This week in AnalyzeGreece!
TAKE A [LEFT] LOOK @GREECE
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AnalyzeGreece! offers an alternative and critical view amidst the often confusing and conflicting information about Greece. Well-documented analysis, opinion and comment from a left-wing and social grassroots perspective.
Τhis week in AnalyzeGreece!
THE LEFT IN GOVERNMENT
Austerity policies can only be effectively challenged, and the privileges of EU and European elites can only be properly exposed, if our politics is based on forging class alliances and rifts within Greece rather than obscuring class interests beneath misleading rhetoric about patriotic unity; that can only serve to undermine and overshadow the real debate on the economy, democracy, wealth redistribution and human rights. In addressing these questions, the analysis of the Left has, in my view, the moral and political advantage.
By now the government has proven that respecting popular mandate is its fundamental principle. For the first time in its history Greece has got a government whose main concern and priority is to defend the rights of the people and not the vested interests of the few. In addition over these first few weeks the government demonstrated honesty as well as sound political judgment as it managed both to manoeuvre and build alliances. However, if at the eleventh hour the Government is indeed presented with a dilemma such as “third MoU or Grexit”, then this Government of social salvation can under no circumstances go for a “third MoU” reply. And not just because Grexit is the ideal way to growth as some naively seem to suggest; A third MoU would be an unprecedented humiliation for the Greek people, especially at a time when there is a sense of hope and exaltation. If humiliated, Greek people will not be able to participate in Europe with a sense of political dignity; but that’s not the full story. If humiliated, Greek people cannot even be creative in the real economy and business; psychology is a key aspect of economic and business activity."
TIME OF CRISIS
For photographers, not to picture the crisis would have been to omit what’s here, to fail the truth of our situation, to deny its existence. Crisis is on our doorsteps; its effects are in front of us: the homelessp people, the unemployed, the closed shops, the social tension and the political turmoil –a pressing reality which affects all photographers one way or another and almost demands to be depicted. These problems were already acute during the last decade; however, they were limited to documentary projects related to marginalized social places, which in the public mind were always “in crisis”.
The historian Hagen Fleischer suggests, Athens justly demands a reimbursement of forced loans from Berlin. Germany, however, is not taking the Greeks seriously. This is cause for bad blood given the historical background, according to Fleischer in an interview with tagesschau.de.
The story is well known. No – it’s the photo that is well known, I should say. Published back in November 2012 the photo showed a brutally abused man, bound and chained on a tree. Walid says that one day just as the shop was about to close for the day, his boss walked in from the bakery’s back door, where the preparation/production area was and where Walid worked. He mentioned something about the overdue salaries Walid had asked for. Then his boss started beating him up. Then the boss’s son and two others joined him. They took him to a barn. They held him bound. They tortured him. Then they left. Walid managed to break the chain using a rock. Almost blind, still bound in chains, he ran away and kept running through the fields until he collapsed in a front of tree. This is the picture we all saw; Walid in front of a tree, still carrying his chains. His story is the story of our times, it is Greece’s story. It is our whole range of inertia, indifference, apathy, cynicism all the way to our downfall to fascism.
NEWS FROM ABROAD (Selections from the foreign press)
The Finnish vice president of the European commission, Jyrki Katainen, responded to Syriza’s election victory by saying, “We don’t change policies depending on elections. Oh yes you bloody well do. It’s called democracy and it’s Europe’s greatest political invention. The trouble is that the structural problems of the eurozone require a transnational European democratic solidarity of fellow citizens which does not exist between different nationalities in the eurozone, and is not in prospect any time soon.
The euro-zone is struggling and star French economist Thomas Piketty says EU institutions are partly to blame. In an interview with Spiegel, celebrated French economist Thomas Piketty speaks about Alexis Tsipras' election victory in Greece, Europe's inability to fix its financial woes and what EU leaders can learn from the United States.
Solidarity for All (S4A) working groups work on different fields of activities, that is: food, health, social and alternative economy, solidarity against debts and house-foreclosures, legal support, education and culture solidarity, workers’ solidarity, international solidarity. S4A also works with refugees and migrants, but this part of the network of antiracist solidarity had been well established before the current crisis, with its own structures and actions. It’s worth noting that many ideas and actions of the self-organised solidarity movement have been first practiced by the antiracist movement in our country."
Professor of political science at Panteion University Vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights, speaks about recent domestic policy in Greece. interview on Crisis, immigration, Far right and the new Greek Government.
The documentary has already been broadcasted or it will be broadcasted in a total of 18 countries. Those who have watched it are left speechless and enraged. What they see is a government that defines the Constitution and the laws and does whatever it wants. They see a country that supposedly gave birth to Democracy and brought the light of ideas to Europe and now lives an economic and social tragedy. They see the politicians simply serving our lenders. They know that Greece is a guinea pig and that if all this is happening now in Greece, it may also later happen to their own country. This is what we experienced through ERT. The essence of the ERT story is Democracy itself.
Greek police recently managed to retrieve the body of a young man in the lake of Ioannina, a medium-sized city in Western Greece. It was Vaggelis Yakoumakis, a 20-year-old man, who had gone missing a month earlier. While current evidence suggests it was a suicide, the facts that came to surface during the days of the police search draw a much more complicated and grim picture. Within this climate of collective hysteria the causes of his treatment are obscured. Yakoumakis was bullied by his fellow-students not just because he was a shy young man, but predominantly, because he was not considered ‘manly’ enough and his sexual orientation was ‘questionable’. Yakoumakis was not subjected to blind, irrational hatred, he was loathed for not confirming to the prevailing standards of masculinity, which in Greece remain quite traditional.