“I (WE) DO NOT IN ANY WAY DESERVE TO BECOME IMPOVERISHED AND REDUCED TO A FIGURE IN THE STATEMENTS OF SOME BANK OR TRUST. Got it?”

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On Tuesday William Wall’s recent article on Greece, This shameful sacrifice of Greece to the gods of the market, was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site as part of the Guardian Comment Network (having already appeared on Critical Legal Thinking which is part of that Network).

The article generated a huge number of comments, many of which used the article to once again repeat the line used too often that the Greek people deserve the level of depravation being forced upon them because of their past profligacy. The following comment from a Greek citizen, however, stood out as a clear response to that, and it was so good that I felt the need to share it more widely.

Dear Mr Wall

I am Greek, I am 38 years old and I have two little children. I live this hell you are describing (and that so many of your readers/commentators believe is justified, earned, acceptable, required by the EU, capitalism, “free market”, greek over-borrowing etc, etc, etc….). I have paid all my taxes all my life, I have served my country as a soldier for 18 months (all the while paying *myself* for the expenses, without any income; how many of you have done this I wonder…), I have obeyed all its laws, never accepted or given a bribe, I have contributed to the productivity of the country by making products you are even now using/eating.

I am not the only one in this country doing all that. AND I (WE) DO NOT IN ANY WAY DESERVE TO BECOME IMPOVERISHED AND REDUCED TO A FIGURE IN THE STATEMENTS OF SOME BANK OR TRUST. Got it?

This is the first time I ever write a comment to an article I read on the Internet (I have more important things to do with my time, including trying to make a living that so many of your readers seem to take for granted, thanks to the god-blessed free market times we are living), but the indignation of reading so many inhuman, cruel comments, stating “scientific”, financial terms, expert opinions, and well conceived banking reasons for starving and driving a people to a bleak future, is choking me. I do not make riots, I do not burn buildings, I just write a small comment. Maybe I deserve what is happening to me after all.

I should not be surprised. This is the same people/way of thinking that have driven South America, South Africa, even many millions in the US, the UK, and Russia to their knees and even their deaths. These are the Hitlers and the Stalins of our times (make no mistake). Humanity, solidarity, democracy, fraternity, compassion and many other such VALUES have been extinguished in our times. All that matters now is money. Simple as that.

I hope you enjoy it. It will not give you fulfillment and prosperity, I promise you. I am more happy with the precious few I have, than you with your anxiety for more, and your emptiness of spending. What I do not tolerate (really!) is for goverments, “institutions”, the press and people to be mocking me in my face and telling me that I deserve what I get. Please spare me the lessons…

Thank you for this article.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com
 

6 Responses

  1. CMK

    February 15, 2012 10:14 pm

    Thanks for publishing this. I waded through three pages of the comments on The Guardian site before giving up as, well, there’s only so much misanthropy, harshness, misplaced Schadenfreunde that a sane individual can take. When the UK debt bubble goes ‘Pop!’ some of those taking an unnecessarily harsh stance towards the Greeks will regret their current views.

  2. LeftAtTheCross

    February 16, 2012 10:33 am

    Snap CMK, I gave up reading the comments. It’s frightening how the children of Thatcher’s Britain have turned their back on social solidarity, taking into account that it’s the comments section of The Guardian, a newspaper with an allegedly progressive readership.

  3. Anne B Ryan

    February 16, 2012 4:38 pm

    Dan O’Brien of the Irish Times recently pointed out that the bond markets lent at the same low rates to high-debt countries like Greece and Italy,as they did to low-debt countries like Germany and Luxembourg. The lenders are supposed to assess the risk accurately, but they mis-priced it completely. And now they think it’s right that the citizens pay for their ineptitude.

  4. Donal

    February 17, 2012 3:56 pm

    In a world where watching Newsnight a couple of times a week qualifies you as an expert in Greek social and economic history this level of ignorance is to be expected.

    Some of the comments are just clarksonesque however…

    “Well I dont know about you, but then next time I’ve drunk my tastebuds into submission, I’m going to show my solidarity with the oppressed public service workers of Greece by buying a kebab, rather than a burger, bratwurst, pizza or pint of winkles, as a late night snack. The only problem is my local kebab shop is run by Turkish Cypriots, but it’s the thought that counts, and I feel it would be a gesture in keeping with the logic of this article”

    Of course having rarely watched top gear i’m probably not qualified to judge the level of social and economic debate in Britain at the moment.

  5. vincent wood

    February 20, 2012 10:21 pm

    A few observations. The Guardian/Observer site is haunted by right wing trolls, so not surprised by the level of ‘you deserve it/caused it’ commentary. More importantly, the opportunity used here for us to spread the word of an ordinary citizens as against what passes for comentary from the meeja.