By Michael Nevradakis
The nationwide inferiority complex in Greece is still going strong. For the past three and a half years that I’ve been in Greece, what I continuously observe, to my dismay, is how much people believe that everything is better and more just and more meritocratic overseas, anywhere else except Greece, and how in other supposedly civilized countries, there is no such thing as corruption, of politicians and the rich getting away with crimes, while it is believed that everyone supposedly has an equal opportunity to succeed. I feel that in Greece and in Greek society today there is a tremendous amount of self-loathing, mediocrity and defeatism, with many Greeks having simply given up and resigned themselves to their fates and the fate of their country. But even if they have not given up completely, when you believe that you are the worst in everything and the most corrupt, this, even subconsciously, keeps you down. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a type of thinking that takes away any positive energy that one might have and any semblance of hope. And unfortunately, this is a mentality that is promoted in everything from Greece’s major media outlets to its education system.
In circumstances like this, it follows that many citizens will seek out any light at the end of the tunnel, a savior who will come in and turn the situation around magically and make things better. This is true not just in Greece but everywhere. The problem though is when we get swept up by big and lofty promises and then come up with excuses when those promises are not fulfilled or are flat-out contradicted in practice. This was certainly the case with SYRIZA and the signs were there well before the January 2015 elections when it came to power, foreshadowing the full 180 degree turn that they would finally take once in power. The signs were there and we were warning about them here on Dialogos Radio, but few people cared to listen.
I believe that as citizens, we need to be active and engaged citizens. And above all, we need to expect and demand something more than just empty words. We need to demand and to expect action, and not to come up with excuse after excuse each time these promises are violated or contradicted. And the worst of all is when, having been duped once, we fall for the same empty promises again…and again…and again. We need to demand actions and not to excuse away any inactions or contradictions when they take place. Otherwise, with such a mentality, we simply enable the political system and politicians to continue playing the same game that they’ve been playing for so long, fooling the public. This occurs because we allow it to occur, and it is up to us to stop it. We need to cease believing in big, empty words and we need to stand up and do what’s right for our lives and our futures. This is particularly true in Greece. And this is not going to take place simply by casting a ballot, or by going on a 24 hour strike once in a blue moon.
Otherwise, we will see the same theater of the absurd playing before our eyes again and again, without end. We are seeing this happen right now with the oh so leftist SYRIZA government in Greece, which at one time had been promising that it would halt the privatization of Greece’s airports, but which just last week sold them off to a German company, Fraport, for a total of €1 per passenger per year. The same thing took place just a few days ago with Greece’s four major banks, which were recapitalized and sold off for a mere sum of €740 million, with international financial vultures such as George Soros and John Paulson, the mauler of Argentina, coming in and grabbing a share. We heard the Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a product of Britain’s most elite schools and someone who can barely even speak Greek, say that the government did not have time to go after the rich tax evaders. The government did, however, have time to send 13 police officers after an 80 year old man selling roasted chestnuts on the street just the other day, confiscating his cart in the process and sentencing him to a six month suspended jail sentence. The same government that prior to its initial election had promised to go after the oligarchs decided instead to go after 80 year olds selling chestnuts, all the while it wrote off the loans of Mega Channel, one of Greece’s largest private television stations and a vociferous supporter of austerity, until the year 2021.
For the past five-plus years, through our broadcasts here at Dialogos Radio, we have tried to present viewpoints and facts that are not heard in most major media, certainly not in the major Greek media, and certainly not in the major international media, including the inexcusable Time Magazine, which named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as person of the year, or NPR, whose coverage on Greece has been embarrassingly misinformed and biased. One thing that is often heard is that Greece has been, quote, “bailed out” and that it has no choice but to accept the, quote, “bitter medicine” of austerity and to enforce, quote, “much-needed reforms.” We keep hearing that no one has presented any alternative plans or solutions. And yet, there are alternatives and there are solutions. We have featured in the past here on Dialogos Radio interviews with the likes of Greg Palast, the investigative journalist who was among the first to expose the dirty role of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and who has for years been urging Greece to leave the Eurozone, which was designed, as he found out, to dismantle and destroy the European social state. We’ve featured economist Warren Mosler, who presented a detailed plan for how Greece could return to its own domestic currency and avoid a catastrophic devaluation, discussing what steps Greece could take to instead ensure that its new currency would be strong and stable. We’ve featured Roger Bootle, who won the second most prestigious prize in economics, the Wolfson Prize, for his detailed plan regarding how any Eurozone member could depart from the euro in an orderly fashion. We’ve featured Greek economists such as Dimitris Kazakis and Leonidas Vatikiotis who have presented detailed plans and solutions of their own. It is therefore a myth and a lie, when economists such as Yanis Varoufakis, who merely pretends to be anti-austerity, come out and say that there is no alternative, in the words of Margaret Thatcher.
And yet, these solutions and these ideas are never heard in the major media outlets, either in Greece or internationally, media outlets which have proven time and time again how unreliable and lacking in credibility they are and which interests they actually serve. I mentioned a moment ago the need for us to be active and engaged citizens. This doesn’t just happen at the ballot box. And with that, I will wrap up this last commentary of 2015 with a proposal for Greeks and the Greeks of the diaspora: turn off the major Greek TV stations. Cancel your satellite subscriptions to these channels. Don’t give them money. Stop reading their newspapers, stop listening to their radio stations, stop visiting their websites. They are a cancer which must be stopped. There are other, credible, alternative sources of information. Do the research and find them. Speak to your families, your neighbors, your friends, learn about their problems and discuss solutions. Boycott the major mass media, don’t let them be a part of your lives in 2016 and beyond, and hit back at them in a language that they understand: hitting their wallets.