Tag Archives: Greek debt crisis

New Year, no time

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

There was little to learn from the marathon meeting of PASOK’s political council this week apart from the fact that if he can preside over 12 hours of non-stop debate, former Prime Minister George Papandreou would soon find work as a telethon host if he chooses not to run for party leader again.

The lengthy and apparently pointless talks among some 40 PASOK heavyweights did, however, sum up perfectly the complete dislocation that now exists between political Greece and real Greece. It is likely that 2011 will go down as a watershed year in terms of the country’s democratic evolution, as the time when Greek decision-makers of all political persuasions found themselves so far behind the public that there was no hope of catching up.

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Umbrella union: 10 myths about Greece and the crisis

Animated illustration by Manos Symeonakis

There is a wonderful short documentary doing the rounds on the Internet at the moment courtesy of The New York Times. Directed by Errol Morris, the film focuses on the presence of the so-called “Umbrella Man” at the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. With the help of private detective and former philosophy professor Josiah Thompson, Morris paints the picture of the apparently sinister presence of a man holding a black umbrella on a sunny day in Dallas exactly at the point where Kennedy was shot.

However, Thompson goes on to point out that the Umbrella Man eventually came forward and explained that he was holding the umbrella as a protest against the appeasement policy of JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, when he was US ambassador to Britain before the Second World War. The umbrella was a visual reference to the British prime minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, who also carried one.

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A haircut for the bold or the bald?

Illustration by Ilias Makris

Some people will think that the haircut of 50 percent or so being proposed for holders of Greek debt is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Athens and unfair punishment for investors. They would be wrong on all counts.

The writedown, set to be finalized at the European Union leaders’ summit on Wednesday, is the result of failures by both parties. The banks and hedge funds made what they hoped would be a risk-free investment in a country that they knew was the most badly placed of all those standing on the shifting sands of the euro. The market should have factored in the structural problems that plagued both the single currency and Greece, but it didn’t. In accordance with the rules of the game, both sides will pay a price.

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The eurozone: In the red. A discussion

Joining host David Reed of the Missouri School of Journalism and guest Clark Boyd from PRI’s The World on Global Journalist, a half-hour weekly discussion of international news by a panel of journalists from around the world.

The topic of discussion? Greece and the eurozone crisis:

And, catching up with Jeff Santos on Revolution Boston.

Back to 2004? More like 1929

Illustration by Ilias Makris

He meant it as a warning, but when Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said a few days ago that Greeks’ incomes would be returning to 2004 levels, it could have been interpreted as the most optimistic thing the government has said for months.

In many ways, 2004 was the most hopeful year Greece experienced for decades. It had a growth rate that was the envy of many eurozone countries, it pulled off the miracle of successfully hosting the Olympic Games and the national soccer team became the biggest outsider to ever win the European Championships. It was a time when everything seemed possible.

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