome profit to go with it.
In her “clarification” Mme Lagarde pretends to have aimed her comments at “the Elite”. Enter Kathimerini with the articles mentioned. The IMF/EU/ECB are blatantly obvious trying to bully Greece into voting correctly. And what constitutes a “correct” vote? It is a vote for the elite who have been in power for the last 3 decades or so, the very same elite of which a large proportion are under investigation for fraud (As is Mme Lagarde herself on 2 counts in her home country) Mme Lagarde is a spokeperson for that very same elite!
And what does that elite stand for? To quote Prof Slavoj Zizek, their ultimate goal is “to establish a depoliticed technocracy in which bankers and other experts are allowed to demolish democracy”. Mme Lagarde is one of “the bankers and other experts”. How do corrupt politicians fit into the picture? That is how this technocracy will eventually demolish democracy. They are the Trojan Horse. Use crooked politicians to destroy the political system of democracy. The insistance that we vote “correctly” and re-instate those who got us here in the first place, and the barrage of dirty-tricks used to interfere in an election which is essentially an internal Greek affair should be enough to at least sound some serious alarm bells with anybody who cares to think for themselves. Further proof of this intention is of course the APPOINTMENT as opposed to the ELECTION of technocrat as the a new Prime Minister in both Greece and Italy. And what did these guys do? Exactly what the IMF does, they ensured that money left the country and debtors got paid first, while unemployment, poverty and destitution rose to levels not seen even during WW2. Do they care? Mme Lagarde dropped the mask…
What Mme Lagarde did with her comments was not just offend the Greeks, the Africans, and every right thinking person in the world, she also unwittingly but correctly pointed out the falacy of the emerging story that the Greeks are humanitarian victims in need of help, as if a war or natural catastrophe had hit the country. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Greeks are not passive victims: they are at war with European economic establishment, and what’s at stake is the survival of democracy. In 2 weeks time, Greece votes again. Both sides tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vote “correct” and you’ll find that light is an oncoming train. Vote otherwise and it will be equally though, but at least your children will stand a chance not to have to rely on people like Mme Lagarde and her cronies…
“Vote “correct” and you’ll find that light is an oncoming train. Vote otherwise and it will be equally though, but at least your children will stand a chance not to have to rely on people like Mme Lagarde and her cronies…”
just to clarify, this does not only apply to Greece. It applies equally to Ireland (voting on the fiscal treaty tomorrow), Italy, Spain, Portugal and every other country under threat from this neo-liberal effort. And yes, it does indeed also include the necessity for the Greek people to vote in such a way that they can start cleaning up the culture of backhanders, croniism, corruption and blackmail, all of which are a legacy of that very same elite they are supposed to vote back in, according to the EU/IMF/ECB script.
As they say in Ireland: A new brush sweeps best…
Ephilant: True or false?
Even if Greece wakes up tomorrow with a total clean slate (no debts whatsoever) Greece has to rebuild its state from scratch or otherwise those children will never have a chance to see a train at all, because in 10 years time we will be back at autumn 2009.
Oh, no argument there. If that magic faery comes and waves that wand, it is indeed time to rebuild, but on a totally different basis from what you have now. That goes for every country, not just Greece. The thing is, that that rebuilding cannot be done by those how got the country (any country) to this kind of a state in the first place. There is no guarantee that somebody else can or will, the only guarantee you have is that the present crew can’t and won’t. That is the leap of faith that all countries in this situation, present and future, have to take. But then, it is in that state of confusion, of not knowing, that creativity dwells and great ideas are born. You do have to give it a chance though…
Just for everybody’s information, Mme Lagarde tells Greek people, the vast majority of whome are on or below the bread line to “Pay their taxes”. Mme Lagarde is paid $467,940 annually, with a bonus of $83,760,and because she is an offical of an international institution, non of this is subject to any taxes. Here are the full details
As for the African children she so cares about, one of the policies promoted by the IMF to “help” African nations is to CHARGE SCHOOL FEES for PRIMARY SCHOOL PLACES. More of the caring nature of the IMF can be found here: http://prospect.org/article/rewriting-history-primary-school-enrollment-sub-saharan-africa
Or, if you prefer the official dribble: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2012/pr12193.htm
One of the policies promoted by the IMF to “regain control over the economy” was to prevent people from harvesting rainwater. This meant they would have to buy water. And who was the good hearted company only too willing to sell ti to them. None other that Coca Cola…
thanks I have no time today to post about Lagarde’s tax release
In light of her own tax status, may I possibly suggest we all get on to her facebook page again and ask her to pay her own taxes, including back tax?
and taxed according to deemed income :)))
You can tell Mme Lagarde here, if you want to:
This article in a Belgian newspaper reveals that Lagarde doesnot pay any taxes on her income that she receives from the IMF… Which is an amount of EUR 380.000 per year !!!! Look who’s talking!
(Use Google translate, it gives a pretty good translation)
I see Lagarde has a lot of funs
Like it is clearly stated in this piece, international civil servants at the UN do not pay taxes. That’s is part of their status. In most countries they also loose benefits because of that. And even parts of their pensions. One can discuss about this any time. But it has nothing to do with Greece or Mrs. Lagarde.