Mythology speaks of a frightful beast named the Minotaur – half man, half bull – whose lair lied in Crete and who terrorized the people. Each year Athens was compelled to send seven young men and women to Crete as a sacrifice to appease the monster. There now lies yet another strange hybrid named Merkozy who lurks in a labyrinth stretching from Berlin to Paris to Brussels, but exacts an even heavier tax upon the youth of Greece. This strange political monster’s rise to power threatens the livelihood of millions of Greeks. Its voracious appetite will likely soon expand to other countries as well, like Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Day in and day out the people of Greece hope for the reappearance of some Theseus who will slay the product of this impious union. Instead, for the moment at least, all they have are Prime Minister Lucas Papademos – the closest living being on the planet to Neville Chamberlain – and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who controls the fate of 100 percent of the Greek population but represents only 6 percent of it! If there was ever a time for a deus ex machina, it is now. Where oh where is Euripides to add some divine intervention into the script? Undoubtedly, he is crying for sad state into which his land has fallen. While all of Ancient Greece’s sharpest minds never shirked from wielding a sword to defend their homeland (Socrates, Aeschylus) nor did their posterity shudder at taking up arms and defending their homeland even when it ran contrary to their office (i.e., the priests who fought in the Greek War of Independence), today’s leaders won’t so much as raise their voice in protest over the hunger, poverty, and misery being imposed by the monstrous Merkozy and the silk-suit thugs they represent.
The lot of Greece’s other political leaders are no better either, because they are either collaborating with Papademos’ arguably treasonous government or they are just feigning resistance. To participate in a parliament that so blatantly enacts anti-constitutional measures and so hastily agrees to plunge over one-third of the nation’s population into poverty without exhausting all available recourse (resignation, not showing up to Parliament to block a quorum, etc.) is tantamount to voting in favor of the unspeakably undemocratic measures.
It should be mentioned that the blackmail Greece’s “saviors” engaged in could be construed to be a violation of international law (article 52 of the International Treaty of Vienna, 1969), a violation of basic rights guaranteed by the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon, and numerous articles of the Greek Constitution. Besides the illegality of the measures, which will likely take years or even decades to prove (if ever proven) – hey, Greece is still paying off the loan that the Nazis made it take out back in WWII! – there is another reason to doubt this latest fix to the growing European debacle… it’s just plain stupid!
Let’s have a look at the numbers, as presented by economist Yannis Varoufakis. Greek debt was estimated at €260 billion in 2008. Along came the Troika, with its plan to “save” Greece. Its initial plan was to offer €110 billion, followed by an extra €130 billion 18 months later. Along the way, it decided to offer the country a breather by giving it a €100 billion haircut on its prior loans. That’s €240 in loans plus and extra €100 billion in loan haircuts.
Varoufakis is right when he suggests that the Troika deserves the Nobel prize in Stupidity for somehow managing to offer €340 billion to a country with a debt of €260 (€300 tops by 2010) and still manage to have that same country end up with a debt of a whopping €345 billion in 2012! In other words, it would have simply been cheaper to pay off Greece’s full debt in 2010. The Troika would have saved €40 billion and Greece wouldn’t owe a dime. Still trust the Troika with your money?
Unemployment has hit 20 percent, tens of thousands of businesses are going under, and people are being taxed into oblivion. Lines for soup kitchens have begun springing up again all over major Greek metropolises, just like back in World War II, when – what a surprise – the Germans were occupying the country once again.
Amid all this chaos, Greece’s banker/prime minister Papademos proudly commented after the Eurogroup meeting that okayed the latest loan to Greece set to keep the country (barely) running until June that Its no exaggeration to say that to say that today is a historic day for the Greek economy.” Much like Neville Chamberlain thought that his deal with Hitler would secure peace, Papademos’ appeasement tactics and sacrifice of his people to meet the unprecedented demands of these modern day robber barons will lead to chaos throughout Europe when the Greek bailout fails – as all signs are pointing.
Ironically, according to ancient Greek mythology, the Minotaur was the offspring of Europa, who was abducted by Zeus, who took the form of a bull. Europe has been abducted once again by the bulls of the markets, and the offspring produced – Merkozy – is far worse than the first Minotaur. Let’s hope that somewhere in the Aegean Sea a hero will spring forth like Theseus from Aegeus to slay the ungodly beast exacting terror upon Greece’s sons and daughters.