Greek Grievances – RantAWeek
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Greek Grievances

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Posted by Angela Yang on November 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Greece”s Parliament Building in Athens has been the site of both political and economic turmoil.
Source: CIA World Factbook

Americans had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our economy, arguably, isn’t terrible, and we have a democracy. Greece, on the other hand, cannot say the same. Entering a sixth year of recession with an unemployment rate of 25%, things do not look so good. Its high unemployment rate endangers social unity, because people who are out of jobs begin to lose faith in their political parties. Therefore, the party in power stays in power, and is able to manipulate the government as they please without any form of cohesive opposition.

Powerful party leaders appear to be doing what’s best for Greece, especially economically. As a result, most of the common people are deceived. They fail to realize that their representatives’ means of seeming like a just leader does not reflect the people’s best interest at all. In truth, those in power often abuse their rights of decision-making. For example, on November 1st, Greece”s ruling parties decided that financial aid was so crucial that they removed seven representatives from their government positions after those representatives failed to back an austerity law. Decisions that appear to benefit the general public in reality only bolster individual authority. At the same time, while Greeks endure endless austerity along with an ever-shrinking GDP, there are indicators that suggest that the well-connected government executives were circumventing theses fiscal burdens. Dominant beneficiaries force the masses to do the heavy economic lifting. A corrupt group governs the citizens, not the citizens themselves.

Police brutality intended to cover up the actual lack of freedom exemplifies press censorship. In an effort to hide repeated oppression, the police restricts the media, usually with further oppression. Aspiring journalists find this tight cycle hard to break. Even foreign sources have difficulty finding their way in communicating to the Greek population. The popular London newspaper, The Guardian, was met with threats after publishing allegations of police mistreatment and torture of anti-fascist protesters. Instead of undertaking investigation to make sure this was not happening, threatening to sue the newspaper makes the police seem even more suspicious, and proves that the government has become increasingly authoritarian.

Without outside news sources, the people in Greece would not have any reliable forms of media, as there is virtually no freedom of press anymore. Greek media is owned by magnates or financed by banks, allowing politicians, businessmen, and journalists rule the country. They essentially have the power to manipulate media and change laws to justify illegal actions. Members of Golden Dawn, an increasingly popular Neo-Nazi and anti-immigrant party, corrupt the official police force and the judiciary. The party runs the slogan “Get the stench out of Greece”, referring to unwanted immigrants. Even more worrying is the fact that, ever since Golden Dawn won eighteen seats in parliament back in June, violence against immigrants and leftists has increased. Police even participate in it occasionally.

All of this suppression cannot be the fault of Greece’s government alone. Other countries in the Eurozone are also partially responsible for the lack of democracy. Fiscal tightening has imposed a great deal of austerity onto Greece, which already has a hard time simultaneously trying claw itself out of debt and making reforms. Heavy austerity distracts leaders from what is really important: their people. It’s kind of funny how the European Union was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for their democracy and human rights, considering all they have done is foster corruption. A more suitable candidate for that prize would have been the US!

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6 Comments

  • On November 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm clueless said

    New title idea: Greece Greasevences.

  • On November 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm Angela said

    That’s a good one! I was going to go with: Great Greasy Greek Grievances, but the current title is much classier.

    • On November 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm clueless said

      Your title should simply be: Greece (sigh)

  • On December 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm Sara said

    I like the title :) Very classy, though Greece Greasevences is a very good play on words. Good article too!

    • On December 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm Angela said

      Thanks, Sara!

    • On December 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm Angela said

      :(

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