Posts tagged ‘Greek politics’

To pay or not to pay – Greeks paraphrase Hamlet

There are many Greeks from abroad as well as foreigners who criticize the attitude of Greek society to refuse to pay taxes. It may seem incomprehensible to citizens of other countries who see their taxes produce schools, hospitals, health care, old age care, infrastructure and all these amenities that reward a good citizen,  that we refuse to pay taxes or excel at tax evasion. Coming from a different country I was also surprised at first. But, when one starts listening to the simple people’s suffering due to the inefficiency of the state administration, when one sees the misery state indifference causes it becomes very hard not to commiserate.

Why pay taxes when the only hospital in Ikaria, a north Aegean island,  (built with money sent by the Ikariotes abroad and not by any government) is closing down?

Why pay taxes when the port in Othonoi, a small island near Corfu, is not usable and the fishermen lose their boats every now and then when the sea recedes.

Why pay taxes when, in today’s situation, scandals break out, with bankers lending money to their friends who in turn never return them and disappear.

Why pay taxes when one of the main road arteries, linking Corinth to Patras, is proclaimed death row and the tolls are exorbitant.

Why pay taxes when buses in Athens have no regular timetable and sometimes take as long as forty minutes to appear..

For those of you who can understand Greek I suggest you watch Mr. Manessis programe “60 minutes of Greece” on Alfa tv

to learn how Greece survives outside Athens.

I do not claim that Greek society is innocent of all blame. We are guilty of having allowed politicians of the parties that have ruled the country to govern us without interference and without control. We are guilty of being naïve, gullible and easily led.

The main deficit in Greece is good governance. Till then I cannot, in good conscience, blame anyone for not paying taxes….

Tsipras probe into submarines deal “shakes” the unity of the two–party Greek government


Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA President, announced his intention to ask for a probe into a submarine deal signed in 2010 and which he claims has “an aroma of scandal”. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, present Chairman of PASOK and vice-chairman of the present Greek government was the minister of defence when the disputed deal was signed.

The bad feeling between Venizelos and Minister of Defence Avramopoulos resulted from the latter’s reply to Tsipras that this government has nothing to fear and that whatever “underhanded business” is of an earlier date.

Venizelos took this as a personal affront from Avramopoulos and replied, during the Parliament discussion that ensued, that it is not  a Minister’s job  to” describe situations. Neither are they there to play the good guy to the opposition but to bear responsibility and bring results”.


The Prime Minister’s office took no sides and in spite of Avramopoulos’ clarification that he was referring to the Tsohatzopoulos’case,  Venizelos continues to feed the feud. The PASOK press office released to day a letter sent to Avramopoulos the day before the Parliamentary discussion giving him “directions” on how to deal with Tsipras accusations.

Golden Dawn leaders arrested this morning

Golden Dawn President arrested this morning

Golden Dawn President arrested this morning

Mihalis Mihaloliakos, Golden Dawn President, was arrested this morning together with the party’s Parliament speaker George Kassidiaris.

The two arrests came as a climax after a police probe into the far-right, nazi party’s activities.

It is extremely disturbing that the probe, ordered at the highest level, came only after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas in a working class suburb in Piraeus. Several accusations for assault against immigrants and gays have gone unnoticed; the attack, on television, against Greek Communist party and SYRIZA MPs, the siege and subsequent closing down of a progressive theater in central Athens have had no repercussions on the party or its leaders. One of the Nikaia doctors, where Pavlos Fyssas body was taken,  said to reporters that he has had to take care of many immigrants who had been similarly attacked but by less “experienced” killers.

This mild treatment by both the state and the mass media emboldened the members of the party and led to the murder of the anti-fascist, rapper musician.

Massive rally in progress in Athens center

A general strike of the private and public sectors is taking place today. A demonstration has also been called and is in progress as I write. 

The murder of the young antifascist activist, Pavlos Fyssas, has caused an additional rally for this evening together with a music concert outside the Polytechnic School on Patission street.


Greek government discards its last rag of democracy

The tripartite Greek government has managed to lose its one partner who had exhibited traces of democratic and social sensitivity. Democratic Left, a split of Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology (SYNASPISMOS), has retired from the government and recalled its two Ministers and one deputy minister.

Mainstream media journalists were wondering why Democratic Left has “deserted” the government over the ERT (Greek Radio and Television) shut down. They conveniently forget that less than a month ago New Democracy -the right wing major government partner – rejected, not elegantly, the antiracist law tabled by Democratic Left Minister of Justice Antonis Roupakiotis. At the same time heavy criticism was addressed to the other Democratic Left Minister, Prof. Manitakis.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos decided to carry on with what he calls “responsible” stance and remains in the government after Prime Minister Samaras promised to evaluate and re-draw the government plans.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Economy which has been appointed as the ERT manager until its “restructure”,  has asked for the evacuation of the ERT headquarters. The employees’ reply was a call to everyone who opposes this scheme to guard the grounds and for Sunday the 26th to be international mobilisation day against the closing down of ERT. The ERT Mansion in Agia Paraskevi is run by the ERT employees with the support of thousands of union members, artists who have worked for ERT, supporters of the National Radio and Television network and other citizens shocked by the abrupt closing down of the state run company.


Friday night found thousands watching Vassilis Papakonstantinou, top rock performer, giving a free concert in the ERT gardens and members of the Actors’ Union reading poems and performing impromptu monologues, opera singers singing arias and a special song dedicated to the Taksim demonstrators.




Still in critical condition the three Greek students

Demonstration in front of the Greek Parliament.

Demonstration in front of the Greek Parliament.

The post mortem examination of the two Greek college students who were found dead in Larissa yesterday revealed that their death was due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. According to their landlady, who spoke to Antenna tv station, they had told her that they could not afford heating oil and would try to find other means to warm their apartment. The make shift “heater” is the cause of this tragedy. The other three students are still in a critical condition and the people of Larissa are still shocked.

The incident fuelled the anger of the people against the government which has stolidly refused to reduce the price of heating oil in spite of the bad weather and of course financial condition of most households. Demonstrations were organized by students’associations in many Greek towns.

According to TVXS the Athens Medical Association has called on Mr. John Stournaras, Finance Minister, to change his politics which has turned heating to a luxury item. “Cheap” solutions cost dear in human lives.

SYRIZA, Coalition of Radical Left, has issued a statement claiming that they had issued warnings to the government about the repercussions of expensive electricity and heating oil which not only ignored them but also accused the left wing opposition party of being populist.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Independent Greeks party also accuse the government of being blind to the needs of Greek society and servile towards its lenders.

Two students dead and three in critical condition in Larisa, central Greece


The beginning of spring was marred today by the news of the death of two college students in Larissa. The group of five college students had lit up a make shift barbeque in the yard and moved it into their flat to keep themselves warm. A fellow student found them in a comatose state. Two were already dead and another three are hospitalized in critical condition.

The citizens of Larisa demonstrated in the streets together with students and lit candles in front of the students’ house. One of the slogans was “this is not a tragedy – it’s murder” because one of the central problems faced in Greece is the price of heating oil. Students living away from home suffer the results of the financial crisis manifold.