Saturday, March 10, 2018

As a Wise Bird Once Said [Five Years Ago]

As you may know, I'm recovering from shoulder surgery and hope to be back to two-handed typing soon, but for now I'm posting blasts from the past. This one, from five years ago, struck me as unbelievably prophetic...and yet still topical in the most twisted of ways!  It anticipated the successful run by Greece's SYRIZA party for control of Parliament, but in describing the predicament of the then ruling coalition, precisely describes the current situation of SYRIZA!  With elections looming on the horizon, I thought this a good time to run it again...while one hand's still tied down.

The Sky is Falling! 

But we all know better than to listen to Chicken Little.  And over in Greece, poor Kotopoulaki is about as welcome as Cassandra.  Okay, enough with the bold literary illusions.  It’s time to move on to reality.  Hmmm, that last line should be re-read at least three times by every soul in Greece officially charged with making sure that gorgeous Greek sky stays up there.

Frankly, anything that gets the Greek bureaucracy to look up from the tops of their shoes would be welcome.  Far too many still spend their time lurking around the dark edges of their land, hoping to find whatever pots of gold remain from those bright rainbow times of the past.

The Coalition Partners, Nea Demokratia & PASOK

Greece’s current government is now a two-party coalition instead of three, and its razor-thin majority margin has gone from electric to blade.  The likely largest vote getting party if new elections were called today is grooming its leader to be the next king.  Excuse me, I shouldn’t say “king” for his party (SYRIZA) is an amalgam of five…or is it four…or is it three…socialist parties (with views ranging from North Korean to Swedish).  Yet, from the way his professional image makers are out there packaging him and his party to the world, I think they’re secretly planning a coronation.

SYRIZA’s leader made his mark saying “no” to whatever the other guy said in trying to deal with the crisis.  If the IMF, EU, the ruling coalition, or any of the demon financiers of the West were for it, he was against it.  That makes it easy to say, “I told you so” now.  Smart politics, especially if one conveniently forgets that he refused an offer to form his own government and lead Greece through its crisis.

The Contender

My guess is he thinks it’s time to take his shot, and I come to that conclusion from such things as the op-ed piece placed in this week’s The New York Times titled, “Only Syriza Can Save Greece” bearing a central message of comfort to the west: “SYRIZA would be a good thing for America and the European Union.”  I wonder how that will play at home, where bashing America has been a political staple of the left since the fall of Greece’s Junta dictatorship in 1974—one of the last Greek governments publicly hailing itself as “good for America.”

Frankly, I don’t care who governs Greece as long as the new government’s very first act is to tear down that plaque which must exist somewhere in the secret recesses of the Parliament bearing this inscription: “All ye who enter here make as much as possible of the situation while you have the chance.”

The Parliament

Yes, there are selfless, dedicated public servants working hard to drive their country through its time of direst need.  But far too often they’re compromised or cutoff by colleagues driven only to help themselves.

The Reporter
The Greek people are not fools, no matter how some of their leaders might regard them.  Word is out, more so everyday.  Bankers who drove the country into its horrid corner are reported as being lavishly rewarded by friends in government (inspired possibly by bankers in the US), and the reporter who exposed a list of highly influential Greeks possibly owing taxes on Swiss bank accounts, suppressed for years by Greece’s Ministry of Finance, led to the prosecution of only one person: the reporter.  That he was found innocent didn’t matter to the prosecutor who has gone after him again.  He has his priorities. (Here’s the reporter’s side of the story.)   

Hello out there, the sky is falling! 

If this government fails, and SYRIZA steps in but things remain the same—frustrating the millions who believed its leader’s rhetoric—waiting in the wings is the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi party aka Golden Dawn, currently with 18 members in Parliament (of 300—not of the Thermopylae sort).  It, too, has packaged itself snappily.  Marketing specialists converted its unvarnished message of hate into nationalistic jingo rhetoric, and PR consultants cower those who dare challenge the parties brutal physical attacks upon “enemies of Greece.”

The Chrysi Avgi Party Symbol
The Party in Parliament
The Party in the streets
All that is necessary for Chrysi Avgi to prevail is for good, fair-minded Greeks to do nothing to demand better of their country.  And should Chrysi Avgi’s day come, Greece will know that the sky has fallen…for the Devil shall be ruling its land.


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