My Dear Greek citizens,
Καλημέρα. Χαιρετίσματα από την Ινδία.
I don't expect you to know me but I know you. Each one of you. I have seen you on streets in Athens marching hand in hand. Facing water cannons and rubber bullets from your own police force. Standing for hours in spiralling queues before banks and ATM machines. Your defiant spirit has always rekindled hope for a brighter future for humanity. In a way, you are the torch bearers, the vanguards in the global struggle against plutocracy, technocracy and bankocracy.
I must confess that at times I was disappointed too. Particularly, when I saw some of you youngsters holding high the European Union flag and giant placards announcing, "We belong to the EU". Let me share few things that I know. I and hope it will provide you with adequate reason to say ΌΧΙ - No -- on the coming Sunday, 5 July.
"You were called lazy and corrupt, a myth that was busted by OECD statistics."
Europeans like your sun and sand but the fraternity ends there. Let me give you five instances to support my claim
1. In 1942, when Greece was under Nazi occupation, the Greek Central Bank was forced to cough up a loan of 476 million reichsmarks at 0% interest to Nazi Germany. In 1960, Germany paid back only 115 million marks as compensation for Nazi crimes, declining to pay the balance under the pretext that Germans surrendered to allied forces and not to Greece. Today, Angela Merkel frowns at even a brief mention of this long-due and legitimate repayment demand for a loan which was extracted at gunpoint.
2. The ruling elite in the Europe has always traded your interests for their own gains. Have you forgotten what happened in the central square on the morning of 3 December 1944? This was the day when the British army, still at war with Germany, opened fire upon a civilian Greek crowd who were carrying Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanting: "Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin'". They also gave guns to locals who had collaborated with the Nazis and encouraged them to fire at the crowd. Twenty-eight civilians, mostly young boys and girls, were killed and hundreds injured.
"Don't disperse! Victory will be ours! Don't leave. The time has come. We will win!" kept saying a brave youngster. He is still among you, the great poet Titos Patrikios.
"Greece has been made a guinea pig by global powers to test the efficacy of their neo-liberal policy prescriptions."
3. The last five years or more have been a difficult time for you. What is more disturbing must be the way you have been painted in the media and public life in Europe. You were called lazy and corrupt, a myth that was busted by OECD statistics. The average Greek worker toils for 42 hours per week against the 35.3 hours logged by his German counterpart. I have also read accounts of Dutch tourists refusing to pay their bills after eating and drinking at Greek taverns stating, "Europeans have already given enough money to the Greeks by now"5
4.Those bankers and Eurocrats who got your earlier governments and the political and business elite addicted to the debt are now scratching their heads, wondering where they went wrong. Their recent discovery has been Greece is not "like" other European countries. It was an Ottoman district for the 400 years when Europe under the Hapsburg Empire experienced a series of transformation movements like the Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Absolutism, Rationalism, Enlightenment and Bourgeois Revolution.
5. Most serious independent-minded economists and policy researchers agree that the actual fact is that Greece has been made a guinea pig by global powers to test the efficacy of their neo-liberal policy prescriptions. Little did they realise that experiments can meet a sudden end once the subjects become "conscious" of them.
I hope this letter contributes towards a baby step in that direction.
Best wishes and welcome to the global periphery!