The stigmatized Greeks – Humanity and Dignity in a Disillusioned EU

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Information about The stigmatized Greeks – Humanity and Dignity in a Disillusioned EU

Published on October 23, 2017

Author: samarash


slide 1: The stigmatized Greeks – Humanity and Legacy within a Disillusioned Europe August 2017 By Harris A. Samaras slide 2: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 2 About the Author – Harris A. Samaras An Economist and presently the Chairman CEO of Pytheas an international investment banking organization Harris has also worked with the Bank of America Group Thomson Financial BankWatch and Moody’s Investors Service. His expertise lies primarily in the areas of investment and corporate banking private equity and finance corporate restructuring risk management and business development strategic advisory and thought leadership. His research and extensive publications in these areas range across practice rather than theory economic and business thought entrepreneurship and geopolitics. He has been an adviser to various governments central banks financial institutions and other corporates and has been a member of the board of directors of multinational organizations. slide 3: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 3 Watching yesterday the opening speech of the final phase of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s election campaign I was pleasantly surprised to hear in her argument that “European integration is about the protection of human dignity” that Germans should stop targeting and stigmatizing Greeks as lazy and thieves… I congratulate Mrs. Merkel for her statement and I hope that other world leaders will follow her example. The stigmatized Greek youth and their despair Discussing the Chancellor’s comments with my daughters and their friends early- and mid- 20s of age all university students or graduates I was sad but not regretfully surprised to realize by their startling and vividly upsetting remarks of how disheartened and demoralized they are about the “European idea and family”. They spoke of their experiences and the provocative taunting and mocking towards them the humiliating remarks and resentment – just because they are Greek – not only by Germans as they exclaimed but also by Dutch and British Norwegian Romanian Bulgarian American and Swiss… itemizing one incident after another… I patiently argued with them about politics geopolitics and polarization politicians’ bigotry and populism… the importance of critical thinking skills and the lack of these skills in the world of today as a cause and effect of such attitudes… about prejudice and stereotypes self- serving bias and ethnically stigmatized groups… but also about the importance of one being proud of her/his heritage and history vs. narrow-minded nationalism… about civility human dignity… about the significance of the citizen’s conduct and behaviour within society… about the detrimental gaffe of blaming only others for our misfortunes… I attempted to analyse how it is primarily Greece’s fault that triggered the economic distortions and the crisis in the country the bailout the austerity measures and the misery… How the inefficiently functioning EU is also to blame not only because of its late to react and then hastily designed and imposed decisions but also because it is apparent that the decisions of the EU had been and still are influenced and orchestrated with intention and premeditation by the most powerful and their pack – for own country benefits and politicians vote mongering… I attempted to analyse how all these along with a disillusioned Greek society made the country fertile terrain for populism. How on one hand populists preying on people’s fears secure a political advantage in a time of crisis change and uncertainty and how on the other they the populists do very little to help a society to navigate itself out of a painful and complex reality that requires long-term planning and compromise – simply because most of their arguments of the populists are based on fiction Gave the rise of Hitler and Nazism in power as an example also Brexit and the current happenings in the U.S. – where facts did not and do not matter only the emotions of the polarized and manipulated masses… “It is all showbiz” they cried. “Showbiz for politics of domestic consumption with both lead actors and screenplay writers the hypocritical politicians themselves mocking us again and again while at the same time stealing our future”. “But you are also obligated to contribute actively and not only as sideline critics to changing the wrong-happenings” I said. So I spoke about the ancient Greek philosophers and their teachings… about social and patriotic values altruism and self-sacrifice… our responsibilities as citizens of the world and our obligation towards a learning continuum and our social duty to communicate enlighten and make aware… slide 4: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 4 My despair My arguments were met with dismay… “Thermopylae cannot exist today” they argued with dry realism and pragmatism… “neither magnanimity nor nobility” they exclaimed. “Only self- preservation matters and how one achieves it has been proven to be totally immaterial”. I attempted to respond by comparing Plato’s view of the ideal State the Republic – that its existence should depend on wisdom courage moderation and justice – with Thomas Hobbes’ materialistic philosophical approach of the Leviathan – that a society can function only if fear is a weapon under the absolute power of a Ruler as us humans are in our vast majority selfish cowards and vein… “The Greeks have always been on the side of good against evil and look where it got us” most of them exclaimed as if in a chorus. “Nobody cares about sacrifices or facts. More nobody cares about what triggered the downturns and what contributed to the recession and the behaviour of the Greek of today The Greek people for more than 60 years have never claimed for WWII reparations from Germany. Only when they felt and experienced the injustice the humiliation and arrogance of those very same they had “forgiven” And what Greece has sacrificed or endured during World War II it is neither acknowledged nor even for some reason recorded. The world does not know or doesn’t want to know”. “At more or less the same time Churchill was stating that “Heroes fight like Greeks” and not the other way around he was orchestrating the destruction of Greece during and right after the War. As a result Greeks had to go through a bloody civil war for four very long years thereafter. And then our very same allies those very same that had been praising and glorifying us during the War orchestrated again the establishment of the junta that ruled Greece for another seven years… and then more civil war… While the rest of Europe was rebuilding itself we were fighting their wars in our country… Where is justice magnanimity or nobility in all of this” “And just to clarify” they highlighted “Goebbels’s children are not to be blamed for the wrongdoings of their dad They were also victims and helpless martyrs like all the millions of children that were “sacrificed” whether those were German or Greek Japanese or American Bulgarian or British and so forth… They were both victims of a madman and his conscious followers as well as victims of those forces within the “Allied Powers” that could have put an end to the War long before it started but chose instead to shut their eyes and/or ignore the signals because of personal or geopolitical benefits… We your children are today victims of similar packs of similar politicians using in principle the same modus operandi to dominate the rest of us as if we learned nothing from our so recent and devastating history…”. It was my turn to be dismayed… to the point of “depression” I have to emphasize. And they continued: “The fact remains that the EU and the IMF placed rescue of their banks far above any concern of the consequences of such exploit to the Greek people an undignified action They the EU and the IMF committed a financial fraud to a bankrupt nation there aim to differ inevitable losses by alleging that the Greek debt was sustainable Basic Economics teaches that you do not grant new loans to a bankrupt entity but restructure its debt a fraudulent action And proudly projected then in 2011 which is a perjury even by the standards of the most cynical of all cynics that the inevitable sharp fiscal adjustment would produce a recession of a decline of about only 5 of GDP with full recovery by 2013… Greek output instead dropped 25 and never recovered since a disgraceful action slide 5: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 5 “Conceive also this if you can” they sarcastically contended “Greece’s creditors demanded amongst so many other to increase the shelf life of fresh milk from three to seven days. As ludicrous as it may had seemed they only wanted to extend market access to non-Greek diaries… What audacity And you are telling us about dignity and sacrifice Sacrifice our future for whom Sacrifice for the crook The criminal the perjurer the opportunist that sucks the blood of its victim Are these leaders these politicians foreign and domestic including their indoctrinated or not supporters people worth sacrificing anything for What nerve… them vultures calling us crooks And how pitiful their followers and supporters must be… living in ignorance living in essence a shallow life mouthpiece of these hypocrites and criminals they voted for we voted for them leaders who are supposed to create a better future for their children us their children… Isn’t it a crime to steal the future of your children Shouldn’t this be the most despicable of all crimes Is this what the EU was supposed to be all about”. What have we done What have we forced our children to become Traumatized cynics without a civic purpose but “political correctness” an anathema to collective responsibility alien citizens with valid passports of European Union countries that belong in essence to no Union… disillusioned with poisoned souls… “So you wish to become and behave like all those opportunists and ignorant” I uttered. “You wish to replace compassion with cruelty and goodness with greed just like they do Become just like those that you very much accuse of selfish and Machiavellian Would you wish your children in turn to feel so lost as you clearly currently do”. “But it is Your generation You our parents that have chosen this path for us. Isn’t You that taught us to be whatever it is that we are” they replied. Our European legacy Whether the ratification of the policy of the economic desolation of Greece had been effected for its transformation into a country that would be controlled and exploited by the European powerful and whether this is premeditated and deliberate I wouldn’t know. I can only interpret and deduct: How can one explain policies that a are based on presumptions that are fundamentally erroneous Greece was and is bankrupt its debt was and is unsustainable bankrupt entities cannot receive loans but their debt restructured. b lead to forced emigration of Greek capital and talent c lead to merciless wages and pension cuts and to a handicapped nation d lead to tax shortfalls that force more and more spending cuts e lead to an avalanche of loan defaults foreclosures and bankruptcies f ultimately lead to a foreign takeover of the banking system and asset stripping of public assets g lead to suffocation of a whole nation’s economy and dependency on foreign elements only Now is the economic desolation of Greece and its total dependency to powerful non-Greek elements only part of a grander despotic plan A plan that would incorporate later on and when “appropriate” Portugal Spain and Italy for instance I wouldn’t know. What I do know though is that our actions as European Union turn our youth into “monsters” the unfeeling monsters that we have proven to be. slide 6: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 6 I also know what history taught me so and I am sure Chancellor Merkel knows that populations revolt when the Government does not work for regular people thus market unpredictability volatility and chaos – maybe part of the reason of her yesterday’s hopeful message was related to it. Every sane person and every successful leader should know that putting the interests of the regular people last and long after serving the interests of big corporations financial institutions military contractors lobbyists the rich and powerful will eventually force populations to revolt. There must be a balance that commands capable leadership skills humanity appropriate justice and vision. As the world of today is so intertwined having Germans for instance only “content” while the neighboring countries are suffering is no longer wise enough. Moreover every populist undignified statement made or action taken has a direct negative impact on the generations to follow and the legacy that is left behind. Naturally no “real” leader no successful leader would ever wish for history to say that the chaos that we become to live in was partly or wholly because of her or his decisions implemented policies and doings. Mrs. Merkel’s yesterday statement “European integration is about the protection of human dignity” is a beacon a beacon of hope for humanity. Just like when not so very long ago Greece’s heroic resistance and sacrifice against the Axis Forces became humanity’s beacon of light and hope demolishing the invincibility of evil and its despotism. Despotism aims to suppress minds and the souls of the free the dignity of the individual the ability to think the essence of life. And Mrs. Merkel knows that despotism can only lead to one outcome: Civilization and humanity to descend to chaos. About the Greeks in WWII their sacrifice its importance and their humanity What were those Greeks made of Let’s attempt to comprehend it if we can: A handful of a nation a poorer nation of a bit more than 6 million against four enemy nations with two of the most technologically advanced armies of the time Germany of 80 million Italy of 40 million Bulgaria of 6.5 million and Albania of 1 million or so. Greece the only invaded country that fought against four armies simultaneously was aware of its destiny and its chances against such superior numbers. When France a world power of the time crumbled in just 43 days and other much wealthier ones triple and quadruple the population of Greece surrendered to the Axis in just 3 or 4 Extract from “Lest we forget – That noble and immortal nation Greece” F. W. Saville 1943. A collection of periodical clippings of the time. slide 7: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 7 days or in no days at all without firing a single shot. Greece was capitulated after 219 days of resistance… Who in her or his right mind fights a war that is knowingly going to lose Yugoslavia’s partisan movement for instance fought the Axis Powers with bravery and the whole country paid dearly for it with one of the highest population losses during the period of the War. Yugoslavia however surrendered in just 3 days… Couldn’t the Greeks had chosen to do the same So what were those Greeks made of I know that the answer to this question the answer to this lesson of dignity that the Greeks gave to humanity for humanity will assist Chancellor Merkel to find the solution and the way to protect human dignity. I also know that it will provide guidance on how to empower the generations to come for leadership with dignity. It is therefore paramount I feel and believe to share in the next few pages that follow a few words facts and quotes about the Greeks in World War II. It is imperative because the sacrifices that the Greek people then endured for all of us and their courage during one of the darkest periods of humanity are lessons that should be reminded more than often. As it is also paramount and it is our responsibility to respond to those unfeeling and brutal critics of the Greek people that intentionally and systematically attempt to brand them as thieves and opportunists… those ignorant critics that possess not only a selective memory but also a selective sense of justice… it is sacrifices and actions such as those the Greeks endured during WWII that remain a main obstacle for humanity and civilization to descend to chaos. At the end of the day there are truths that we all have to grow into… Extract from “Lest we forget – That noble and immortal nation Greece” F. W. Saville 1943. A collection of periodical clippings of the time. slide 8: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 8 Quotes about the Greeks during WWII signifying their contribution and sacrifice Adolf Hitler: "It must be said for the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks of all the adversaries who confronted us fought with bold courage and defiance of death..." – From a speech delivered to Reichstag on 4 May 1941. “The entrance of Italy to the war was proven catastrophic for us. Had the Italians not attacked Greece and had they not needed our help the War would have taken a different course. We would have had time to capture Leningrad and Moscow before the Russian cold weather set in.” – From the memoirs of Leni Riefenstahl quoting Hitler 1944 Hitler’s cinematographer and member of his “inner circle”. Winston Churchill: "The word heroism I am afraid does not render the least of those acts of self-sacrifice of the Greeks which were the defining factor in the victorious outcome of the common struggle of the nations during WWII for the human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Greeks and their courage the outcome of WWII would be undetermined." – Paraphrased from a speech delivered to the British Parliament on 24 April 1941. "Until now we used to say that the Greeks fight like heroes. Now we shall say: The heroes fight like Greeks." – From a speech delivered from the BBC in the first days of the Greek-Italian war. Joseph Vissarionovich Tzougasvili Stalin: "I am sorry because I am getting old and I shall not live long to thank the Greek People whose resistance decided WWII." – From a speech broadcasted by the Moscow radio station on 31 January 1943 after the victory of Stalingrad and the capitulation of marshal Paulus. Charles de Gaulle: "I am unable to give the proper breadth of gratitude I feel for the heroic resistance of the People and the leaders of Greece." – From a speech delivered to the French Parliament after the end of WWII. Maurice Schumann Minister of the Exterior of France: "Greece is the symbol of the tortured bloodied but living Europe... Never a defeat was so honorable for those who suffered it." – From a message addressed from the BBC of London to the enslaved peoples of Europe on 28 April 1941 the day Hitler occupied Athens after Greece fought a 6-month war defeating Mussolini’s army. Moscow Radio Station: "You Greeks fought unarmed and won small against big. We owe you gratitude because you gave us time to defend ourselves. As Russians and as people we thank you." – When Hitler attacked the U.S.S.R. Georgy Zhukov Chief of the General Staff and Minister of Defense of the USSR: "If the Russian people managed to raise resistance at the doors of Moscow to halt and reverse the German torrent they owe it to the Greek People who delayed the German divisions during the time they could bring us to our knees." – Quote from his memoirs on WWII. Benito Mussolini: "The war with Greece proved that nothing is firm in the military and that surprises always await us." – From a speech delivered on 10/5/1941. slide 9: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 9 More quotes about the Greeks during WWII King George VI King of Great Britain 1936-1952: "The magnificent struggle of Greece was the first big turn of WWII.” – Paraphrased from a speech delivered to the parliament in May 1945. Sir Robert Antony Eden Minister of War and the Exterior of Britain 1940-1945 Prime Minister of Britain 1955-1957: "Regardless of what the future historians shall say what we can say now is that Greece gave Mussolini an unforgettable lesson that she was the motive for the revolution in Yugoslavia that she held the Germans in the mainland and in Crete for six weeks that she upset the chronological order of all German High Commands plans and thus brought a general reversal of the entire course of the war and we won." – Paraphrased from a speech delivered to the British parliament on 24/09/1942. Sir Harold Leofric George Alexander British Marshal during WWII: "It would not be an exaggeration to say that Greece upset the plans of Germany in their entirety forcing her to postpone the attack on Russia for six weeks. We wonder what would have been Soviet Unions position without Greece." – Paraphrased from a speech delivered to the British parliament on 28 October 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States of America 1933-1945: "On the 28th of October 1940 Greece was given a deadline of three hours to decide on war or peace but even if a three day or three weeks or three years were given the response would have been the same. The Greeks taught dignity throughout the centuries. When the entire world had lost all hope the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster raising against it the proud spirit of freedom." – Paraphrased from a speech delivered on 10/6/1943. "The heroic struggle of the Greek people... against Germanys attack after she so thunderously defeated the Italians in their attempt to invade the Greek soil filled the hearts of the American people with enthusiasm and moved their compassion." – Paraphrased from a speech delivered on 25/04/1941. Benjamin Sumner Welles U.S. Under Secretary of State 1936-1943: “Hitler was forced to come to the rescue of his battered satellite. Despite the crushing weight of his second assault Greece stood firm. With British assistance she held the Nazi hordes at bay for precious weeks making possible the reinforcement of the Near East and changing decisively and disastrously for Hitler the time-table of Hitler’s attack in Russia.” – From a press conference on 6 June 1942 at the presence of King George of Greece Wilhelm Keitel Hitler’s Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces Field Marshall 1940-1945: “The Greeks delayed by two or more vital months the German attack against Russia if we did not have this long delay the outcome of the war would have been different.” – As stated during the Nuremberg Trials. Lord Halifax UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: “Great admiration inspires all of us the accomplishment of the Greek valour against an enemy so much more numerous and so much better equipped. These deeds remind us of the trophies of the classical times. Long live Greece” – From a speech to the House of Lords. Primo Levi Italian intellectual and prisoner at Auschwitz “The solidarity of Greeks in Auschwitz their repulsion for violence their consciousness for survival and their effort to preserve human dignity made them the most united national group in the camp. Thus the most civilized.” – From his memoirs. slide 10: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 10 Greeks during WWII – Historical facts and incidents On 10 April 1941 after the capitulation to Germany the northern forts of Greece surrender. The Germans express their admiration to Greek soldiers declaring that they were honored and proud to have such courageous warriors as their adversary such an army and requested that the Greek commandant to inspect the German army in a demonstration of honor and recognition The German flag was raised only after the complete honorable withdrawal of the Greek army. For the rest of the War German soldiers who fought against the Greeks were authorized to wear a black armband on their uniforms signifying the role in Germany’s toughest battles of World War II. A Luftwaffe German officer declared to the commander of the Greek Eastern Macedonia division group Lieutenant General Dedes that the Greek army was the first army the Stuka fighter planes did not cause panic to. "Your soldiers" he said "instead of fleeing frantically as they did in France and Poland were shooting at us from their positions." The Greeks originally surrendered to the Germans only while it was the only country during WWII that was at the same time fighting against four other countries Italy Albania Bulgaria Germany. Mussolini learned about it and got furious demanding that the Greek Army also surrender to the Italians. He ordered additional attacks against the Greeks who were then in the process of surrendering to Germany. The Greeks resisted and defeated the Italians once more… After the embarrassment to Mussolini Hitler relented and had General Dietrich convince General Georgios Tsolakoglou to include Italy as well in the surrender. In the late spring of 1944 Nazi ships of death were making stops in the ports of the Ionian islands final destination Auschwitz. The German commandant called Metropolitan Bishop Chrysostomos and Mayor Lucas Carrer to his office and told them they have 24 hours to submit a list with the names of all the Jews that lived on the island together with details of their assets. They returned with an envelope soon afterwards: The paper contained just two names the bishop’s and the mayor’s. On 23 March 1943 during the Nazi occupation of Greece the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Damaskinos along with other prominent Greeks signed his name on a letter defending the Greek Jews. When General Jurgen Stroop an S.S. Officer and police official for Greece found out about the letter he threatened to shoot the Archbishop. Archbishop Damaskinos responded to the Nazi Officer: “According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church our prelates are hung and not shot. Please respect our traditions”. By the autumn and winter of 1941 Greece was starving. The death toll from starvation and typhoid typhus cholera pneumonia and dysentery had risen to more than 1500 persons daily in Athens and Piraeus alone. By the following spring the death rate from starvation in Athens and Piraeus exceeded 2000 a day. Of every ten children born only one lived more than four weeks. Source: American Greek War Relief Association Reports reveal that during WWII Greece lost 7.2-12.9 of its population Yugoslavia 6.6-6.9 USSR 2.8 Czechoslovakia 2.3-2.4 Holland 2.2-2.4 France 1.4-2 Poland 1.8 Belgium 1.05-1.5 Luxembourg 1.69 Norway 0.35 Denmark 0.16. Hitler’s troops lost more lives in one day in Crete than in any single day in the 15 months prior to conquering 15 other countries. Greece’s disruption of Hitler’s war timetable forced him into the deliberating Russian winter where he met defeat. Leaders like Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin America’s Sumner Welles and even Adolph Hitler’s Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel credit Greece with bringing about Hitler’s defeat. Greece was the only “David” in WWII able to inflict a fatal wound that eventually brought down the Nazi “Goliath”. slide 11: Copyright © 2017 Pytheas Limited 13 August 2017 11 Relevant to the subject extracts from previous articles by H. A. Samaras Published by Pytheas Social Political Review on 11 May 2012 with the title “The failure of the Greek State engendered a disillusioned society”. Greece is a case of a state that failed a case of despair that forced its citizens those that are at least self-conscious to exclaim instead of the more than valid “I am proud to be Greek” the self-pitied “I am sorry to be Greek”. These are the same Greeks that abstained from voting in the recent elections or as an “immature” form of protest voted for radical parties than now possess a catalytic say in the future of the Country. Overall the average Greek has been bombarded with jargons polarized by an ignorant in the vast majority populist irresponsible anachronistic and scandalous political leadership and labor unions and sacrificed in the name of power and political party benefits Important to note that the Citizens of the Country are equally responsible for the crisis as are the country’s EU partners. The conditioned Citizens of the Hellenic Republic accepted the love of ease a mindless attitude that was provided to them via political favoritism and moral delusions and lived by it for decades to such an extent that it became part of their DNA – for the vast majority of Greeks not to cheat income tax was as idiotic as to be efficient and productive while working for the over-staffed public sector “corruption” to that effect found in the eye of the average Greek a new synonym: “Bravado” Μαγκιά Published by Pytheas Market Focus on 3 July 2015 with the title “More than ten facts and one question about Greece and the EU Financial Crisis”. While it is a fact that a a number of Eurozone nations were complicit in Greece’s fiscal irresponsibility b the EU was inadequate and “deliberately” reluctant to take a decisive action and to establish a mechanism to effectively assist member countries with financing problems – whilst aware and acknowledged by the EU itself of the unique problem with the Eurozone that countries in it share the same currency but not a unified fiscal banking or political system leaving countries especially the smaller ones with few tools at their disposal during a downturn c Billions of Euros of net wealth have been transferring from Athens to Berlin and not only German in particular but also other European leaders’ “morality” politics sermonize endlessly about how their frugal and thrifty taxpayers are being forced to endure the worse because of Greece’s only irresponsibility… Although Germany is the greatest beneficiary of the European Union and the Eurozone the vast majority of Germans feel that Europe lives at their expense: As the largest economy in the EU Germany makes the largest contribution to its budget but the EUs budget is small about 1 of the GDP of each member state. This expense pales into insignificance in comparison with advantages from which Germany benefits. To see further how far Germanys populist narrative inverts reality you only have to remember that the fact that Greece has a trade deficit for which Greece is guilty works to the benefit of the other EU countries and first of foremost to the benefit of Germany which is the leading exporter to Greece. Salary costs in Greece another Greek fault have financed private consumption in Greece which has financed German exports. The “aid” to Greece will not cost the German taxpayer anything. Germany will lend to Greece at a higher interest rate while Germany itself raises money a lot more cheaply. Greek recovery will serve the interests of the EU and its member states beyond the common interest in preserving the stability of the Euro. 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