Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Why Germany Has No Right to Inflict Pain On Greece

Ever since the Greek debt crisis began no country has been more aggressive in demanding its pound of flesh than Germany, and its flinty chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel has made it clear that she wants the Greeks to be punished, not just for the money they owe, but also for having the temerity to vote for a left-wing anti-austerity government.

Even though no country has less of a moral right to inflict pain on Greece.

Not after what the Germans did to that country during the Second World War.

For it was an absolute horror show, and nothing less than genocide. 

During the Battle for Greece almost 20,000 enlisted Greek men were killed, and more than a 100,000 were wounded or frostbitten, one fifth of them ending up amputees. About 4,000 civilians were killed in air raids, which also destroyed hundreds of buildings, including churches, hospitals and schools. But those numbers pale by comparison to the loss of human life experienced during the occupation. According to conservative estimates the deaths resulting directly from the war before the war ended, adds up to about 578,000.

Not only were more than 1,700 villages were destroyed in retaliation for attacks on their forces by the Greek resistance. Not only did they kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children in the most bestial manner.

They stole their money, their livestock, their food, and condemned hundreds of thousands of others to death by starvation. They destroyed roads, railways, bridges, and ports.

Greece was already a poor country before the Nazis invaded, but by the time they left it was devastated.

And yet in 1953 when Germany applied to have its massive war debt forgiven, who do you think agreed to reduce that debt?

Yes, the Greeks, who would show those Nazi beasts the mercy they never received.

And yet when the Greek government recently asked the wealthy Germans for reparations, the answer they received was nein. 

"They won't get their debts paid by conjuring up German obligations from World War II," scoffed German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, last month, when Athens made noises about a renewed reparations push. 

"The likelihood is zero," echoed German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel also in March.

With all the arrogance and contempt that those only a bloated Hun can muster.

You know, Germany is lucky that I wasn't in a position of authority in the years following the end of the Second World War.

For I have always believed they got off too easily. And I would have made that country pay and suffer for its crimes for the next thousand years. 

But all I'm asking them to do now is show impoverished Greece, the country they ravaged, some humanity.

And yes as always, for those who fought the Nazis so bravely...

For all those innocents who were murdered by those inhuman monsters...

Damn you fraulein Merkel and your bastard banksters. If the Germans could have their debts forgiven after doing that, so can the Greeks.

Long live that poor suffering people.

Long live the heroic Greek resistance...

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  1. Whoa! Just a little over the top, Simon! You make it sound as if Merkel herself is a Nazi! Is Putin quietly waiting in the wings to offer the Greeks financial loans with strings attached? Putin would love to gain influence in that part of the world. Also ask yourself if Greeks behind the scenes would like to see a change of government, and why.

    1. Anonymous6:23 AM

      Putin didn't kill 578,000 Greeks either. Stop trying to compare him with nazis, you moron. Merkel's attitude is almost exactly that of her nazi forefathers so, yeah, Simon may not call her a nazi BUT I WILL and so are you for supporting her. You have a Jewish name! Either get with the program or change your name to adolph or stephen or something more fitting in keeping with your obvious natural predilection for nazis!

    2. hi anon...please don't get so angry. David is a good guy and a good Christian. And I didn't intend this post to be a controversial or political one. All I'm pointing out is a historical reality, arguing that rich Germany has a moral obligation to a country it once treated so brutally. And above all plead for mercy for the poor and suffering people of Greece...

  2. hi David...no I'm not calling Merkel a Nazi. I'm simply suggesting that a country that treated Greece like Germany did, has a moral responsibility not to cause it any more suffering. I believe in moral responsibility, it would be a better world if more people did...

  3. Anonymous8:47 AM

    The present Greek government commissioned a report on the history of Greece's debt. The first loan was made at exorbitant interest rates. Greece, under bad government and pressure from the EU and NATO bought excessive and unjustified military equipment. I remember reading about that at the time. There have been huge capital outflows (tax evasion)., And the government has bailed out private banks with a lot of money.

    The report also says that Greece spends less on social spending for its citizens than other
    EU countries. In other words it has been soundly victimized.

    1. hi anon...yes its governments have made a lot of mistakes, but the odds were stacked against them. And the ordinary people of that country have suffered long enough. As have others in other countries. The whole system is set up to trap countries into massive debt, so the IMF and other can come along and order them to impoverish their people further. The Greek crisis has just brought to a head the failed policies of austerity...

  4. Another thing not only about Merkel but the EU and the IMF essentially bailed out a bunch of private banks who were stupid enought to keep lending to Greece when any six-year old could see that the country was an economic shambles.

    Now they need to demonize Greece because they are the ones who wasted taxpayers' money when they could just have let their banker friends take a hit. Otherwise a lot of voters might start asking about their level of financial incompetence and cronyism.

    Bankers love to talk about 'moral hazard' until it is they who are on the receiving end. :(

    1. hi jrkrideau...yes you're right, most of the bailout money has gone to the banks, with almost none going to help the poor people who need it most, who were not those who created the problem in the first place. The EU came together and Germany was able to rebuild and prosper because loans were forgive, And unless something similar can be arranged for Greece, that new and miserly approach could blow the EU apart...

  5. It's worth asking what the German public thinks about Greece being allowed to get away with not paying their debt. If they are strongly opposed you can't really fault Merkel alone when she is just following the herd.

    And on another note I'd like to point out their is a difference between being asked to forgive debts incurred by an illegitimate regime that ran a country into the ground and a series of democratic governments the people willingly voted for.

    I do wonder if the Kingdom of Greece would have gotten into this situation all things being equal though.

    1. hi A Kisaragi Colour....the German public is split, but most of its well off citizens are opposed to the idea of bailing out a peripheral country who they consider is full of lazy people who don't work as hard as them. When in fact it was the largesse of others that allowed Germany to prosper, so the Germans shouldn't be so sanctimonious. The EU will be made to work for everyone, or sooner or later it will fly apart....

  6. I think that your blog is absolutely correct, Simon, and as for the Nazi comparison, why not?
    As someone with a Jewish family on my mother's side, it always surprises me that Jews think they own the term "Nazi" when in fact that is Germany's legacy..
    Merkel is scary, like Thatcher was, in that they are both (or were) right wing zealots who will stop at nothing to put their agenda forward...
    You have to ask yourself why is it that Greece comes into the picture for so much pain and humiliation..is it retribution for their generosity to the defeated Germans after WW2?
    Hard to know, but whenever German apologists claim the morally superior position, usually in relation to putting their agenda in the spotlight, I always wonder just how dead fascism really is...and why this woman keeps getting elected by the German people..they must like her style...

    1. hi mizdarlin...well I don't want to accuse modern day Germans of being Nazis, but when you've been responsible for so much death and destruction in another country, you do have the moral responsibility to try to make up for it. As for Merkel, they call her The Mother of the Nation, she came from the former East Germany, so she has helped re-unify the country which is still divided economically. But her austerity policies are rigid and heartless, and risk doing great damage to Greece and the E.U...

  7. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Its not just about Greece. If it was I am sure that Germany would forgive some of the debt even if it was just to keep the EU afloat. However if Greece debt is forgiven, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and likely even France will also line up for debt forgiveness. Germany wants to make debt forgiveness as painful as possible to prevent the others from following. Barring a miracle this is a no win situation and Germany would have been better to have left the EU as a bitter breakup is likely coming one way or another. That said these governments are professional can kickers so it is possible a miracle will be produced to deceive the population for a bit longer.

    1. hi anon...yes you're right, the Germans and the other members of the so-called troika are afraid that if they offer to relieve the debt burden on Greece other countries will demand the same thing. But Greece is in a particularly bad situation, its people are suffering more than others, so one can make a moral case that it deserves special treatment...

  8. Greeks need to start paying taxes

    Bond missed point in Greece analysis

    1. hi David....it's true that part of the reason this economic crisis became so serious is that not enough people in Greece paid enough taxes. But that won't help all those Greeks that barely have enough money to live on. And as we know it's not like they're the only ones to have dodged taxes. The rich in this country have stashed away billions in tax shelters all over the place. So it's time to stop being so judgemental and do the right and decent thing...

  9. There is not a western country, including Germany that has not benefited from Greek thought. While tribes, and countries thought processes were primarily religious at best and mystical at worst, the Greeks were attempting to understand the universe and the laws that govern it. This included understanding the nature of humans. Understanding philosophy, which the Greeks developed as a tool for acquiring knowledge in metaphysics, epistemology, politics, ethics etc. was done at a time when many people still believed in evil spirits. Aristotles, who some believe to be the greatest mind whoever lived and whose work was preserved by Arabs, otherwise we wouldn't have it to read including today, many ideas are the foundation on which the physical sciences are built. So incredible are the Greeks intellectual achievments in mathematics, politics, medicine etc. that they are still being applied today. Aristotle could understand the widest abstraction such as existence and explain what it means and how it is axiomatic and implicit in every concept. Human Beings have lived through any number of dark ages and we may be heading into another one. All dark ages require abandoning knowledge and the conceptual thought that leads to that knowlege. It is a time when mindless leaders compete for power. It is returning Greek thought that has brought us out of previous dark ages. Any country that is democratic and free, should send a telegram to Greece, saying "Account Paid in Full."

    1. hi Pamela...I hadn't thought of that but you're absolutely right. The Greeks have contributed mightily to civilization, and they don't deserve to be treated so badly Itt bothers me to see how some insist on trying to humiliate them, when they are a proud people. Their resistance movement against the Nazis was one of the best and most effective. They have suffered enough, and the rest of Europe is rich enough to help them, and allow them to pay what they owe over many years. As other countries were allowed to do.It's just greed and bullying and it has to stop.
      Finally, I should add, that for their delicious food alone, I am personally in their debt... ;)

  10. e.a.f.3:35 AM

    Simon, this time I think you're off the mark. What happened during WW II is not part of this issue. to link it is unfair and inappropriate.

    The German's debts weren't forgiven after WW II. Germany paid and paid and then paid some more. Germany paid war reparations for years and years. I know, my Mother was paid. I know that in the 1990 another class was added, because my father was sent papers to complete. No the Germans paid their monetary debts where WW II is concerned. Now as to the moral issues. This generation of Germans is far removed from those who were part of the Nazis in WW II.

    Of course Mrs. Merkle is taking a 'hard' line. Germany is paying a lot of money and has a lot of loose. As our cousins from the Netherlands were saying to us a couple of weeks ago, some countries are tired of paying for the ways of other countries and that included Greece. Greece's attitude toward paying taxes, not so great. The Greek government had a lot of years to deal with their finances and hasn't. Should other countries push the average citizen in Greece into further poverty, absolutely not. Is there a solution? Most likely but there hasn't been a Greek government in recent years who has been willing to take on the tax problem the country has. As my cousins said, they weren't going to pay for Greeks to retire early when they were having to retire later. Now Greece has made changes here, but one of the problems in Greece is the government doesn't take in enough money and that is because they haven't collected the taxes they ought to. If small countries such as Lithuania has its nose out of joint about the Greek cash flow problem, you do have to wonder what is going on.

    Greece ought not to have been admitted to the E.U. and that also applies to other countries. They were not in the same economic class as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, etc. Corporations wanted the poorer countries to be admitted because they most likely saw these countries as a source of cheap labour. However, many didn't want to move and the companies themselves did not move into the countries with cheap labour.

    When Greece converted to the euro a lot of banks played a lot of games and Greece's real national debt was not apparent. let the banks eat this instead of having other countries bail Greece out. Greece ought to let their own banks "eat it" also, not the average citizen. Greece has never been a well to do country.

    Now as to giving Greece "credit" for their "contribution" to society, its a nice thought, but in these days other countries need all the money they can get. Germany has enough people of its own who need looking after. Perhaps it is better that the E.U. disband or it be reduced to countries which are more equal when it comes to social programs, economic well being.

    I personally do not believe it is in anyone interest to force Greece to reduce a pensioner's income by 50%, but if no one pays their income tax, what else is to be done if the country won't collect taxes. We have seen it in Canada. When a government reduces the amount of money it takes in, social programs suffer. When a government ensures the financial well being of the well to do, the poor suffer, but that is not Germany's problem.

    1. hi e.a.f...I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you. When you cause the death of half a million people in another country you owe that country something. Germany's loans after the Second World War were reduced by 60 percent, not fifty as it said in that picture. So as Thomas Piketty the famous economist pointed out the other day they are the last ones to drive such a hard bargain. The creation of the EU depended on cutting some countries some slack, so now it's Greece's turn...

  11. e.a.f.9:02 AM

    If Germany lets Greece off the hook, so to speak, for the debts what countries will line up behind Greece. it simply can not be sustained.

    WW II was WW II and although many Greeks were murdered by the Nazi's, if we are to use your logic, then a whole lot of other countries owe other countries a lot of money or a lot of breaks. Now going to happen. What the Nazi's did in WW II and what is happening today are 2 different things and a whole lot of different generations. If Greece "walks" on this depth what would happen if Italy decided to do the same? Their debt makes the Greek debt look like pocket change.

    Greece needs to get its tax system into line with other countries. They can't expect the Germans to pay for their failure. Not in this case. This was created by Greek governments.