The last few weeks have been very trying for all of us in the Greek-American community. All of us have read, seen, or heard of the situation in Greece. I for one have grown tired of hearing of all the penalties and punishments implied or perceived, which were contemplated to be imposed on Greece and the Greek people. The media has used Greece as the scapegoat for the failure of the EU to provide a real financial solution to a problem created by the EU.
The United States is a federal republic system of government. It is a unique system that works largely because the member states are all in the system together. They help one another. Every federal tax dollar assists the poorer states, through various social programs.
This system that we are accustomed to in the United States is not what Europe currently has. Both rich and poor European states are measured equally, and thus the poorer states are at a disadvantage. Europe currently penalizes a member state if it is not as strong as the rest. If Mississippi were to go bankrupt, would the United States surgically remove it from part of the country? Of course not; the United States is a country composed of individual states, not like Europe which has now become a union of nation-states.
Time has come for the world to stop viewing Greece as the “red-headed stepchild” and stop the rhetoric of punishment of the people who have little control of what is happening to them. They are resilient and will figure out what and how to combat these issues. The concept of the EU is not a bad idea, but the concept of one currency simply does not work.
The debt that is owed is an insurmountable amount of money and one no matter how many austerity measures are taken, cannot be paid back. The EU (Germany) gave Greece too much money and then asked Greece to rebuild the country in preparation of the Olympics, and was either through persuasion or force that German contractors should do the work. Really?!?
Greece and its people have suffered enough. Everyone knows or at least has been shown how and why Greece got to this point. Why aren’t the banks who gave the money accountable for this current state of affairs? They falsified documents to give Greece the money, isn’t that entrapment, or at the very least an actionable offense?
The blame game is over. Europe must fix the problem, not exacerbate it. Greece cannot be thrown out of the EU, because that will open the door to other members to exit and thus destroy any Union they have left.
The debt must be forgiven and a reset button pushed, because the way things are going now, collapse is imminent.
Germany must stop this antagonistic behavior and all parties must come together and save a nation whose history spans over 5000 years. Yes, Greece owes Europe money, but doesn’t Europe owe Greece something? The country of Greece is not for sale (especially a fire sale)!
The Greeks of the Diaspora cannot solve this problem. The United States cannot solve this problem. No one but Greece and their partners can solve this problem.
Basil Mossaidis is Executive Director of AHEPA.