Moral Corruption in the European Union -- and Greece

05/28/2017 07:22 pm ET
Graffiti mars the Academy of Athens. Photo: Evaggelos Vallianatos.

The Greek debt crisis is a symptom of moral decline not merely among Greek politicians but among members of the ruling class of the European Union. Unprincipled Greek politicians, educated in American and European universities, and unethical EU bankers built the bridges to excessive Greek debt.

The vision of these power elites is luxury. You walk through the airports of Athens and Rome, as I walked through them in May 2017, and what do you see? You see throngs of elderly and largely ugly and fat travellers moving from one airplane to another. Second, you get the impression the whole world is gorgeous women advertising expensive clothes and jewelry. It’s as if nothing else matters.

In the world of culture, EU and American academics keep killing Homer. They keep finding problems with our Greek inheritance of democracy, science, and technology while they study fads of gender, transgender, homosexuality and non-Western cultures. Similarly, and even more obscenely, Greek academics and politicians downgrade Greek civilization, now rewriting Greek history to accommodate their Turkish enemies, now making the teaching of ancient Greek language elective, now threatening the abolition of the teaching of Greek mythology and history in Greek schools.

In addition to this hostile act against Greek identity, the Tsipras administration is dishing out crude versions of globalization: Greece has no borders; lets embrace our Moslem brothers and sisters, but god forbid that we are Greeks.

Watch Greek TV and you are in the banality of materialism and monkey imitation of American soap operas and advertisements. The “news” usually rehashes bitter discussions on debt and the EU “memoranda” of shame, which Greek politicians approved. These memos in vain order the Greek political class to shape up or shut up. But they suffice in the legitimization of numerous and intolerable taxes to the middle and lower classes, and the selling to foreign buyers of all the assets of Greece: ports, airports, railroads, electricity, telephone, water, and beautiful beaches all over the country.

No one really knows what is going on between EU and the Greek government. Most politicians lie. They cover their privileged position with meaningless rhetoric on their claims to truth, but refuse to cooperate with politicians of other parties or form a no-party inclusive government. With some exceptions, listening to Greek politicians one sees no light at the end of the debt tunnel.

Meanwhile, on a personal level, the suffering continues: less money, huge unemployment, smaller pensions are slowly pushing Greeks into more and more poverty. Some, or probably most, are resigned to their impoverishment. Others hope beyond hope that army generals take over the government for the restoration of order, pride, and likely economic prosperity. Underneath such wild hopes there’s deep anger.

Some Greeks want the debt politicians dead. In other words, they hope army generals would shoot all politicians responsible for the huge debt. They long for the return of sovereignty to Greece. And they want to abandon the EU.

Yet, tourism, waves of visiting money-spending foreigners, hides the social and political divisions of Greece. The country is gorgeous: You look at beaches and you see the water, crystal-clear, and the sand or small pebbles at the bottom of the sea. The view is irresistible. The blue water goes on forever, lapping the shore. And next to this attractive prospect for swimming, there are countless trees hugging the beaches and offering shade and beauty. This lush natural world joins tourism in covering up the boiling anger and unacceptable accommodation Greeks have made to debt and its humiliating consequences.

Walk the streets of downtown Athens, and especially those near the Acropolis, and you will not see the effects of “austerity.” You will see, instead, countless people and cars going nowhere and everywhere. The streets host a few beggars. The underground Metro runs efficiently and on time.

The pain takes time and effort to surface. The Tsipras administration, the leftist darlings of the EU, is sinking the country back to dark ages. It is attacking Greek culture. The universities are becoming refuses for anarchists and possibly criminals. Professors are scared. With no money for research, outstanding students and graduates are leaving in droves: the picture becomes bleak.

Second, the Tsipras administration is also stacking the courts with leftist judges. Prosecutors of political crimes are afraid to bring the criminals to justice because they have no police support and protection. Parents and lawyers hesitate to sue the government’s anti-Greek education measures like the probable abolition of teaching Greek mythology and history in the public schools. This climate of fear boosts arbitrary and capricious policies that harm the rule of law and Greek education and culture.

After eight years of collective punishment for the crimes of a few politicians, time has come for the EU to rethink its failing colonial approach towards Greece. Start punishing the guilty (in Greece and EU) and give a chance to the Greeks to repay their debt. Invest in Greece so working Greeks can pay back what they own.

Looting the archaeological sites for debt repayment is or should become a sacrilege. I was visiting the Olympieion, the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus in Athens. This is one of the most important temples in Greece and, definitely, the most ancient. Deukalion, founding father of the Greeks, was the son of the Titan god Prometheus. He started the temple of the Olympian Zeus in pre-historic times to thank Zeus for saving his life and ending the great flood. Peisistratos the Younger restarted the construction of the temple in 515 BCE. However, the rebuilding of the giant temple lasted for several centuries until Emperor Hadrian completed it in early second century.

During my visit to this great temple I learned that the tourist euros from the Olympieion and from other archaeological sites all over Greece end up in the Ministry of Economics, which then sends them to the European Central Bank.

What a shame!

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