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Thread: Ο κόκκινος φάκελος

  1. #11
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    No the article was not from The Daily Mail, it was from some soapbox orator whose ranting was deeply offensive to me, let alone to colleagues. He finishes his rant thus:-
    "Greece is great but only for holidays. Try actually living there for 6 months and you'll understand. The people are not as kind as you think, in reality they are rude, racist and lazy. Food is great but that is if you have money to eat, as the economy of the country is destroyed. But the main reason I believe Greece is an awful country to live at is that in this country you can't have dreams. Whatever dream you have is going to crumble on the floor as this country can not support it. That's why anyone who has dreams, wants a future, wants to be someone gets out here, out of this hell. Personally when I think of Greece instead of a paradise a prison comes to my mind cause to me that's what Greece is, a prison. A prison that has destroyed my dreams and hopes and has confined me in it. A prison that I have no chance getting out off. Tourists and outsiders may not be able to see it but this country has been rotting, it has been rotting for years and now slowly but surely it's dying and together with the country we are dying too.
    I am dying too. With lots of respect from a person with no tomorrow. From a person that lives in Greece."

    It is bitter, unbalanced &, most of all, unworthy from a dying man. Does he want to be remembered thus?!
    I admit that I was acting as the Devil's advocate and, in fact, I am at present seeking to understand the Greek political scene. Perhaps I might have acted less abrasively. For I have often had to defend Greece from her British detractors over & over again by those who see her as only a cheap holiday resort where they can inflict their barbaric manners on the tolerant locals and convert beautiful places into outposts of British barbarity & build them in their own image.
    I point out the roots of the present political situation in Greece to friends who have the sort of historical amnesia that is now so common in the U.K.: the Turkish occupation, the mainly communist resistance to the Nazis in WWII, the shameful part that The Allies & Churchill through General Scobie played in the Greek Civil War in supporting the right wing establishment, ultimately leading to the Junta. How the courage of the Communists and the men & women who resisted the political regime led to the Greek Dachau in Makronisos. And so on.
    Thanks to the good doctor-- I wish he had written about the UK in Greek to help me!!--, to Palαύρα, and, of course, to SBE, who has experience of both cultures. Contrary to what may have seemed outrageous on my part to Greek colleagues, I am not so bewitched by such facile generalisations about Greece as the above. Some of the trouble that UK (educated people) have about Greece arises from the misty-eyed, romantic picture of Greece which a Classical education tends to inculcate. A better knowledge of Classical culture & civilisation would disabuse these people of such a notion.
    Thanks to present day Greeks for their ready help!

    PS: A personal note. Whenever I have taken school parties to Greece & by trying to speak in modern Greek have gone beyond the role of the tour organiser or the tourist visitor, I have in all cases been invited by the hotel owner or the owner of the 'villas' where we stayed & been entertained very hospitably and chatted about religion & politics over a (free) bottle of retsina, wine, ouzo or raki. Also I have even been taken to meet other Greek people in their homes. One dear old lady in Delphi 'adopted' me & showered presents of food & drink on me, simply, it seems, because I was interested in much more than the tourist 'sites'.

  2. #12
    HandyMod drsiebenmal's Avatar
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    Θησέα, μιλώντας σε γενικές γραμμές, η κατανόηση της σύγχρονης ελληνικής πολιτικής ιστορίας ξεκινάει με το Διχασμό του 1915 που έφερε τις πρώτες εμφύλιες πολιτικές διαμάχες ανάμεσα στους Έλληνες της Παλιάς Ελλάδας (σύνορα μέχρι το 1912) και των «Νέων Χωρών». Η φάση αυτή κορυφώθηκε με την καταστροφή του 1922. Η καταστροφή του 1922 έφερε πόλωση και εχθροπάθεια και μίσος μεταξύ Ελλήνων της Παλιάς Ελλάδας και Προσφύγων, με μπαλαντέρ τους Έλληνες των Νέων Χωρών (ανάλογα με την οικονομική τους κατάσταση) και αστάθεια και δικτατορίες και πραξικοπήματα... Όταν η κατάσταση είχε αρχίσει να ισορροπεί κάπως, ήρθε το Μεγάλο Κραχ που διέλυσε την επεκτατική οικονομική πολιτική του Βενιζέλου. Ακολούθησε πάλι αστάθεια και τελικά η κυβέρνηση Μεταξά που γρήγορα μετατράπηκε σε βασιλευόμενη δικτατορία. Μετά ο πόλεμος, η κατοχή, ο εμφύλιος 1945-1949 (άλλοι ιστορικοί αρχίζουν από το 1943) και περισσότερο μίσος, η νικήτρια αλλά ρεβανσιστική Δεξιά, η ηττημένη Αριστερά που έθεσε το όπλο παρά πόδα αλλά τραγουδήθηκε και υμνήθηκε σαν ηθική νικήτρια, 15 χρόνια εκρηκτική ανασυγκρότηση, δικτατορία, καταστροφή της Κύπρου, Μεταπολίτευση.

    Το ελληνικό κράτος, οι άνθρωποι, η πολιτεία, έκαναν έναν τρελό αγώνα οικονομικού δρόμου μέσα σε μια ζωή, σε δυο γενιές: από τα ερείπια του 1950 στη χώρα των Ολυμπιακών του 2004. Δεν έχει προλάβει η κοινωνία να συντονιστεί με τις εξελίξεις, ήρθε η κρίση το 2007 (για εμένα, άλλοι αρχίζουν να μετράνε από το 2009 ή αργότερα) και η χώρα βρίσκεται σε διαρκή παραζάλη. Δεν έχει ακόμη επεξεργαστεί συλλογικά το γιγάντιο μεταπολεμικό της άλμα (και ιδίως μετά τη δικτατορία και στα πλαίσια της ΕΕ), δεν έχει συνειδητοποιήσει τι πήγε στραβά και πώς και γιατί τελικά κατέρρευσε αυτό το λαμπρό αλλά σαθρό κατασκεύασμα.

    Κάποια πράγματα χρειάζονται τον χρόνο τους.
    Wer die Wahrheit nicht weiß, der ist bloß ein Dummkopf. Aber wer sie weiß, und sie eine Lüge nennt, der ist ein Verbrecher!
    We base decisions on facts, not superstition, not what our ideology tells us but rather what we can observe

    δεῖ δὲ χρημάτων, καὶ ἄνευ τούτων οὐδὲν ἔστι γενέσθαι τῶν δεόντων
    Η Ελλάδα είναι Ευρώπη, η Ευρώπη είναι Ελλάδα!

  3. #13
    Mod Almighty Palavra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseus View Post
    For I have often had to defend Greece from her British detractors over & over again by those who see her as only a cheap holiday resort where they can inflict their barbaric manners on the tolerant locals and convert beautiful places into outposts of British barbarity & build them in their own image.
    I really can't understand why a British person would speak badly about Greece (or Spain, or any other country of the European South, for that matter); the UK is not the empire on which the sun never sets anymore, and unless its people rethink their unfortunate decision to exit the EU, it will soon be much poorer. Moreover, British tourists tend to be of a particularly bad quality: they get dead drunk, cause scenes, are arrested, and very often also commit insurance fraud by filing false insurance claims for theft, food poisoning and the like.

    This is how most Greeks would probably describe the average British tourist or, I should say, the average English tourist, because we don't use the term British in every day speech. I'd also say that the Irish, Welsh or Scottish people are not generally thought of in such a bad light.

    I believe I've inserted quite a few innocent-looking inflammatory remarks in the above analysis; I do hope that my point is not lost.
    The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".
    -Isaak Asimov

  4. #14
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks, Dr, for those illuminating comments about the Greek Civil War & its aftermath. I have ordered a book on the history of modern Greece & I wait with enthusiasm to receive & read it.
    Thanks also to Palαύρα. One or two comments about the above: at the time the so-called British Empire was at its height (the phrase 'on which the sun never sets' goes back to 1829 but seems to have become a political election slogan, used by Imperialists in 1899). But the realisation of the inevitable decline of the 'British Empire' was seen by Kipling. [By the way, The only use of the term 'empress' was used by Disraeli was first applied to India in 1876 to make Queen Victoria Empress, although it is clear that the title was opportunistic, in that it gained him and his party favour with the Queen, & simultaneously asserted British control of India & to warn the Russians off any pretensions there]. But Kipling, now branded a 'racist', wrote in 1897 in his hymn Recessional:-
    Far-called, our navies melt away;
    On dune and headland sinks the fire:
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!
    As for Brexit, much has been written in the British Press, popularist or educated, about the PIGs countries & their economic poverty. Hence our interest. But England has long been divided into the poor North & the prosperous South, centred on London. Those who voted for Brexit (& more turned out to vote in this referendum than at any time in our political history) felt neglected & did not feel any of the benefits of the wealth that has poured into London & the Home Counties. To the Brexit voters, The European Community seems to consist of a wealthy Germany & France & the rest, with a vast & unelected expensive bureaucracy. It seems to be no coincidence that the chief negotiator, Barnier, is French.
    As for Scotland & Wales, the latter considers itself as British, while 84% of the former say they are Scottish. I, who lived in Scotland for many years of my life, experienced a great deal of blatant racism, even though I can speak & understand a lot of Gaelic. I was English: that branded me indelibly. But can you imagine any party in England calling itself 'The English National Party'! The very idea is unthinkable! Bound to be 'racist'.
    I entirely agree with you about the English abroad. They are a disgrace. Young people who have been there have told me how they partied, got pissed & really enjoyed themselves!! But the real trouble arises from the fact that Scotland is proud of its roots & history; Wales too. But England? We are British, multi-cultural, & discouraged from having any national identity. We are scared & our identity now is either a horrible nationalism or ignorant yobbery. We have become uncivilised.

  5. #15
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    "Greece is great but only for holidays. Try actually living there for 6 months and you'll understand.
    That is a Greek person speaking.

    Food is great but that is if you have money to eat
    Definitely a Greek person. British people don't talk about αν έχεις λεφτά να φας.

    A prison that has destroyed my dreams and hopes and has confined me in it.
    So, someone who lives in Greece and cannot leave, possibly because of family commitments (usually parents that are in their late 50s and 60s but behave like they are 90 and expect their children to stay close and be dependent on them for ever). An arrangement that worked well for some time, when there was enough money to go around, but has become troublesome nowadays.

    it's dying and together with the country we are dying too.
    Let me introduce you to a Greek literary work of a similar title...


    I am dying too. With lots of respect from a person with no tomorrow
    He is not saying he is terminally ill. He is saying that he has no future because the country is the way it is.
    Actually Theseus, the whole rant, especially the latter piece, is typical of the things one hears a lot since the beginning of the financial crisis. It's a kind of rhetoric that has been around for some time (see book above, published in 1978, and others), but you hear it more often nowadays.

    I am at present seeking to understand the Greek political scene.
    The Greek political scene consists of a centre left party that governed Greece for most of the time since 1974, which like most big parties offered shelter to an assortment of ideologies and opportunists. The opportunists abandoned ship when the financial crisis turned the voters against the parties they considered responsible for it, and joined a small left party, itself a splinter of the KKE, and helped bring it to power. That's the party that currently governs Greece. The original party is now too small and consumed in its own problems to be of any consequence.
    It also consists of a centre right party that is also sheltering opportunists and loonies, and which now suffers from a major dilemma: ditch the opportunists and never get close to power or keep them and lose moderate voters? I'm afraid in Greek politics there is no choice: the majority of voters really want no change. They want to be reassured that there will be ρουσφέτια for ever, and that they will be able να διοριστούν στο δημόσιο. And they will vote for whoever maintains the status quo. As seen by the policies and politics of the current government.
    There's KKE, which I think is still around because it is a very well organised and very wealthy political party but its supporter base is shrinking because the old comrades are dying. Being very far from power, they can say whatever they like and I sometimes I find myself agreeing with them, believe it or not. Despite never achieving the 17% that I remember them talk about, they have been the most successful political party in Greece. They managed to convince everyone (including you, Theseus) that they were the romantic heroes who fought valiantly for a noble cause etc etc. And that has not helped heal the social and political rifts in Greek society.
    And there is also an assortment of fruitcake parties, some damaging because they are close to power, some of no consequence.
    I don't know if that answers your question.

    where we stayed & been entertained very hospitably and chatted about religion & politics over a (free) bottle of retsina, wine, ouzo or raki. Also I have even been taken to meet other Greek people in their homes.
    Oι Έλληνες ήταν πάντα ξενομανείς και δουλοπρεπείς. Αν ο ξένος είναι από δυτική χώρα.
    Αν πήγαινε από εκέι κανένας Έλληνας διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένος πανεπιστημιακός π.χ. με ειδικότητα religion and politics θα λέγανε έλα μωρέ, τί ξέρει να πει κι αυτός τώρα.

  6. #16
    Administrator nickel's Avatar
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    Αυτές τις μέρες προσπάθησα να απομακρυνθώ από την ελληνική πραγματικότητα διαβάζοντας όσο γινόταν λιγότερα για τις τραγικές εξελίξεις και αποφεύγοντας τις κλασικά μονόπλευρες αναλύσεις. Ένα από τα βιβλία που με πήραν μακριά αν και μόνο νοερά ήταν το βιβλίο του Μπιλ Μπράισον The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island.

    Με την ευκαιρία, Theseus, για ποιο βιβλίο ιστορίας λες; Εγώ λέω να διαβάσω το A Concise History of Greece, κυρίως γιατί κάποτε γνώρισα και συνεργάστηκα με τον Ρίτσαρντ Κλογκ. Δυστυχώς πέρασαν πολλά χρόνια από τότε και ακόμα δεν έχω καταφέρει να διαβάσω την ιστορία του.


    ΥΓ. SBE, I like.
    Μένω ΕυρώπηΣύγκρουση ιδεών, όχι βία και μισαλλοδοξία: δεν οδηγούν πουθενά. (Λ. Κύρκος)Βρε, θα περάσει κι αυτό!
    ΕΝΑ ΝΗΜΑ ΤΗΝ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΝΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΙ ΠΕΡΑ. Staying hungry, staying foolish. Το διαδίκτυο βλάπτει όταν δεν σκέφτεσαι.

  7. #17
    Mod Almighty Palavra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBE View Post
    Αν ο ξένος είναι από δυτική χώρα.
    To be more precise, quite a lot of Greeks have absolutely no problem whatsoever with foreigners, as long as the foreigners are not poor. They don't mind the well-off Russians or Arabs, on the contrary they do mind the broke British tourists. It is a peculiar form of racism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theseus View Post
    TThose who voted for Brexit (& more turned out to vote in this referendum than at any time in our political history) felt neglected & did not feel any of the benefits of the wealth that has poured into London & the Home Counties. To the Brexit voters, The European Community seems to consist of a wealthy Germany & France & the rest, with a vast & unelected expensive bureaucracy. It seems to be no coincidence that the chief negotiator, Barnier, is French.
    The Brexit voter demographics do not overwhelmingly correspond to "poor, uneducated people". Age played an important part, as older, middle-class people (who probably had fond memories of the foregoing empire over which the sun never sets) tended to embrace the idea of leaving the EU.

    And yes, Barnier is French. He is also a federalist - an excellent choice, in my opinion, following the nomination of David Davis.

    And since we are venturing in Brexit waters, I'd like to take the opportunity and say, again, that I fervently hope the British people will reconsider. The EU will not be the same without them, but they will also suffer because of their choice. This is a globalised world; we need each other.
    The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".
    -Isaak Asimov

  8. #18
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palavra View Post
    To be more precise, quite a lot of Greeks have absolutely no problem whatsoever with foreigners, as long as the foreigners are not poor. They don't mind the well-off Russians or Arabs, on the contrary they do mind the broke British tourists. It is a peculiar form of racism.
    It's not racism, it's what-can-I-get-out-of-you-ism.
    Back in the days of young western backpackers sleeping rough at the stations or ports there was some derision (αλητοτουρίστες) but people still showed an interest, if they could get something out of them. We are not talking about money, of course, but the pleasure of associating with someone you think is superior to you. That's when the free food and bottles of wine come out. And of course how they pick the people they are over-hospitable to is an exercise in stereotyping.
    Middle aged man who appears to be able to pay his own way? Come this way.
    Teachers accompanying school groups? Why not! Teaching is an OK profession. This way, sir.
    Young attractive unaccompanied female? You're in.
    World leading literary figure in low-key appearance, who just asked politely for directions? Hell, no! (unless we know who he is)
    Nobel laureate and great thinker who is old, wrinkly and plain? Ditto, unless we know who she is.
    Random stranger from another part of Greece? Absolutely no way. Τί να μας πουν κι αυτοί; Σάμπως δεν ξέρουμε τους Πατρινούς/ τους Σαλονικιούς/ τους Κρητικούς;

  9. #19
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks to all, as ever. Yes Nickel, the book I have ordered is indeed the book by Richard Clogg, published by the CUP. I managed to get a very cheap copy. Thanks for your elucidation of the present political scene, SBE. it is very helpful. As for the remarks you made, Palαύρα, I didn't say 'poor, uneducated people'. They are poorer but some are very educated, but others plain intolerant. That too applies to the term 'young' also, where intolerance is growing at an alarming rate. There is a “crisis of free speech on campus”.
    63.5 per cent of universities actively censor speech and 30.5 per cent stifle speech through excessive regulation. You can barely go a few days without encountering a new form of censorship on campus. Unfortunately, this is breeding a new generation of right wing conservatives!
    The generation of those who wistfully longed for 'the Empire' isn't my generation but that of my parents. We were the postwar poor: in fact, I was brought up in a vicarage in a very poor working class area, where food was scarce & people shared what little food they had. My next door neighbour, a Marxist, had newspapers for his tablecloth. Hardship encouraged community spirit. I remember The National Health Service starting but it was too late for those who had polio except to provide them with calipers. This is no rant: it is true. But those days are past, and there is little nostalgia for them!
    Thank you for all this discussion. It has been indeed worthwhile.
    A last question: who were the prison camps of Gyaros & Makronisos originally intended for? I know that Mikis Theodorakis was sent there & was buried alive twice(?!). I know that the Junta used them later.
    But that is politics enough for a week or more. All comments and information will be carefully weighed...

  10. #20
    HandyMod drsiebenmal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickel View Post
    Με την ευκαιρία, Theseus, για ποιο βιβλίο ιστορίας λες; Εγώ λέω να διαβάσω το A Concise History of Greece, κυρίως γιατί κάποτε γνώρισα και συνεργάστηκα με τον Ρίτσαρντ Κλογκ. Δυστυχώς πέρασαν πολλά χρόνια από τότε και ακόμα δεν έχω καταφέρει να διαβάσω την ιστορία του.
    I had the honour to translate the last chapter of the latest edition of the book in Greek, which updates it up to the beginnings of the crisis, and edit along the way some minor glitches of the previous editions. It's an excellent book.
    Wer die Wahrheit nicht weiß, der ist bloß ein Dummkopf. Aber wer sie weiß, und sie eine Lüge nennt, der ist ein Verbrecher!
    We base decisions on facts, not superstition, not what our ideology tells us but rather what we can observe

    δεῖ δὲ χρημάτων, καὶ ἄνευ τούτων οὐδὲν ἔστι γενέσθαι τῶν δεόντων
    Η Ελλάδα είναι Ευρώπη, η Ευρώπη είναι Ελλάδα!

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