Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
It has been a long time since you last felt my putrid cold breath near you, my sweets. I’ve had much work lately, nipping life in the bud, reaping without sowing. I had promised you something last time, a morsel of the puzzle that would lead sensible Greeks to where sanity leaves and madness begins. I had promised to tell you of the blatant mockery politicians hurled at their citizens, weaving them in a game they had started, they had played and won all by themselves. The lies came out and those who had a mind left over from the brainwashing and debilitating power exerted by the media in the country, saw the bleak reality of a country ravaged by something far worse than any war — betrayal.
It all started with the nationwide elections of 2009. Greece has 2 major political parties that have vied for the throne since the junta was overthrown in the early 70’s: the moderate right-wing New Democracy and the moderate left-wing PASOK. The Communist party (KKE), leftist coalition party (SYRIZA) and right-wing nationalist party (LAOS) add a few more minor players on a scene so stagnant that mosquitoes can’t even breed in. As usual, candidates appeared on all major networks and said their regurgitated hogwash about how they’ll help everything and everyone, from wholesellers to truck drivers, farmers to small shop owners, lowly unskilled laborers to teachers, young unwed mothers to proud pensioners. As usual, candidates maintained they’d crush foreign-owned monopolies, inflation, illegal immigration, crime and would protect national sovereignty, commercial interests, a failing tourist industry and the list went on. As usual, no one mentioned the rich, the mogul industrialists, the money-launderers, who in the end came out winners, as they do everywhere elections are held. Above all, everyone stressed (and you can visually read my lips on this one) NO MORE TAXES. You mortals know what happens when you hear that.
To get to the point, though, the party that finally won the elections, PASOK, had clearly stated (or rather, Mr. Papandreou himself succinctly stated, on camera during a rally) something that has become a slogan to Greeks day in, day out: «Lefta iparxoun», which liberally translated means the money exists, the money is there, there IS money in the country’s coffers and when PASOK would take hold of Parliament, they would be able to wield it to help the ailing sectors of society.
Several weeks after PASOK started governing, a word which in itself is a joke in Greece, the poor masses discovered without much ado that there was no money, that they were in fact bankrupt, that new taxes had to be implemented and that those who had to carry the burden of saving the country were the wholesellers, truck drivers, farmers, small shop owners, lowly unskilled laborers, teachers, young unwed mothers and proud pensioners the candidates they had voted for had said they would protect. Surprisingly, the rich, the mogul industrialists and the money-launderers would pay relatively less.
The Greeks experienced the «beware of Greeks bearing gifts» and the tale of the Trojan Horse all-in-one, like a deft little shampoo before you could say lather, rinse, dry. Lie 1: The money is there. Lie 2: we will bring the culprits responsible for the previous government’s scandals to justice. Lie 3: we will put Greece back on the map. Oops, sorry, that last one wasn’t entirely a fib. Everyone heard about Greece after a bit.
The cherry on top came this past September, after an inept government had admitted unable to handle finances, after the EMF had arrived and made extravagant demands on the citizens of a country that was not their own. The cherry most suitably came from the most rotund of ministers to ever sit in Parliament, a certain Mr Pangalos, the deputy prime minister or Mr Papandreou’s number two, who most ironically is the grandson of a former Greek dictator (do I hear nepotism thrice removed?). He unabashedly said that we had eaten the money together, the we referring to every single Greek, be they homeless, the beneficiaries of an approximate minimum 600 Euro salary per month, or the unemployed who receive a 451 Euro handout, if they receive one at all. Mr Pangalos had the nerve to say that he had stolen as much as they had, that the various governments which had misappropriated EU and taxpayers’ trillions over decades managed to steal as much as a pensioner. It’s like saying Nixon has the same intimate relationship with cassettes as a high school sophomore in the mid-80’s.
Certain Greeks took offense at this, and I say certain Greeks because if all Greeks had taken offense, the house of parliament would be nothing but a memory to write about in history books and politicians’ carcasses would be food for the dogs. That would give me plenty to do. Which reminds me, I have to pop over to Omonia Square and pick up that junkie who turned to heroin after his Master’s degrees couldn’t get him a job. More on the government’s betrayal and the country’s surrender to the foreign conquistadors next time, my succulent hot-blooded sweets.