by Dr. John N. Kallianiotis
University of Scranton
During the month of July 2012, I took my graduate class to Greece for a Travel Course on European Union. We had a very good time, there, and we enjoyed the hospitality of Greeks. All students were impressed with this unique experience. But, the opinions of Greek citizens were different than ours, who were leaving after two weeks and coming back to the United States. Unfortunately, so far, there has been no remedy for the country’s imposed economic problems. Greeks were completely pessimistic for the future of their country and their children wellbeing. They are afraid that from September, the situation will become even worse, due to the new austerities and the sale off of all the public wealth, actions which could not generate any positive results for the country, but they will lead the country to permanent destruction.
Greek citizens are disappointed with their three-party coalition government. They are the same people that have created the crisis since 1974 and have signed the referenda with the lenders promising to pay back the outrageous interest by continuing borrowing new money. Every citizen understands that these policies are absolutely wrong and this is the reason that there is no hope for the people in the future, with a recession for four years and an unemployment rate of 24% and in some regions 50%.
The government, with pressure from Troika, is continuing with reductions in salaries and pensions and increases in taxes. They have to pay property taxes, too, which is something new and unknown to Greeks. Small businesses went bankrupt and the vacancy rate in stores and apartments is increasing. People have difficulties to cover their daily expenses and the foreclosures of their homes have become a daily threat from the banks. The sales off of public enterprises and public infrastructures, land, islands, and even monuments will cause serious security and safety problems for the country and its citizens.
Unfortunately, the tax evasions and avoidance continue and all these illegal income has been sent abroad (enormous capital flights), which has affected negatively the tax revenue of the government and the deposits of banks. Many Greeks, who have properties (land, houses, etc.) in villages and in the country sides, started cultivating vegetables and have a few animals and poultry, there, to supplement their food. Greek citizens are facing another bigger problem, too. The crime and the loss of jobs, from the enormous illegal immigrants, who are shipped to Greece daily by Turkish smugglers, are out of any control. Thus, the citizens do not see any light from anywhere, from EU or from their own leaders.
All people in Greece are saying that Greek politicians are responsible for the current crisis and social justice must prevail. They have to go home for good and forever and their appropriated assets must be confiscated. They cannot lead the country that they brought to today’s crisis in all its sectors. People are not responsible for the state of the economy or for the social state that the country has been put. The responsibility falls completely on the leaders, who destroyed the most advanced nation, its civilization, its homogeneity, its identity, and its sovereignty after seven thousand years old prosperity and guidance for the entire world.
Every Greek demands, at the moment, the country to put its first priority on its citizens’ welfare and not on creditors’, on EU’s or on anybody else self-interest. Greece has to go back to its traditional values and qualities and away from the current value-neutral market values. The leaders, who created the current crisis, must be ostracized from Greece and a “benevolent dictator” must take over and gradually, to put Greece back in order.
Finally, my students and I, personally, were very impressed with the pride, the faith, the hope, and the qualities of these Greek people, who have experienced in their historic journey many and different difficulties, but they exit winners and better people at the end. They know that after this small test, they will come out stronger and better human beings. But, they need a leadership, which will boost their confidence.
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