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Editorial

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Mourir de honte

by Claude Cabanes

Shame on Them!

Translated Wednesday 15 February 2012, by Isabelle Métral and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Later on historians will be dumbfounded: the reports made by the great dailies’ correspondents, ours for instance (“Greece wrung dry”), Libération ("The like of it had not been seen in Greece since the Liberation”), and even our pro-Sarkozy Figaro (“Greece’s descent into Hell”) have brought home to their readers the deep abyss into which the Greek people is being hurled.

The long woeful litany is summed up in these few statements by an Athenian’s witness: “Everything is collapsing. We are living under an economic dictatorship. Greece is the laboratory where the peoples’ resistance is being tested. After us it will be the other European countries’ turn.” To us the forecast is clear enough to us!

Last Sunday night a majority of Greek deputies passed the new phase [1] in the people’s punishment: a comeback to a kind of latter-day stone-age. Germany heads the punishers’ cohort. The German Finance minister, “Gaul-leiter” Wolfgang Schäuble, was even heard to announce that “we are no longer content with Greece’s promises.” Frau Merkel is supervising the job, flanked by Mme Lagard who presides over the IMF, the ineffable Barroso, the head of the European Commission, and by the boss of the ECB. We want names, interior voices murmur. Shush! There will be more coming! Why ever should we mince our words, after all, when maximum indignity is being heaped upon this brother country of ours? In the centre of Athens, demonstrators have rubbed out the word Greece from the front of a bank and replaced it with “Berlin”….

The Greek people is being held in a vice between its State leadership – a leadership that has been corrupted to the core by cynical leaders - and capital, some big holders of which have fled away with 200 billion euros into “havens” that lie close to our French borders…During the month of January, the ECB put 500 billion euro (no less!) at the disposal of banks. At what rate? Two percent? You’re wide of the mark! The interest rate was just 1%. That tells the whole story. And Greece did not get anything.

In Paris le Monde’s columns show the prime minister looking away: Greece? Well, what about it? The French president is washing his hands of it, like Pilate: he is running after Frau Merkel. Concerning François Hollande, the crucial question is this: will he and his friends vote in favour of the deadly European Stabilization Mechanism in a few days?

"For a century and a half the hearts of the citizens of this country have been beating in unison with Greece.” So wrote Aragon. And they still are.

[1The plan voted by the Greek parliament last Sunday has the minimum wage cut by 22% and new slashes into public spending.


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