Over the past few years I have been so sad to see the suffering of the Greek people as they bear the brunt of the financial collapse caused by the banksters. Greek books were cooked with collusion between big banks and a corrupt government. Then the big banks started betting against Greece and the rest is history as their economy collapsed and they found themselves under the control of the European central banks. The people did not cause the collapse but the people have been the ones to suffer.
How could this be? The people who never lost their own identity even under 400 years of Turkish rule, without a country to call their own, had finally succumbed through economic warfare. But I should not have despaired so deeply as history is long. And now, Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is raising her head again seeking a renewal of democracy. In a landslide election on January 25, the Greek people voted in the progressive party, Syriza. Syriza is opposed to neo-liberal economic policies which favor privatisations and the removal of laws protecting labour. They are committed to eliminating the austerity which the EU has imposed on Greece, causing six years of severe economic hardship for the majority of Greeks.
Perhaps after many, many twists and turns of history – from small Greek city-states, to Alexander the Great, to being a province of the Roman Empire, to the Byzantine Empire, to centuries of domination by the Ottoman empire, to the beginnings of reunification as a nation, to the Great Catastrophe when after World War I the Allies left the Greeks out to dry in their attempt to retake Istanbul (always called Constantinople in Greece), to the Greek Civil War after World War II which left a very right-wing government in control, to Greece’s entry into the European Union – perhaps the Greeks, a very hard-working and proud people, will lead the West back to democracy and an elimination of the huge gap between the rich and the poor which is far, far from democratic ideals. I hope that the next time I have the opportunity to visit Greece I find it renewed and prosperous.