- Posted May 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What does it mean to be Greek?
Being Greek, being puzzled
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
So,here we are, on the verge of being kicked out of the eurozone. Everyone on this planet has his saying,often judgemental and full of hate "Greeks deserve what they get","let them rot","they have been living beyond their means for too long", "they're enjoying ouzo under the sun" etc.The problem is that there is more than meets the eye.
First of all, no one denies the fact that we have been living beyond our means for some time. But why? Banks were freely giving away credit cards and loans,the prime ministers assured us that we are on prosperity mode, unemployment rates were low and everything was under control.Then the euro came.The cost of living got a bit higher.And after that the olympic games' spending spree.The first alerts were ignored. 2008,the financial crisis plagues most countries.In Greece the motto is: There is money,don't worry.The next year,the man who said that phrase, announced that the greek debt was huge and that we needed help from the IMF and the eurozone.And that's how it all started.
The first memorandum was introduced and approved by the parliament.But wait a minute.Who gave mr Papandreou the legitimacy needed to introduce and impose such laws? No one.Voices asking for auditing the debt and punishing the politicals who had been misleading the society for so many years were finally heard.But noone would listen.Prices got a bit more higher.Shops started to close and the unemployment rates got higher.The IMF representatives interfered in all national affairs,like they were the ultimate rulers imposing cuts on education, health and salaries.The Greek Constitution was skipped in many cases and it was clearly visible that the sovereignty was handed over to them.Massive riots and protests were held and voices for auditing the debt got louder.But what we got was the constant blackmail that we needed the installments, otherwise the country would default immediately.
Further cuts on health and education.New taxes were introduced to everything,and yet not a single word about growth.The unemployment skyrocketed and the cost of living became unbearable.Then,right in the middle of winter a new law was imposed.All the house owners have to pay a tax (500-3000 euros) through their electricity bills,otherwise the government would cut off the power supply! May 2012: three memorandi later: The wages have been cut up to 35% and in some cases 45%.The unemployment rates are higher than ever,the suicide rates are also getting higher and there is no governenment to guarantee that the country will eventually get better.The EU's austerity policy has clearly failed and the matter of a eurozone break up is visible. Unfortunately, people are considered to be figures on statistic papers, and the whole humanitarian perspective of the EU has been put aside. The question that urges for an answer through a referendum is not about Greece's staying within the eurozone; It's about whether Europe has lost its path or not.
So, how it really feels to be Greek right now? Puzzled, deceived, vain, betrayed, unwanted, bankrupted.