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Letter to Editor

Letter from Athens: From Hero to Hypocrite: The Sad, Swift, Expected Transmogrification of Tsipras

When elected in January, 2015 – a fluke that never would have happened had then-Prime Minister Antonis Samaras not nominated his party’s Vice-President to be Greece’s President – Alexis “Che” Tsipras’ fans saw him as a savior to break the death grip austerity had on them.

How could they not? The Looney Left SYRIZA leader said he would defy international creditors he said enslaved Greeks to debt and decades of despair, would reverse pay and pension cuts, cut taxes, stop the sale of state assets and put people back to work, his grand scheme to kickstart a Leftist revolution across Europe.

He had delusions of grandeur, of being Europe’s Fidel but was really just like the turncoat revolutionaries in Woody Allen’s Bananas who turned out to be just as bad as the people they overthrew, worse really because of the false promises sold to get into power and stay there.

Shortly after being elected, Tsipras found himself glorified by out-of-town press who actually used the word “charisma” to describe him when he’s about as exciting as watching paint dry and is more wooden than Stephen Seagal.

CNN said then: “For many on the streets of Athens it’s his words that matter – his promise of ‘No more bailouts, no more submission, no more blackmailing.’ It’s a message of hope that resonates with those across this country, hardened by years of the EU’s bitter medicine: Austerity.”

The words were forgotten before he sat down on the throne he created for himself, wallowing in his own hypocrisy.

Tsipras did nothing of what he promised, of course and instead doubled down on the Draconian conditions he excoriated as harsh and cruel, only to become harsher and crueler than the people he replaced. Bananas, you know.

On Jan. 24, 2017, facing more demands for austerity from the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism, who – along with the International Monetary Fund – hold the mortgage on Greece, Tsipras repeated his mantra of lies.

“There is no way we are going to legislate even one euro more than what was agreed in the bailout,” he said, referring to a third rescue package of 86 billion euros ($92.22 billion) he sought and accepted after swearing he would do neither.

Technically speaking, he was telling the truth because he didn’t agree to one more euro of austerity: he agreed to billions more in pension cuts, tax hikes and taxing low-income families without mentioning one of his campaign phrases to “crush the oligarchy” who instead crushed him.

The same CNN piece quoted a man identified only as Nikos who explained why he voted for
Tsipras and SYRIZA after New Democracy and PASOK (now Democratic Alignment) pounded and punished workers, pensioners and the poor with brutal measures the lenders demanded.

“But nothing, Nikos says, has changed. So, he and his wife are gambling on Greece’s left-wing SYRIZA party, their pledge to bring an end to austerity, and their message that “hope is coming”.

Angry and frustrated, Nikos insists:’Things can’t get any worse with a new government. And if they do, we’ll vote again for someone else.’’

Who? New Democracy? Democratic Alignment? The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn? There’s nowhere for Greeks to turn which explains why Tsipras – after reneging on his own referendum he called in July 2015 urging Greeks to back him in rejecting more austerity (they did, he didn’t) – called snap elections in September and beat New Democracy again.

So let’s take a little walk down Memory Lane, which is paved with lies and good intentions, just like the road to hell that Tsipras kept Greeks on after promising them a detour to the good life.

The Atlantic magazine, in Dec. 16, 2016, listing the biggest broken promises of the year put Tsipras at third for surrendering to the lenders yet again and for his referendum reneging.

“The most charitable interpretation of Tspiras’ behavior is that, before the referendum, he was caught in an untenable position between the demands of international negotiators and promises he had made to his base, and decided to try to prioritize his base. After the referendum, he could at least say to them that he had fought and lost.”

In July, 2015, after he reneged on the referendum, The Australian wrote of SYRIZA that, “During their five months in office, the left-wing firebrands have made a habit of ramping up their rhetoric to the point where they have been accused of misleading the Greek people.”

Two months before the referendum, Truthout, in a piece called SYRIZA: Lies, Broken Promises and Prolonged Austerity, wrote “The past three months have seen, in Greece, a continuation of the same exact policies of austerity and privatization and the continued decimation of Greece’s battered social state. Moreover, we have seen most of Syriza’s pre-election promises and rhetoric reneged upon, via the continuation of the same sorts of policies as before.

In February this year, Fair Observer wrote as Tsipras was still pretending to defy the Troika that, “It appears the party’s perceived ideological betrayal and muddled populism have alienated the Greek electorate.”

Yes, it has but Tsipras, with polls showing 90 percent of voters don’t trust or believe him anymore will stay in power until 2019 because he’s shown he’s a snake who can shed his skin to stay alive.

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