Beware The Greeks?

Bloody Greeks . .

. . living beyond their means; sponging off everyone else. Lazy bastards got everything they deserve coming to them!

So runs the mainstream media around much of Europe but particularly in Germany where the hard working and fiscally frugal natives see Iron Chancellor Merkel’s handing over of ‘their’ hard-earned savings to the dissolute Greeks as nothing short of insanity – she is unlikely to win re-election as a result.

Has the mainstream media shaped your view of the pampered and spoilt Greeks as it had mine? If you are feeling less than sympathetic to that nation’s plight can I respectfully ask you to read on – you might be as shocked and appalled as I was when I learned the truth.

To those of you who ask what all this has to do with ‘Archers – living, loving and travelling Turkey’ I answer ‘They are our neighbours, they are in desperate straits and, if nothing else, they deserve our understanding.’

the Führer bailing  out his mate

In October 1940, His Arrogance Il Duce Benito Mussolini dragged Greece into WW2 by invasion of its territory. After six months of humiliation and certain defeat at the hands of the tiny Greek army supported by a rag-tag resistance movement Hitler bailed his Axis partner by invading the country in April 1941.

Greece was looted and devastated like no other under German occupation. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that between 1941 and 1943 at least 300,000 Greeks died of starvation as a direct result of German plundering. Even Il Duce was appalled when he complained to his foreign minister ‘The Germans have taken from the Greeks even their shoelaces’.

Germany and Italy, in addition to charging Greece outlandish ‘occupation expenses’, obtained by force an ‘occupation loan’ of $3.5 billion. Hitler himself recognised the legal nature of this loan and had given orders to start the process of repayment. After the war ended, at the Paris Conference of 1946, Greece was awarded $7.1 billion by way of war reparations in addition to the repayment of the ‘occupation loans’.

Italy repaid its share of the occupation loan; Italy and Bulgaria paid war reparations to Greece. Germany paid war reparations to Poland in 1956 and to former Yugoslavia in 1971. Greece demanded repayment of the occupation loan in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1987 and in 1995. Germany has consistently refused to pay its obligations to Greece arising from the occupation loan and war reparations. In 1964, German Chancellor Erhard promised repayment of the loan after reunification, which happened in 1990 – Greece is still waiting.

To give some idea of the scale of German obligations to Greece consider the following: using an interest rate linked to an average for US Treasury Bonds since 1944 of 6% it is estimated that the current value of the occupation loan is $163.8 billion and that for war reparations is $332 billion – that’s a combined total as of July 2011 of 575 billion euros that Germany owes to Greece!

It wasn’t just ‘even their shoelaces’ that was taken from the Greeks. During WW2 Greece lost 13% of its population, some from fighting but most from famine and war crimes. The Germans murdered the populations of 89 Greek villages and towns, burned to the ground 1,700 villages with many of their inhabitants executed; the country was reduced to rubble and its antiquities and treasures looted.

town of Distomo 10th June 1944 (hover for more details)

Next time you see or read of Merkel’s demands for more Greek belt tightening, more austerity, remember that if her government coughed up and met its obligations as it is legally required to do there wouldn’t be any sponging Greek wasters out on the streets. There wouldn’t be any more Greek suicide deaths to add to the war time total either.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

ps if you were surprised to learn these facts, put yourself in the shoes of all those decent people in Germany who have also been kept in the dark. Politics is a dirty game. There is a petition by Greek academics to call on Germany to make good on its obligations.


Listen Lady! . . .

. . . the anger was palpable; the body language unmistakable; our driver was one very pissed-off guy.
We were on a short visit from our home in Turkey to Athens in neighbouring Greece; our son was working there for a few days from his home in the US and it was a rare chance to share some time together. It was also the day after a general strike protesting the EU/IMF bail-out terms that would adversely impact everybody except the wealthy ruling elite whose greed had bled the country dry. We had picked up a taxi at the airport; our driver spoke pretty good English and asking him about the economic and political situation seemed the natural thing to do.
‘Listen, lady . . . Greece is a small country, only 11 million people; six million live here in Athens because there is nowhere else to get work. I came from Crete because it’s hard to make enough for my family on the islands.
‘We thought, when we got rid of the military in 1974, that we would have democracy and accountability. What we got was a bunch of corrupt political families and their cronies who have made themselves rich and immune from prosecution for their crimes.
‘They pay themselves multiple salaries for having their names on various committees and they also pay themselves for more working days than there are days in the year! But that’s not enough so they milk the system with government contracts and ‘commissions’ for their families and friends.’
Our driver pointed to two stadia as we drove by, ‘You see those? They were built for the 2004 Olympic Games; we were already bankrupt and still they borrowed more money to pay for constructions that were profiting them and their business partners. Now they are empty and falling to pieces – no one uses them.’
As we drove further into the city the piles of rubbish multiplied everywhere; building skips overflowing with days of stinking household and business refuse. Our driver’s anger continued to mount . . .
‘Do you realise how much these bastards are spending on weapons – guns, aircraft even ships and submarines? Billions of euros.’ (the actual figure was 14 billion euros or 6% of GDP in 2007 and 2009; Eric Reguly & Brian Milner ‘Globe & Mail’ May 1st 2010. ie half of the annual deficit problem, 13-14% of GDP, is caused by inflated spending on war preparation. Greece’s overall debt is greater than its annual GDP and ‘public’ spending accounts for 50% of GDP) ‘Our neighbours in Turkey have one of the largest militaries in the world, what could this little country do? Yet our politicians continue to make problems so they can put money in their own pockets from weapon sales.
‘After independence in 1827 the Greek people never had a problem with the Turks – before that bastard Venizelos (Prime Minister 1910-1915 and instigator of numerous internal and external conflicts) went to war Greeks and Turks lived together and worked together; villages and towns were mixed.
‘Living is a struggle; we have pensioners protesting on the streets with us because their pensions are being cut. Not just frozen – cut. It’s the same for most government workers. We even have policemen joining the protesters. The politicians are not cutting their own wages – no – it’s us, the ordinary people who are paying for their corruption.
‘Taxi licenses have gone up a huge amount and fares have been increased by 45% so now I get fewer customers. Restaurants are closing – even the up-market ones have fewer people in them. Look over there, (pointing) we have many more people begging on the streets – homeless – there are even women with kids, but the politicians still have their fancy houses and their black Mercedes cars.’
During our short stay in Athens we spoke with several people from different economic backgrounds; bitterness was a uniting factor. Will the ‘unprecedented’ bail-out of Greece by the EU/IMF quieten the protests and shore up the euro? We doubt that very much – after all, it is not the people who are being salvaged but the corrupt elite and their corrupt system. The Greek people have a long history of defiance and rebellion against corrupt authority.
As yet another ‘socialist’ government prepares to protect what it and its cronies have stashed into their bank accounts and property developments, by once again doing the bidding of the financial ‘Masters of the Universe’ and stuffing the workers, we asked our angry taxi driver why he continued to put up with them. ‘What’s the alternative?’ he queried. We could have told him, but he had a living to make and the taxi meter was running!

Alan Fenn & Janet Surman