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11-June-2011 / quantumsniper

On Being Greek (-DRAFT IN PROGRESS)

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Image by Rupert Brun via Flickr
(NOTE: This original article being reviewed by author.)

Stand up and be counted!

Gentle Reader,

I’ve come to the opinion that life is too short. Its time to stand up in some small way and be counted. I am a Greek, tho’ I was born in Australia.

The upshot of todays blog will be to recognize massive flaws in the way we in the West perceive things. I will thereupon invite you to participate in a more robust style of cognition that ….I would like to call “Greek Thinking”.

Below is an article recently sent to me by a good friend. I don’t disagree with it, mind you. But because  I have a greek heritage, the contents / implications of it stuck in my craw.  Not just for Greeks, but for all of western society.

Here is the article.

 

CIA Warns Of A Greek Military Coup, Rebellion, If Austerity Intensifies

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/cia-warns-greek-military-coup-rebellion-if-austerity-intensifies
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2011 10:30 -0400

Turkish daily Hurriyet, which paraphrases German Bild, which in turn references a CIA report, warns that Greece could face a military coup if the “tough austerity measures and the dire situation” escalate any further. On the other hand, one can avoid this belabored hypertextual chain and simply look at what happens practically every day on Syntagma square where yet again we are witnessing record numbers of people protest against what everyone now realizes is a dead end regime (luckily, in a peaceful manner, for now).

More Captain Obviousness (thank you Grant Williams) from Hurriyet: “According to the CIA report, ongoing street protests in crisis-hit Greece could turn into escalated violence and a rebellion and the Greek government could lose control, said Bild. The newspaper said the CIA report talks of a possible military coup if the situation becomes more serious and uncontrolled.”

Luckily, following last year’s Athens mob-inspired flash crash, and 2011’s MENA revolutions, the market is rather desensitized to this sort of thing, and nothing short of fat-finger driven invasion of Greece by Turkey, in its humanitarian bid to reestablish the Ottoman Empire 2.0, could dent the /ES or EURUSD by more than 0.01%.

More:

Opposition parties have mostly refused to support the government in its quest to cut spending by trimming an overblown civil service and the sweeping privatization drive announced this week has attracted even stronger protests.

Meanwhile, the Dutch finance minister said his country, Germany, Finland and other EU members won’t give Greece any more bailout money, if the debt-laden country fails to adopt further austerity measures.

Jan Kees de Jager said Saturday that “it’s vital that Greece will live up fully” to conditions set by the International Monetary Fund if it’s to receive the next batch of a 110 billion euros ($155 billion) bailout loan deal it agreed to last year, the Associated Press reported.

Last year, as the financial crisis battered Greece, Bild went as far as to highlight a suggestion by a conservative politician that Athens sell off some of its many islands to help pay off its debts.

What next: CIA reports that monetary policy could set off mass food price driven revolutions in North Africa?

h/t Scrataliano

Greek riots, day #5: Crackdown on union strike...

Image by 0neiros via Flickr

Sore points in the greek crisis exposed

The article succinctly sheds light on a number of issues, including that —

  • Greece’s debt responsibilities to the EU are causing a loss of cohesion for its citizens.
  • The control of Greece as a sovereign nation is at the mercy of vested banking interests which include the IMF.
  • Forced Austerity Measures are leading to increasing internal civil unrest and riots.
  • This, in turn could invoke a military coup and then reduce Greece, with the potential to become a puppet state.
  • Foreign nations are now able to make demands/dictates which affect internal policies within Greece
  • Greece loses standing / reputation / credibility amongst other nations as it bleeds, and
  • Meanwhile, foreign spectators view the implosion of this democratic nation with scant regard for how close they potentially are, themselves to a similar fate. EU Nations and USA included.

However, on a more subversive note, the article agitated me in another way. It made me ask rhetorically “Just WHO (the heck) is the CIA, or Turkey, or the IMF to utter what sound like ‘threats’ from their high ground?” Why does the article incite irritat?

Of course, it is possible that the CIA just wants stable government in Greece. And is therefore just warning of military coup to expose / deter such political instability.

Looky-here now my fellow zombie:

Are we all so completely de-sensitized, mentally beaten into submission by mainstream opinion and media, and turned into drones that the CIA can now so openly and brazenly give notice of ‘someone’ unlawfully interceding in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation by inciting a military coup?”  It’s as though the CIA is pretending to be a mere dispassionate analyst / observer. When in fact it’s more likely they have some as an agent provocateur of an eventual coup? Jeez!  Don’t they even bother nowadays to invoke the well-worn ludicrous facade of ‘secrecy’ as they perpetrate nefarious acts ?

You would think that the only parties who’d conceive of instigating military action in Greece should be domestic Greeks. In which case such decision makers would say; “we wish to impose harsher austerity measures to appease the grumbling EU financiers“.  But here, we see the CIA issuing a “warning”. Isn’t this almost tantamount to openly calling forth or even inviting military intervention?

What makes this so wrong in my eyes is that it’s like “speaking the prediction/prophesy into existence”. And all the while, we should not forget the track-record of the CIA as the utterer of the prediction, and their clandestine role in toppling numerous strife-torn regimes. By way of example, just look at history: whether it is an anectodal “Charlie Wilson’s War scenario where they secretly funded Afghani rebels against USSR in 1978, or for more numerous instances check out the list in this Wikipedia article. It’s quite an eye-opener.

What’s even more outrageous about this kind of ‘CIA warning’ is that Greece is supposedly a “democratic” country. And once the pandora’s box of military intercession is opened, the erosion of democratic foundations, and with it the attendant threat to shoot protesting citizens who fail to comply with the dictates of the new regime becomes embedded.  These ‘austerity measures’ are – we must remember – being imposed so as to expedite repayment of foreign bank loan facilities.

Clearly, there are some quite powerful external vested interests who want debts repaid. And to achieve this end, they have no qualms about ‘insisting on austerity measures’, and no reservations about forcibly bending common greek citizens to comply with such austerity and repay foreign debt. It’s as though the debtors were mere cattle, and any level of force is permissible to satisfy the creditor.  That does not sit well with my ideal of what is democracy.

Is the ancient greek ideal of ‘democracy’ now dead?

SO; Is this abomination of circumstance what we are happy to call “Democracy” today? The mere fact that the CIA reportedly ‘warns’ reinforces a premise / mindset of complete disregard for individual freedom, and the cheapness with which human life should be valued.

Isn’t this the kind of denigration of humanity that allows tens of thousands to die in third world countries and be given 2 days of mainstream news coverage. And the coverage of pre-occupations of “Wienergate” to take hours of prime-time news and current affairs programs.

Remember. With the Greeks, this is all over M-O-N-E-Y. Its not as though the Germans, or the Brits, or the US couldn’t just print more of the stuff. They’re doing it more every day, aren’t they? Heave-ho. Here comes QE1, QE2, QE3 etc.

My Greekness has been awakened of late

I humbly admit I have, personally, in the past 2-3 decades formed a cultural cringe at my own greek heritage. With this blog post, I hope to make amends (at least in part).

Yes. In the past, I’ve succumbed to the mass media driven perception of Greeks / Greece as being one of the “PIIGS” {Portugal Italy Ireland Greece Spain} and who are – we are led to believe – solely responsible for the economic downfall of the EU.  In reality, there are of course numerous members of the European Union hungrily feeding from the same trough.

Perhaps more frustrating, however, is the lack of objective opinion OR downright dis-information and shallowness as to the ethos / motivation / consciousness of the Greek citizenry.  What reason do they have to riot? form mobs? throw Molotov Cocktails into Banks, and attack riot police?

Generalist perceptions (let’s call it ‘mainstream western media’) tell us that Greeks have been rioting in the streets of Athens, and that this general malcontentedness of the populace is some kind of blind arrogant protest against the banks, the multi-nationals, and the ‘Powers that Be’.  This is, of course because Greeks want to continue a bludger lifestyle of ouzo-drinking, all-night-partying and sleeping till noon (sic!) at the expense of the IMF and Germany (who are the de-facto father-figures and financiers of the European Union) who so graciously continue to give billions of dollars of un-repayable loans and bailouts to Greece and other EU PIIGS.

Why do they do it, then?

NOTE: I have not fully analysed the extent of Greek sovereign debt, nor the value of inflation since WWII, nor the history of loan repayments. Nevertheless, I will reveal that it one of the common perceptions of Greeks that the many billions of dollars (do I hear $50Billion?)  of as-yet-unpaid war reparations by Germany against Greece due to its incursions since WWII is a predominant cause of the feeling of “entitlement” that Greeks feel, as they continue to receive EU moneys and Bailouts.

AND HEY ! Don’t flame me on the accuracy or honourable-neess of this as an attitude, Dear Reader, I’m not saying I AGREE with it OR that it’s right. I’m just telling you how it is.  Greeks, like any other passionate culture, have a long memory when it comes to those who ‘done them wrong’.

So, what’s wrong with the IMF and the Central Banks, Anyway?

Isnt it the case that the Federal Reserve Bank in the US was not created by legislation. The money it prints  ….. is not sanctioned by the people but by Corporate Interests.

There is NOTHING NEW about the strategy of creating a modern serfdom of nations throughout the world by forcing their economies to be forever bound and controlled as ‘debt-slaves’ to the IMF and to their own central banks. Cases in point, Japan, South Korea Africa, Central America, and now we see the EU by the IMF, and its use of credit-control and loan-funding arrangements with central banks so as to force these nations and their poor peoples to be locked in a merry-go-round of quasi- servitude.

This is no different from forcing small third world countries to stop producing their own crops and thereby destroying bio-diversity in their agriculture (and of the ecosphere) by making them sell their donkeys goats and chickens, and then issuing them with farm-loans and debt so they can all be made to buy and then grow Genetically Modified (GM) crops like soya beans, tobacco, rice or cotton.  All the while using Monsanto seeds and Pesticides that effectively puts the control of wealth and the food supply of untold millions of people in the hands of Multi-Nationals. One nasty price rise in these products by a Machiavellian oligarch CEO, and you have a perfect tuning-valve that controls the sustenance or deprivation of life death and poverty for these millions of people.

Give me Freedom, or else give me …errm… Liberty ?

The true ethos of Greek Democracy is based on raw personal individual “freedom”. Not “political freedom” of any sort. I mean the true egoistic freedom to break the mold, OR to be Great like the fabled “Braveheart” or to be a mad failed eccentric bastard like “Zorba the Greek” who lives life and is ready to die satisfied fully and emotionally AS HE WANT TO, all the while challenging the imposition of false morays, blind custom and tradition, rules requiring civil obedience, and the wagging fingers of the judgmental neighbour or the politically correct dispassionate observer.

THIS is what truly should be meant by phrase “the human condition”. It is the psyche of the old Greek notions of Freedom and Democracy that are honest depictions of what the people of the world want. NOT what modern society has bent these words and phrases to mean.

Does being “Free” cost much?

When I speak of “freedom and democracy”, I don’t mean “the desire to be an anarchist” nor “the right to be a capitalist”. These are modern misinterpretations of what Freedom and Democracy are. The (old) Greek Notions of Freedom and Democracy DON’T promote the idea of chaos or terrorism to elicit human rights, NOR do the Greeks mean that it is okay to trammel upon your fellow-man in the never-ending quest to derive profit.

Further to the point of what it means to be “Greek”, is that life should NOT be Angry and Reactionary. To borrow a modern phrase I WOULD happily sanction, it means to be “PRO-Active”.

I’ll tell you what it means to be “Greek” by saying what it’s NOT.

NO! it doesn’t mean the sanitized, sterilized socialized and corrupted post-renaissance conception of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” sold to us by the French or American Revolutions. Unfortunately, as well-meaning as these recent modernistic tenets of “freedom of the human being” might have been, they are still inferior conceptions to the idea of “personal freedom”.

The taint borne by the terms “liberte, egalite, and fraternite” is to be found in the corrosive notions of subordinacy, compliance and obedience to the greater good of the hive of collective society. Sure, the french sans cullotte had good reason to rebel against the bourgeoisie in 1789. But that was a proto-typical revolution. It was immature children rebelling angrily against clearly identifiable oppressive masters.

The oppressive master enslaving modern man is something far more sinister and intangible. It is the creeping fear of being ostracized by the collective. It is the loss of each individual Human Unit’s right to be free, special, eccentric, flawed, excellent or even tragic. This is the quintessence of being a true Greek as the ancients advocated. Arrogont, wilful, prideful, emotive, passionate. To be gleefully Alive, until its time you became dead.

Manufacturing Consent

Noam Chomsky explains ever-so-well the techniques and methods used by modern propagandists to oppress today’s citizenry. I will not plagiarize or paraphrase him here. Just watch this:

I suggest you be tempted to watch the entire series 1 thru 9. It’s worth your time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJuqoDvyXOk&feature=youtu.be

Why we should ALL be Greeks.  ! Zito !

NO! Modern mankind doesn’t want mere ‘Liberty’ (meaning a freedom from bondage) because that implies they must break the chains of an existing oppressor. In this instance, we are oppressed by our OWN collective consciousness.

Furthermore, NOT all men are created “equal”; so what IS this moronic notion that all men are/should be the same? Isn’t this fake-philosophy of Egalitarianism some kind of call-to-arms for a mass of drones to pull-together, to ostracize the stragglers / to demonize the exceptions to the rule, and to celebrate the hive mentality? Question: Why do we need to fit all different people into the same box of blind obedience? Doesn’t this mean we are destroying the ends of the bell curve? By doing this, aren’t we trading-off mankind’s potential for compassion for our Less-Haves, and making martyrs of those members of society who proffer Brilliance, Excellence, or extreme achievement? How can THIS be a good thing? Once we denigrate all those who live as “Exceptions to the Rule”, do we not all become an homogenous mass who are unworthy of describing ourselves as “special”.

And lastly “Fraternity”. The notion of ‘Brotherhood of Man’. Sure, this SEEMS okay on the face of it, but look more closely and you’ll see the cracks. I ask you; Why have we abandoned the old Greek notions of “Philadelphia”… (let your fellow man be your ‘friend-brother’). After all, NOT ALL men should be force-bound together as brothers, should they? Isn’t THAT what creates wars and terrorists? Think on This: Is there not sufficient difference between the “ME” and the “YOU” in our hearts, that neither of us has the courage nor the choice to acknowledge that we can be mere Friends and Acquaintances rather than “obliged as brothers”. When we accept “fraternity” rather than “Philadelphia”, we are essentially endorsing an “existence by Black-Letter Law”, rather than a “Life lived according to evolved and mutable guidelines”. Which, gentle reader, would You honestly prefer for You and Your kin ?

This reminds me of the parable of Plato’s Cave. (8 mins) It’s gentle nuances contain prudent reminders for modern man. Take your time, reader.

Being a Hero should be our heroin

Being Greek is about celebrating the individual hero. We dont do enough of that any more. Being Greek is about being heroic. Even tragic if need be. If the hero comes to grief, so what? Too bad! There will be another crazy Greek right next to him to take his place in the phalanx.  If we ever needed an opiate for the masses for today, it should be the promulgation of individual heroism. Fie on it! Let us all decry this artifice, this phantasm, this manufactured Fear we are fed every day.

Its not “how you say it”, its “what you say”

As we can see, the falsity which underlies the words “Liberty” “Equality” and “Fraternity” is that they contain hidden strictures.

Such words fail because they are not the language of the Free Man. Such words are not “Greek” in their spirit.  They don’t invoke self-determinism. They contain the underlying presumption that you are already incarcerated and wish to be released.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity are mere shadow puppets of what should be the true aspirations of mankind.  Whilst they may foster the creation of “Community”, they utterly FAIL to promote the ability of the individual human being to rise above the crowd, to celebrate greatness, to revel in excellence or incredible accomplishments beyond that which the crowd believes is possible.

By accepting “Liberty” rather than “Freedom”, our psyche remains a reactionary child governed by fear. And not the free-thinking adult who peacefully celebrates with pride the true diversity and exceptionality of us all as members of this human species.

Instead, I entreat you, Reader:  to be Brave, be Reckless like a Greek! Do not utter words which have defeat built-in to their core. Do not bespeak your own oppression into existence.

The technological utopia we are promised in our far future is still many centuries away.  Do not make haste, it will come of its own accord in its own good time.

Look carefully my fellow hero, at the words you use every day. Do not use the language of the oppressor as though you were wearing the latest fashion accessory.  Use your own language, your own common sense.

Here, now is my (somewhat scattergun) tribute to Greeks

Lest we forget the past influences on Western (And Middle Eastern) Society by those known as the Greeks.

NOTE: Credit for the compilation of this list goes to another friend of mine who is much better versed in Greek culture and Greek thinking ancient and modern than I could profess to be. (Thanks Dude! Anonymity preserved. You know who you are).

“Had Greek civilization never existed … we would never have become fully conscious.” – W.H. Auden

“The legacy of Greece to Western philosophy is Western philosophy.” – Bertrand Russell

Ancient Greeks

Anaxagoras
Galen  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galen
Sophocles
Eurypides
Pythagoras
Aristotle http://www.edinformatics.com/great_thinkers/aristotle.htm
Socrates
Plato  http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Philosophy-Plato-Philosopher.htm
Plutarch
Thales
Heron of Alexandria   http://www.experiment-resources.com/heron-inventions.html
Diogines
Archimedes
Euclid
Thucydides
Phythagoras
Hipparcus
Anaximander
Eratosthenes
Strabo
Claudius Ptolemy
Demosthanes
Empedocles
Hippocrates
Herodotus
Hypatia of Alexandria http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia daughter of Theon Alexandricus (ca. 335–405), the last librarian of Alexandria
 
http://www.bumblehood.com/article/ss8jMFv_RPO-qGXGdR7WMQ

http://www.greekfire.org/quotes/

Greeks of modern renown

Nikos Kazantzakis
Elytis  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odysseas_Elytis
Cavafy
Seferis
Angelopoulos (the film director)
Vangelis
Theodorakis
Elia Kazan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elia_Kazan
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6 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Ray Elroad / Sep 1 2011 3:25 AM

    liberty, freedom, equality all great concepts but the Greek crisis arose out of culture of laziness (also called indolence) which is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so. The biggest problem in Greece and many other Eurpoean countries is that anyone bothers to work at all. Hey, why don’t we all just wait for handouts and paycheques and do whatever we feel like doing other than working for a living.

    • QuantumSniper / Sep 1 2011 5:50 AM

      Ray, I question if you may have missed a primary point of my article.

      I tend to agree with the idea that indolence is rife in Greece and in much of (Southern) Europe. And I am happy to admit that most modern greeks have ‘lost their way’ and their thought patterns are merely a shadow of the ancient greek ideals. Put simply, people who don’t need to work to survive, generally dont work so hard.

      But this article is NOT so much about cultural idiosynchracies. NOR is it about the modern western work ethics (or lack thereof) of Greece, Europe, the U.S. or even Japan etc.. …. THIS article is about INDIVIDUAL freedom, and NOT allowing oneself to be caught in ANY flavour of slavish mind-set that may be dictated to you by (a) one’s peers, or (b) by a fearful swarm of conformists, or (c) by companies or institutions who would wantonly manipulate you for their own gain.

        As for the economics:

      Ultimately, for all of Europe, Greece’s economic woes which are being globally publicized and targeted are merely the thin end of the wedge. Greece is a litmus test for the European Union economies. The Banks have decided that IF Greece is bailed out, so will everyone else in Europe. If Greece is NOT bailed out, the EU is kaput.

      NOTE: Greece has a small population of 11 million. and an approx 144% Public Debt as a %age of GDP.

      Yep. This is surely bad! But have you seen the figures for other countries below ? Why do you think the media focuses on Greece so much, whilst other elephants in the room are being ignored?
      – ITALY (60 Million) 118%
      – FRANCE (62 Million) 83%
      – SPAIN (45 Million) 63%
      – PORTUGAL (10 Million), 83%
      – U.S. (300 Million) 97%
      http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/economics/list-of-national-debt-by-country/
      –> Snipe.

  2. Max Power / Sep 19 2011 6:13 AM

    Finnish MP Halla-aho calls for tanks in Greece

    http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/politics/16646-finnish-mp-halla-aho-calls-for-tanks-in-greece-.html

    Jussi Halla-aho, an MP for the populist True Finns party, wrote on social networking website Facebook on Wednesday that the Greek government should use military force against workers on strike.

    “What Greece needs at this particular point in time is a military junta that would not have to worry about its popularity and could use tanks to enforce some order among strikers and rioters,” Halla-aho wrote.

    The Facebook entry soon sparked outrage, with Halla-aho removing it and retracting his comment.

    “Most people probably got the message, but as it was easy to hang on to, its publication was poor judgement, and that is why I have removed it,” Halla-aho explained.

    He added that what he had meant to say was that it was difficult to carry out unpopular policies in a democracy.
    Halla-aho’s Facebook comment caused a stir in Parliament.

    Halla-aho is the chairman of the parliamentary administration committee.

    • QuantumSniper / Sep 19 2011 9:17 AM

      Max, Thanks for your comment.
      Jussi Halla-aho is a blogger and parliamentarian. It would appear by his political affiliations that his leanings tend towards maintaining an anti-immigration stance and a pro ‘true blood’ of Finns in his country.

      I note from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jussi_Halla-aho that his extra-curricular comments regarding the best method to enforce Austerity Measures in Greece attracted for him a two-week suspension from his own parliamentary group.

      Naturally, I would disagree with his desire to use force on anyone. Whether such force be used in Finland, OR upon greek citizenry (over whom he has no standing to comment or dictate). Besides, it is my view that such a comment is counter to democratic EU principles. And most sinisterly, it effectively panders to, and unwittingly give indirectly militarist powers to Corporate-ist interests like international Banking Cartels.

      Unfortunately, however, it is seems to be a fact of life in the blogosphere that authors generating commentary without peer review editing, and without independent editing before hitting the PUBLISH button can frequently say “stupid” things .. Or otherwise bloggers exercise judgment about things in an instant of pique of passion that would otherwise not pass muster in a more impartial forum.
      – Snipe

  3. QuantumSniper / Jun 20 2011 1:38 PM

    « The Crisis in Greece is not financial but cultural >>
    – Yan.
    http://greece.itry4u.com/?p=5739

    Yan, Thank you for your feedback. Perhaps my article could be supplemented with a list of the cultural factors which underly the unrest of greek citizenry. I happily invite you to offer / send a bullet point list of some of those cultural factors so I can maybe incorporate them into the narrative for completeness.

    However, it should be said, that my emphasis in writing this article was more philosophical.

    I wanted to use “Ancient Greek thinking” (which is by definition uncorrupted by modern corporate vested interest) as a preferred template or ‘thinking pattern’ for today’s citizenry.

    My goal in the article was to isolate a modern mindset of tainted and apathetic thinking which accepts wholesale and without proper scrutiny / criticism the views, judgements and even the subjective opinions that are fed to them by commercial mainstream media. Chomsky calls these vested interests “propaganda”.

    This is why the article goes into a deeper linguistic analysis of words like “liberty” versus my preferred word “democracy”.

    The article later settles on the parable of Plato’s Cave to explore how any modern man who truly wishes to cultivate quality critical thinking processes (i.e. what I called “Greek Thinking”) must – with some effort – detach/disconnect himself from the paradigms and entrapments of day-to-day modern suburban life, TV, what the boss tells him, what the politician tries to promote, or what the court system tells him he should be satisfied with as “justice” for transgressions made against him or his family.

    – QuantumSniper

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