Connect with us

Hellenic Insider

Greece

History

Viewpoint: Is Greece truly independent?

On March 25 Greeks worldwide celebrate Greek Independence, but Greece will never truly be independent until its people remove the shackles within.

Published

on

0 Views

Original version aired on Dialogos Radio in March 2016.
Each year, on the 25th of March, Greeks around the world commemorate the beginning of the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire. A commemoration which is closely tied into Greece’s national and cultural identity, and with the freedom and independence of the modern Greek state, after 400 years of occupation by the Ottomans.
But which independence and which sovereignty are we actually talking about here? The result of the Greek revolution of 1821 may well have been the end of 400 years of Turkish occupation and control, but what followed since then and what continues until today is a different sort of occupation, a political and economic occupation and increasingly a cultural one as well. Modern Greece has never been an independent or sovereign state.
In its modern history, Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the Bavarians, who soon after Greece regained so-called “independence” brought in their royal families to rule Greece. Greece was a colony and protectorate of the British, who employed divide and conquer techniques against the Greek people in order to assert control and dominance, as was the case immediately after the end of World War II, when the British turned their backs on the rebels who resisted Nazi occupation and sided with far-right, fascist, criminal elements who had been Nazi collaborators. Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the United States, who brought in so-called “patriotic” elements into power in the 1950s while emptying the country of its educated youth at the time, and who later on brought a full-fledged military dictatorship to Greece, in the name of freedom and democracy of course. And since 1981, Greece has been a bona fide colony of the European Union and later the Eurozone.
This sort of foreign control has become ingrained in the minds and the mentalities of most Greeks. It’s a mentality one comes across every day in Greece, that Greece belongs to Europe, belongs to the West, belongs to NATO, that Greece would be nothing without the European Union and the Euro and America, while you hear others saying that Greece must be saved by another power, by the Russians. You rarely, if ever, hear anyone talk about Greece standing up on its own two feet, as a nation and as a country, without being under the umbrella of some other power, some savior, without belonging to some sort of a so-called “alliance.”
Therefore, when this sort of neocolonial mindset predominates in your society and your national mentality, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the so-called political leaders of your country, a bunch of ignorant and repulsive clowns and traitors, downplay the significance of this national day of commemoration and tell us that on March 25th of 1821 what took place was an “economic revolt” or that a new “nation” (pay attention to the word here), nation, was born, or that this commemoration belongs to the so-called European cultural heritage and inheritance, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the totality of your parliament is comprised of political parties who have exactly the same position regarding Greece remaining part of the so-called “European family,” and is comprised of political figures who tell us that the memorandum and austerity agreements are a “blessing,” and there is absolutely no democratic debate of any kind regarding the issue of exiting the EU or the Eurozone, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When these so-called blessings, these memorandum and austerity agreements, have resulted in a GDP decline of 25 percent, a decline in domestic consumption of 28.5 percent, a reduction in pensions of 61 percent, an official unemployment rate of 26 percent, a 35 percent increase in the use of antidepressants, as well as 50 percent of the population living at or below the poverty line and over 500,000 mostly young and educated people abandoning the country and migrating abroad in the past eight years, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the resounding result of the July 2015 referendum, which rejected new austerity measures, was itself rejected by the government which clueless people around the world hailed as a government of “hope” and “change,” by a fascist, authoritarian, and traitorous faux-leftist government which went ahead and enforced the harshest austerity agreement to date, a government which earned the electoral support of less than 20 percent of the Greek population, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When bills that are placed before parliament must also be reviewed and approved by Greece’s European so-called partners, when they have the unilateral right and ability to declare Greece as being in a “state of emergency,” and when they can decide, for instance, what crops Greece can and cannot grow, what amounts of these crops to grow, and where Greece is allowed or not allowed to export this production, when your government’s finance minister says that his government is signing anything that the Europeans ask them to sign, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When the Nobel Prize-winning European Union, in which Greece apparently must remain “at all costs” says that your country must accept hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants and when there are apparently great sums of money available to support them and to support the country, Turkey, that is trafficking them into Europe even though it is not an EU member-state, while Greece is told that there is no money for salaries or pensions or health care and that more cuts are needed, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When this so-called European “family” forces your country to accept an active NATO military patrol on your land and in your waters and forces you to accept the presence of police and military personnel from Turkey, while turning a blind eye to the thousands of violations of Greek airspace and territorial waters committed by Turkey each and every year, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When Turkey does not allow Greece’s official aircraft, in which the prime minister is traveling, to land on a Greek island and in a Greek airport, at the same time that Turkey has a police and military presence in your own country, officially and unofficially, and when Turkey considers any Greek attempt to explore for hydrocarbons in its Aegean or Mediterranean seaspace an act of war, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When your country does not possess its own domestic, national currency but instead uses what is in reality a foreign debt instrument, meaning the euro, and when you are unable as a country to develop and enforce your own economic, monetary, and fiscal policies, when your country is indeed forced to sell off all of its valuable public assets for ridiculously low prices to foreigners and the proceeds from these sales also go immediately to foreign hands in the name of repaying an illegal, odious debt, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When your very own government has watered down the teaching of your language, your history, and your culture, when it requires your children to learn at least two foreign languages, something which few other countries require, and when it enforces an education system which favors rote learning and does not allow even an inch for critical thought, when this very education system apparently teaches the new generations that they are European first and then Greek, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When all of the major avenues and thoroughfares in Greece’s major and smaller cities are named after Greece’s former foreign royalty instead of bearing the names of prominent Greeks from Greece’s ancient and modern past, when we have avenues named after Queen Amalia and King Constantine instead of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Kolokotronis and Papanikolaou, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When you have altered and watered down the Greek language to the extent that practically half the words used in daily parlance in Greece today are English words, even though corresponding Greek words exist and were once used, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
And the icing on the cake is that if you say such things in Greece, if you ask such questions and raise such issues, you are immediately branded as a “nationalist,” a “fascist,” a “Golden Dawn” supporter, a “racist,” and every other defamatory categorization one can come up with. In other words, in modern Greece today, one who stands up for their homeland, for their language, for their history and culture is now considered some sort of far-right fringe element. We’re European now, not Greek, we are told. When this mentality and this line of thinking predominates in society, especially among the young, tell me, is your country independent and sovereign?
Today, what Greece needs is a new March 25th. How can this occur though when the solution for Greece’s youth is to abandon the country, one that many don’t even consider their homeland, without a fight? How can this take place when the prevailing attitude in Greece is one of “woe is me, what can we do, we have no choice?,” and when there is such fear, indeed such terror, of leaving the so-called European family and missing out on the vaunted European dream?
Greece needs a new March 25th, but in order for this to happen, the people of Greece need to undergo their own personal March 25th, in their minds and in their attitudes. Will this ever take place though?
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

Advertisement
Comments

Latest

Germany Returning Migrants to Greece

Germany’s policy contradicts claims that the migrants are “war refugees,” because if that were the case, they’d seek asylum at the nearest, non-wartorn country.

The Duran

Published

on

Via Infowars Europe:


Germany will soon send back migrants to Greece if they had already applied for asylum there.

The two countries made the deal at the behest of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose coalition government is on shaky ground due to increased opposition to her immigration policies.

“EU law states that refugees should apply for asylum in the first EU country they reach, but Germany has typically allowed newcomers with open applications elsewhere to reside in the country as it examines their claim,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “In practice, very few ever leave Germany, even if they fail to obtain asylum there.”

Germany’s policy contradicts claims that the migrants are “war refugees,” because if that were the case, they’d seek asylum at the nearest, non-wartorn country.

In fact, many of the migrants travel across multiple European countries, including Greece, to seek asylum in Germany, which under Merkel has offered comprehensive welfare to migrants.

Merkel’s recent immigration backtrack was also likely influenced by the backlash against open borders in neighboring countries, particularly Austria.

Austria has ramped up deportations under recently-appointed Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“I’m convinced that the solution to the migrant problem lies with decent border protection and stronger help in countries of origin,” he said earlier this year.

Poland, Hungary and other Eastern European countries have similarly sealed off their borders to the chagrin of the EU, which had previous demanded “migrant quotas” for each member nation.

Continue Reading

Latest

The Greek Disaster: State Inertia and the Market Economy

In Greece we witnessed this repulsive, internally-generated tragedy in all its horrifying glory. Unfortunately we may soon see more far-reaching consequences…

Published

on

What happened in Attica, Greece, close to Athens, is without precedent. An ordinary fire, like the ones that occur in this area almost every other summer, met up with a terrible, sudden wind that turned it into real galloping inferno.

Support The Duran – Browse our Shop >>

The tragic result was 87 dead Greek citizens and more than 20 still missing. Huge questions loom on the horizon and only very limited answers are forthcoming. Are some of the lessons from this tragedy related to the wider geopolitical and political-economic questions?

Public-sector clientelism is leading to disastrous inefficiency

Why do tragedies like these occur in social environments with firmly entrenched clientelist political systems and in political entities that operate on the periphery of major, bureaucratic, modern empires? Sweden saw huge uncontrolled fires this summer. However, there was no loss of life or major disasters that befell the urban centers.

In Portugal last year — and very recently in Greece  —  scores of people died, mainly due to the inability of the state machinery to efficiently deal with the problem. The major difference between these examples is the quality of the civil service. In Greece and Portugal there is no real ethics in the public administration, which frequently fails to meet any vigorous efficiency test .

In public bureaucracies that sprout favoritism the way trees grow branches, it is very difficult to design long-term plans to handle critical and life-threatening situations. Likewise, the political system lacks the prerequisites to draw upon informed societies that are trained to be cooperative and disciplined when there is a need for coordination.

When clientelism dictates and forms the essence of the political culture, this culminates in fractured societies that are infected with spreading islands of lawlessness and limited possibilities for administrative coherence.

In Greece in particular, the deep-rooted mentality of state favoritism produces whole sectors of uncoordinated urbanization, with no respect for the environment, chaotic borough formation, and a coastline that has been brutally violated by hasty real-estate developmental schemes.

In such a social context, thorough planning becomes almost impossible and the idea of applying administrative guidelines to deal with a crisis sounds like a joke. It is essentially the political system itself that invites disasters and not any sort of physical deluge that begets them.

The need for market solutions

Clientelism and heavy state intervention in the running of the economy and society are the basic causes of inefficiency and, henceforth, administrative chaos. It appears that the process of rational choice is the fatal enemy of the dominant mentality in such systems of government. This is represented by any model that relies on the market to deal with questions of economic policy and societal organization.

A bloated public sector that is encouraged by the political authorities to constantly expand, irrespective of its ability to deliver on its promises, becomes the major problem. Instead of being the solution to emerging issues, the state actually becomes the cause of most troubles and difficulties.

Henceforth, without clear objectives or cost-benefit solutions, the state is unable to provide reliable outcomes or to cope with situations, especially emergencies. In the case of Greece in particular, the fire-fighting service had been financially starved, while its personnel had been recruiting new staff based on specific social criteria!

In other words, firefighters entrusted with saving people from emergency situations were hired on the basis of their physical inability to deal with normal life situations, i.e., the physically handicapped, mentally unfit, generally unhealthy, or recruits who were simply from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

Relying on a market mentality means that choices are made based on measurable results, well structured plans to deal with crises, and thoroughly tested options. When none of these requirements are met, it is more than certain that achievements will be negligible and the consequences disastrous.

Hence one must assume that societies that do not rely on rational-choice procedures and which pursue policies of heavy state intervention and patron-client favoritism are not likely to see successful results. This essentially means that societies built on capitalist principles pursue measurable results that further the welfare of their citizens.

Geopolitical repercussions

There is also a geopolitical angle to these observations. If a country cannot keep up with globally established administrative and financial trends, it will end up facing dead-end situations and find itself being marginalized. With the exception of its reliance on heavy state taxation, the EU always pursues policies of open social frontiers and market economics. Countries that deviate from this logic find themselves gradually lost in a political wilderness.

They constantly creep along on the fringes of events and absent themselves from all contemporary processes. By acting as the exception instead of the rule, they will rapidly find themselves marginalized. They will become a stark anomaly and thus be excluded from every movement going forward. They will become the pariahs of the international system. Geopolitical events will pass them by, and they will be looked upon as the “black holes” of the international order.

Domestic events and major financial and/or economic choices cannot be limited any longer to national or regional occurrences. Notwithstanding the importance of events within a country, opting for heavy state intervention may lead a country into the international wilderness.

What’s more, its international standing may also be impaired, contributing to the nation’s overall marginalization.

In Greece we witnessed this repulsive, internally-generated tragedy in all its horrifying glory. Unfortunately we may soon see more far-reaching consequences…

Via Strategic Culture

Continue Reading

Latest

Greek-Russian relations at a crossroads

The political landscape of Greek-Russian relations has suddenly darkened.

Published

on

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meet in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on April 8, 2015.

What exactly is the matter? It is almost impossible to cull any accurate information enabling us to clarify the situation and shine a light on recent developments.

Let’s first sweep the picture clean of inaccurate assertions and unfounded claims. Commentators who almost always turn to the anti-Western narrative immediately took to the field. The Greek government, they claim, is trying to earn its credentials vis-à-vis NATO and the US.

Support The Duran – Browse our Shop >>

Although nobody has ever required such a demonstration of allegiance from Athens. Under the present circumstances Greece is not going to win any points with such behaviour. With the agreement at Prespa Lake and Athens yielding to FYROMacedonia’s membership in NATO, the Greek government has already earned what it could from like-minded Western European capitals.

A breakup with Russia would not have added anything to Athens’ pro-Western arsenal.

At a time when the US is blaming Germany for being friendly with Russia and other European states — namely Austria, Italy, and Hungary, among others — appear to be moving closer to Moscow, what would an anti-Russian gesture by Greece signify? How could Athens expect to capitalize on this? I cannot honestly discern any direct benefit for Greece.

Likewise, why would Washington pressure Athens to adapt such a hostile attitude? What would the Americans expect to earn at a time when the US president himself reiterates that in Vladimir Putin he sees a man he can fully understand … and make a deal with…

On the other hand, as far as bilateral relations are concerned, Athens’ relationship with Moscow has been seriously wounded — without any clear benefits for Greece. Putin has made it clear how he would react if faced with a repeated challenge: “If you squeeze a spring as far as it will go, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this”.

One should not overlook the fact that some months ago a meeting was called off between the Greek and Russian government ministries that had been aimed at fostering economic cooperation between the two countries. The reason given was the unexpected appearance at the meeting of some Crimean politicians — the Russians maintaining however that the Greek side had been forewarned and had not raised any objections at the time.

In the end the episode was brushed aside without any major repercussions, at least public ones. But it was an issue nevertheless…

At the last occurrence, culminating in the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Athens there is enough ambivalence as concerns the matter. The main issue being discussed is a possible Russian effort against the Prespa agreement, objecting in order to to nullify FYROM’s future membership in NATO. Two comments must be made here. Only Northern Macedonia can render the agreement invalid at this point, not Greece.

Even if the Greek parliament fails to ratify the agreement, the northern Macedonians will automatically become members of the Atlantic alliance. In order for that to happen the government in Skopje merely needs to satisfy the requirements set out by the Prespa agreement and stipulated by NATO. It is ridiculous to think that Russian diplomats are not fully aware of this situation. Why then, as some observers insinuate, should they try to nudge Greece into walking out of the agreement?

As for NATO, it is doubtful that the Russians do not recognize that the attitude of the US and of its president, who recently met with Russian officials and with President Putin himself in Helsinki, poses a greater threat to the cohesion of the alliance than the membership of tiny FYROM.

My opinion is that the various reports on the issue are making the matter seem much weightier than it really is. My assessment is that Moscow is much less concerned about it than is generally acknowledged.

There is, however, definitely an issue. Otherwise we would not have reached the point of repatriating diplomats. One should never overlook the fact that great powers are usually burdened by many decision-influencing centres. Sometimes they are working outside of the official process that the governments dictate. Russia can hardly be an exception. Often the tentacles of such decision-making centres reach the state machinery.

This has happened in Greece in the past, when a retired Air Force pilot attempted to bomb parts of Albania. We saw it again in the case of a fugitive from Turkey, the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. In the US it is very often the case that various agencies take initiatives without the knowledge of the central government authorities.

With Russia, the issue of Orthodox Christian belief is quite important. Adherence to those principles can potentially prompt actions and moves without the knowledge or approval of a central authority. Unfortunately, I am not privy to specific information, but I believe that my ideas make logical sense.

Why should the Kremlin jeopardise a carefully cultivated cordial relationship with Athens just to pursue a dead-end policy on the issue of Skopje? After all, that’s an issue of paramount importance to Greece. And it could not possibly produce any fruitful results.

There are people in northern Greece who have often involved themselves in issues of vital importance to Greece without the slightest official authorisation or coordination with the aims of the Greek state. Some of them refer to Russia as a sister Orthodox power, without having been entrusted with such authority.

On the other hand, one should not overlook the fact that Greece carries a grudge against the Kremlin for having embraced Turkey in recent months, supplying it with missiles and accepting its friendly overtures on the Syrian front, although aware of its diverse inclinations concerning the future of that region.

It is not impossible that such sentiments may have culminated in and led to the recent crisis between the two states.

Notwithstanding the above, there is a wider issue contributing to the current misunderstandings. Russia has always been a puzzle for anyone attempting to do business with her. They find it difficult to comprehend her reactions and behaviour. Almost all are reminded of Winston Churchill’s words describing Russia: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma“. What few people remember is the rest of Churchill’s phrase: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest“.

Some years later he explained: “I am convinced that there is nothing they [the Russians] admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness”.

No country can expect a positive appraisal if it does nothing but beg and offers little or no policy coordination. These words might adequately explain Russia’s attitude towards other countries and its posture towards various global affairs.

Via Strategic Culture

Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Advertisement

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...

Advertisement
Advertisements

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement

Advertisements

The Duran Newsletter

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending