Hippeis

Hippeis

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Is Athens Burning?

No, it isn’t. And people should stop pretending it is. Greece is in trouble, and a great deal of Greece’s trouble is self-inflicted–but not all. And I am increasingly annoyed—hmm, approaching enraged—as European and North American ‘money’ people manipulate currency and spread panic—to enrich themselves—while blaming the Greeks.

Yes, Greece has corruption. Yes, Greece has rich people who do not pay their taxes. Yes, the Greek bureaucracy is bloated and needs to be chopped with an axe. Yes, yes, yes. But the true VICTIMS of this crisis are working Greeks, young Greeks, people so stripped of hope and pleasure in their delightful country that they shake their heads and say ‘If I was younger, I’d take my family to Canada.’ ‘Greece has no future.’ ‘We will never recover.’ ‘There is no solution.’

In the years after the Council of 1437, Greece despaired—and Europe promised help—again and again promised. Genoa and Burgundy both helped—Burgundy might even have been said to have tried hard to save Greece. The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was a turning point in the history of the world, and the blame for it lies almost exclusively with the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Venice, who simply couldn’t be bothered to carry through on their pledges to save a state that they were almost entirely responsible for undermining. The consequences of that fall—are STILL with us in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. They are very much alive, those consequences. If you doubt me, spend an hour reading ultra-Slav websites.

If Greece fails, Europe will pay. It will pay immediately, because the fall will affect the banks. It will pay in the middle range, as middle-class Europeans lose their savings to currency speculators. It will pay in the long run, as a destabilized Greece becomes a Balkan country—perhaps even a failed state.

All so a few arseholes can be rich.

It is in everyone’s interest—everyone but a few corrupt Greek politicians and some currency speculators—to do the right thing. HELP Greece. Support Greece. Refuse to believe the endless crap about rioters. There are more riots in Washington DC and London. Ask serious questions about HOW the Greeks managed to borrow so much money.

Remind yourself how much we—and I’m speaking most of all to Americans—owe to Greece in our fondest notions of what freedom, liberty,and democracy are. What’s that worth?

Remind yourself—now I’m speaking to Europe—that you will sink or swim together; and that every thinking European thought themselves dishonored in 1453 when Constantinople fell. Repay THAT debt. Help Greece now.

How?

Take your vacation there, that’s how. Greece is fairly cheap; it’s the finest place on earth to visit. Go to Athens. See it. Go to the islands. There’s nothing there but sun and history and superb food. And when someone says ‘You’re going to Greece? Isn’t it dangerous?’ you can smile and say ‘No. Athens isn’t burning.’