House Gone Up In Flames

This is a fairly good article on the situation in Greece. Most of what I’ve read online is kind of annoying – a lot of it makes Greece sound very primitive, which is absurd, and also quite disturbing, in that it represents the current crisis as the result of “extremism” and “terrorism”. It’s an old story, really – accusations of Greece as some kind of anarchic training ground for terrorists have been spewed out by certain groups for years now. And let me tell you, they are utterly, utterly absurd. I grew up there. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I’m not a nationalist (not even remotely), so what I’m saying is the simple truth. Greece is not a barbaric backwater, and it’s not full of extremists.

What it is full of is people who have had enough of police brutality, enough of the thuggish right-wingers in the government, and enough of the capitalist system that has harmed them so severely and destroyed so much of what makes Greece beautiful. And now it’s gone too far.

It is likely the government, being as stupid and arrogant as it is, will react with violence. If they do, it will be a massive mistake. A short look at the history of Greece can prove that. I can complain a lot of about the Greeks, and I do – hey, I’m one of them – but I can say one thing for sure: if you hit them, they won’t back down. Every further crime the government commits will be another nail in its coffin.

But violence isn’t the answer (most protesters aren’t violent anyway; the violence usually comes from a mixture of really angry people and probably quite a few provocateurs). The reaction may be justified, but it has to take on a more political form. It has to become a movement – and it can’t become a way of supporting PASOK (basically the Democrats) or KKE (supposedly the communist party), as neither party is capable of changing anything for the better. As for Synaspismos (the “Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology” as the Wikipedia translates it, which is awkward but close), I may have my reservations about them, but this is the moment where they need to step up. I really hope that they do.

As for the international community… I worry. It’s been popular for years now to paint Greece as some kind of nationalist/terrorist backwater, mainly because Turkey is geopolitically important to the United States (and various similar issues). I wonder if this will be used as an excuse to do a country whose people have the wrong opinions some harm. Maybe a lot of harm. It’s an unpleasant thought, but not unlikely.

Because in the end, what worries the rich and powerful across the globe the most is the awareness that this is only a sign of things to come.