Greece cannot escape the tragedy

Euro-Europe increasingly shows the grimace of dictatorship

by Karl Müller

Pro memoria: Only just a month ago, the Euro Group’s coup-like politico-economic intervention putting the Greek government and the Greek Parliament under duress, ignored a clear popular vote of the Greeks, that was only a week old. Who is still talking about it today?
Now it comes to money. A lot of money. They speak of a new “auxiliary” – or even “rescue” programme for Greece. Nearly 90 billion euros, for which the taxpayer is liable and which are provided to Greece over a period of 3 years – above all to ensure that Greece can pay back old debts and that Greek banks remain solvent.
The German government and the German policy are displaying a critical attitude. Everything is to be scrutinised before the German Parliament can take the vote. The conditions for the Greek people are terrible. For most Greeks everything will get worse than before: more taxes, less government spending, even less pensions, etc... Economically, Greece cannot recover in that way. The new strains are “overwhelming”. Even the former Greek Foreign Minister from the “Nea Dimokratia” party, Dora Bokayannis, says so. But these are not the reasons for the German reservations.
After a night-long debate on 14 August, the Greek parliament approved by “a large majority” – as headlines in foreign media claim – but without a majority in the governing parties. The MPs actually had no time to read the more than 400 pages that came to the vote, let alone to study them thoroughly. But that is obviously the current state of parliamentary democracies in EU-Europe. MPs are compelled to say yes, because otherwise disaster looms. “Without any alternative”, the German Chancellor called these policies, similar to Margaret Thatcher in the 80s of the last century who said about her way towards neoliberal predatory capitalism at that time, “There is no alternative”, briefly: TINA.
Using any means, all thoughts are being directed towards the question of money. Really, we should give that huge sum of money? Can the Greeks ever repay that at all? And … can we trust the Greeks at all? Hardly anyone thinks about the political consequences. And about the poison that is spread ever and again.
On 7 August, the main topic during the Summer Festival of the Hamburg company Kampnagel* was dedicated to Greece (http://www.kampnagel.de/de/programm/this-is-not-greece/). “This is not Greece” was the English title of the panel discussion. The curator of this panel, Margarita Tsoumou, opened the discussion in English: “The Greek was finally portrayed as lazy and greedy. As a ‘swindler’, a ‘fraudster’, ‘a dishonest petty criminal’. And also as an undisciplined schoolchild.” And then she added, “’This is not Greece!’ This is a phantasm. This is a myth. The facts state the opposite! No! This is not Greece!”
Other discutants followed. The German Harald Schumann, for example, who has been a journalist for 32 years with multiple awards, and author of the book “The Global Trap: Globalization and the Assault on prosperity and Democracy” said, “I have been a journalist for 32 years. And in 32 years, I never experienced what has happened with Greece. If someone had told me a year ago, that all German quality media – from the Tages-
schau news to the ‘FAZ’, the ‘Süddeutsche’ and my own newspaper, the ‘Tagesspiegel’ – would violate journalistic standards over a time of several months – in other words, not even in exceptional cases … it happens all the time – continuously violate journalistic standards on a topic, I would have said: ‘Come on, man, let’s not get carried away! We are bad! But we are not that bad!’”
But the mainstream media were so “bad.” “Estimated critical colleagues suddenly forgot about their nuanced view of things, had sneaked out and had adopted the German government’s view on the crisis one to one”, Schumann is cited by Deutschlandradio Kultur on 7 August.
Why?
Because it was wanted! Truth, justice and democracy as a benchmark were ignored. In the battle for power against the new Greek government and against the Greek people, but also in the battle for power within the Euro Group and the EU they all bared and revealed their grimace of dictatorship. With an eye toward the media, this was called “Gleichschaltung” in former times. How far are we away from that?
“Tragedy” was what the ancient Greeks called dramatic actions in which the hubris led to a deep, inescapable fall of the “hero” or “heroes”, ordained by the gods. The tragedy of Greece humiliates and disenfranchises the Greeks, violates their dignity and forces them into poverty and misery. However, this hubris can be found in the governments of other euro countries, as well. And there isn’t any God who want that. There are other forces behind. And … the crash would not be inevitable. Today people can take their destinies into their own hands. However, they must want to.    •

*    In 1984 the former Hamburg crane factory Kampnagel was transformed into a stage complex that can be used for the most diverse events. It now comprises six stages, a cinema, nine rehearsal rooms and a restaurant. Kampnagel is Germany’s largest free performing and producing facility and one of the most important international platforms for Performing Arts. The events that are held annually include the setting for several weeks of Summer Festival, which has around 150,000 visitors and always includes sociopolitical topics. The international summer festival is sponsored by numerous public institutions and private sponsors. For details visit: www.kampnagel.de