You turn on the radio, you get racist jokes about Greeks.
You go to a newspaper stand, half the newspapers and magazines are telling you that the Greeks are greedy, lazy bastards who are destroying Europe.
It’s everywhere. The Greeks are so rich and pretending they’re poor. They are all tax evaders. They get huge “luxury” pensions and lots of holidays. It’s repeated as if it were true. As if it wasn’t all bullshit and distortion.
They want our money, German money! They are a threat to Europe! Yes, this tiny country, with its 11 million people, its broken healthcare system, its shoddy roads and its overworked population, this little country is a terrible threat to the mighty power of Germany.
Of course, it’s not just Germany. The lies are being repeate elsewhere, too. BoingBoing, the feeding ground of the technology-obsessed nerd, recently reposted another distortion-filled article from the New York Times, the newspaper that most fervently pushed the story about WMDs in Iraq. “Greek Wealth is Everywhere but Tax Forms” it announces. Oh, really? Have these people been to Greece? Have they seen what the country looks like? Of course not. And they would never show you the truth, either, because it’s not convenient. They’d rather pretend that the tax evasions of the rich (common everywhere) and the tax evasions of the poor (because they need the money, desperately) are the same thing.
And let us completely forget the massive tax cuts for the rich, so strongly supported by all the wonderful right-wingers now attacking Greece. That couldn’t have something to do with lacking funds.
And, of course, it’s all down to a cultural problem. Because the Greeks are just corrupt by nature. Because corruption is not common in all countries with a similar financial situation.
But it disgusts me the most right here in Germany. Because people should know better. And because when I hear people tell me how they can finally be proud to be German again, and how evil the lazy Greeks are, I am reminded of how Germany works: how it worked back then and how it works now. We’ve learned nothing. The history of Germany is as tragic and stupid as that of the other country that should know better: Israel.
I’ve never wanted to leave this country as much as I do right now. I used to dislike being here, but now I hate it – I deeply, profoundly hate it. It makes me feel sick. If I had the option (and I don’t), I would leave instantly. If I wasn’t opposed to being drafted by the military, I would even go to live in Greece. Better to endure poverty than to live under fascism.