On air: Greece is the word

Four days of violence and protests  may well bring an unpopular government down in a seemingly untroubled part of the EU. Today a general strike has been called to “up the ante”.

The shooting of a 15 year old boy by police appears to be the final straw for a population absolutely fed up with a deterioating quality of life, low wages and prospects and a political system defined by corruption and graft.

They say the anarchists are out burning down shops, but the wider problems of Greek society has brought everyone out demanding, not just a clamp down on violence (that too), but fundamental change.

Discontentment over alleged government corruption, the increasing gap between rich and poor, and the lack of jobs for young Greeks (unemployment runs at 15 per cent) has been bubbling away for a long time.

Rioting and street violence are nothing new in Greece. Major protests take place every couple of weeks, but what makes this different? How has it escalated into the worst rioting in decades?

A couple of blogs worth reading.

WHYS received an email this morning from Akis, from a local social forum in Greece:

the most direct reason that fuels these protests and riots, is the fact that, not only a kid got killed, but that nobody provides any assurance that this will not happen again. And when they do so, nobody believes them. Because in Greece no policeman ever gets condemned for anything.

This is Priya’s experience – On my very first visit to Athens 3 years ago, I was confronted with a shut down in the city centre. The reason? A Police protest. Police protesting aginst police brutality. I am not joking – they had video evidence. Ordinary police, on a previous march had been beaten up by the riot police. Another time, a march by pensioners was met by shocking levels of  brutality by police.

 It’s not just the police, but everyday corruption and scandal met by silence from the law.

On today’s show we’re going to be speaking to people in Greece, affected by and taking part in the protests and ex pats around the world.

Is Greece on the verge of collapse, as suggested by the headline in the popular daily Ta Nea Newspaper ? Or are the people just demonstrating their frustration, in the hope the government will listen?

43 Responses to “On air: Greece is the word”

  1. 1 abc
    December 10, 2008 at 12:21

    Greek seems to he a politically polarized country between the “socialists’ & the “capitalists”. All these events shatter one’s romantic perception of an idyllic world in the West. In fact, the mode of violence & the underlying causes & politics are no different from what we’re witnessing here in Nepal, except that unlike the European Greece, Nepal is a poor country – insignificant for making any news item in the world media.

  2. December 10, 2008 at 13:04

    All the people always need is the occasion to vent their spleen. The causes never provide the immediate trigger to outbursts of violence.

  3. 3 John in Salem
    December 10, 2008 at 13:41

    This kind of thing is usually the result of an internal power struggle. An old regime faces a new situation that requires innovation and flexibility and instead of trying to adapt it develops a seige mentality and becomes incapable of directing day-to-day governing. In less developed countries it can result in a failed state with regional warlords and total breakdowns of services.
    Greece has been through this before however, and it will most likely wind up with a meaningless election to endorse whoever has seized power.

  4. 4 VictorK
    December 10, 2008 at 14:54

    Within living memory Greece was part of Europe’s third world (along with Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Rumania and most of the Balkans). It’s made huge strides, especially helped by its membership of the European Union, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has still not shed many cultural practices that are not typically ‘European’ (i.e. Western European).

    It’s also a matter of simple fact that there is a line that divides Europe when it comes to financial probity and a strong civic culture. Above the line, in the north and west, corruption is minimal and public affairs are conducted more or less transparently and responsibly. Below the line, in the south and east, corruption is, to varying degrees, a fact of life and there is a much more fragile civic culture. The old French observation captures this pretty well – though unkindly, and not to the same extent today as, say, 50 years ago – ‘Africa begins south of the Pyrenees’!

    That’s why I don’t see much of story in this. Greece is not yet a ‘standard’ European country; its problems shouldn’t come as much as a surprise to anyone who knows Europe; in any event, rioting is not a big deal. Greece is not, to be put it bluntly, an important enough country for any of this to matter, and there don’t seem to be any broader issues of principle involved to warrant interest in current events outside its borders. Is WHYS being a bit too Euro-centric?

  5. 5 gary
    December 10, 2008 at 15:01

    Despite their imagined differences, people in every country are much the same. The sad occurrences in Greece should prompt simple questions for everyone. Ones like: How close is my country to its “tipping point?” Do I know the working of its power structures, or do I only imagine that I have this knowledge? Does my comfort level with the ways in which events seem currently to be transpiring obscure a more acute vision of discomfort in other parts my society? What are chances my descendants will guide my country’s course, or is dynasty at its heart?
    I do not advocate paranoia! However; while many Greek people are now clearly out of their comfort zone, their leaving it seems to have mostly been reactionary. This is very sad in consideration of their great mythological benefactor Prometheus. The simple lesson they and we should learn is; “Think ahead!”

  6. 6 Neil McGowan
    December 10, 2008 at 15:40

    Why is this tin-pot country of thieves and crooks allowed to dictate EU policy? Macedonia has been blocked for EU membership and NATO membership by a country whose only claim to legitimacy is that Socrates was born there two millenia ago.

    It’s time that the EU stood up to these Greek crooks.

  7. December 10, 2008 at 15:45

    Ongoing unrest over the shooting of a 15 year old boy by the police is just a trigger of the underlying problems facing Greek society. The list of demands by the protesters will put the current government under hard test. As an EU member, Greece should be immune from corruption and other abuses.

    On the whole Greek problems can’t be solved just by demonstrations. There should be the political will and a scheme to deal with them before things get out of hand. It seems that the Greeks still have a long way to go to realize their demands as the eradication of corruption, the narrowing of the disparity between the rich and the poor via a sound economic recovery will take time.

    A week Greece will be advantageous just to Turkey, a neighbour it loves to hate. However a stable Greece is beneficial to NATO and the EU. As a member of these two groups, it’s imperative that it should clean its house before getting outside prescriptions about what should be done.

  8. 8 Roberto
    December 10, 2008 at 16:01

    RE “” The shooting of a 15 year old boy by police appears to be the final straw for a population absolutely fed up with a deterioating quality of life, low wages and prospects and a political system defined by corruption and graft. “”

    ————— Is this Greece or the US of Mexico you’re talkin’ about?

    Greece has the same problems as the US including unregulated immigration. It appears the Athens Olympics did little to mitigate an outdated system of democracy and economy. Can’t wait to see the aftermath of the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics in the midst of the ongoing global financial fraud and meltdown.

    In the future the world may well celebrate Riot day instead of Earth day if no reform is coming.

    Hmmmmmm, well, ya think the current US dolt in chief will resign early to set an example for Greece and Mugabe? Looks to me like missions have been accomplished. They’ve run the ships of states into the iceberg. Might as well man the lifeboats.

  9. 9 Kamayoyo Kelvin from Zambia
    December 10, 2008 at 16:07

    It is a pity that things in Greece have turned like that and to that level. Here in Zambia one of the overzealous opposition political party is threatening to holder a protest over the escalating food prices. I have come to learn that its not only Africa or Asia where democracy is in deficit, corruption enormous and weak institutions but also even in Europe these things are prominent and are just shovered under the carpet. I know that the world perceive Africa at most times as one such can not be a role model on any principle on earth but believe me you most countries in Africa are economically peaceful and we are living happily despite the acute spread of HIV/AIDS which has been seemingly imposed on us.

    The opposition political party here in Zambia’s threats unlike in Greece seem not materialise because the police here is impartial and dedicated hence if they are going to engage them no will ever complain at all. Besides the atmosphere here is fine despite pockets of food shortages due to natural occurence i.e. season floods that affected most farmers in most parts of Zambia. We are a very peaceful and welcoming people for instance look at how we are accommodating willingly most of neighbours the Zimbabweans.

    The Greeks must stop this civil unrest and seek more conventional methodologies of airing their views and unearth feasible solutions.

    Kamayoyo Kelvin

  10. 10 Peter liu
    December 10, 2008 at 16:55

    1st Thailand now Greece. Where anarchy rules the state will fail. It makes totalitarian countries like China more resistance to democracy .

  11. 11 Donnamarie Leemann
    December 10, 2008 at 17:35

    Hi, World Have Your Say,

    As the modern-day inhabitants of the birthplace of democracy, one might think that the Greeks would know that the way to deal with a democratically elected government that is unresponsive, corrupt, mismanaged or otherwise not answering the needs of its electorate is for that electoral to raise money, awareness, to organize those dissatisfied citizens AND VOTE THE RASCALS OUT AND VOTE THEIR OWN TEAM IN!!!

    Just as we Americans have turned out the Bushies and voted in Obama.

    The so-called “demonstrators” in Greece who indiscriminately rioted and destroyed the property of others show a lack of control, maturity and intelligence. These people should not be allowed to succeed in overturning the Greek government, whatever its faults. Their riotous behavior disqualifies them, as it shows they do not act responsibly in civic affairs.

    They should shut up and get to work to change what ails their country in a peaceful and meaningful way: at the ballot box, not by rioting in the streets.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  12. 12 Jennifer
    December 10, 2008 at 17:41

    Re: Is Greece on the verge of collapse, as suggested by the headline in the popular daily Ta Nea Newspaper ? Or are the people just demonstrating their frustration, in the hope the government will listen?

    No government is perfect because people are not perfect. Corruption is rampant in politics because people who are elected sometimes lack morals and values which serve as a guide for their actions. The same goes for people within a community; some are not upstanding which creates an imbalance.

    I think Roberto may be right about instead of celebrating earth day in the future; we will be having riots because things do not go our way or we don’t get what we want fast enough. If you give people everything they want on a silver platter it will change nothing; they will simply have a new problem.

    Why are these individuals bombing stores and demolishing their communities? That seems counterproductive to their efforts to procure employment both because of the loss of businesses and also the chaos their actions are creating.

  13. 13 Ramesh
    December 10, 2008 at 17:46

    Spain has embraced western european style quite quickly. Ireland and Portugal are also doing very good compared to Greece. The greeks must think about what’s wrong with their society and why they are lagging behind literally every other country in the EU. These kinds of protests serve nothing as long as the greeks don’t do anything to correct themselves, socially and economically.

  14. 14 Dimitrios
    December 10, 2008 at 18:05

    I am a dual national of Greece and Australia. To this extent, I am able to see both societies from a unique perspective.

    I cannot imagine the same riots taking place in Australia for two reasons: 1) The Australian populace is not so politically energized to the same extent, and 2) The Australian authorities would simply not tolerate it.

    Insofar as the continuing riots in Greece, the problem is that the government is powerless to bring force to quell the anarchy. The Greek constitution provides limited powers to a ruling government to ensure rule of law by force when civil society breaks down and/or when a vociferous group of people take to the streets and engage in violence. Of course, political forces in opposition would relish such an opportunity to evoke nationalist fervor against a supposed totalitarian regime.

    The ruling centre-right government came to power through the democratic process on two successive occasions and has a mandate to govern the country. It is through this same democratic process that its fate should be decided henceforth.

    It is farcical that a coalition of vociferous anarchists, disfranchised individuals, and political opportunists should hold a democracy at gun point. The opposition forces in Greece are instrumental in creating this chaotic climate and should be held accountable as should the mobsters on the Streets.

    The Greek police and armed forces should restore order and allow the elected government to do its job. As for introspection on police operations, this is something which can take place later after the emergency situation has abated.

    It is always lamentable that a person should lose their life, particularly someone at the tender age of 15. It should not be forgotten however that this same individual was associated with a group of people who engaged in anti-social acts that brought relative danger to themselves and others around them. It is also lamentable that none of these supposed concerned individuals and politicians (from the opposition) have not shown interest in the loss of human life due to a narcotics problem exacerbated in recent years.

    I would go further to suggest that many of the vandals on the streets are responsible for violence during football matches, during commemorative celebrations, and probably light many of the wild fires that burn Greece every summer. Ironically, they enjoy tacit political support from minority parties right across the political spectrum.

    Corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and the like were even more prevalent when the main socialist opposition party (PASOK) was in power for the greater part of a decade. Andreas Papandreou presided over the Greek government at a time when many scandals took place (Koskotas scandal, etc). This is to say nothing about his fiscal irresponsibility which plunged the country in debt hitherto seen.

  15. 15 Archibald in Oregon
    December 10, 2008 at 19:08

    “If you give people everything they want on a silver platter it will change nothing; they will simply have a new problem.”

    That “silver platter” business stinks of those who have not traveled and seen how other people live and therefore implies judgement as to their lack of resolve. I would venture to guess, everyone wants a better quality of life and when you reach your wits end and people are being killed, you might get angry enough to riot. We are not talking about spoiled brats who want more than they deserve, these are people struggling to survive just like everyone else. I will be interested to see what you have to say when the riots start here in the US., it will not be long……..as you said “corruption is rampant………”

  16. 16 Lamii Kpargoi
    December 10, 2008 at 19:14

    I think the people are in their rights to protest, most especially against a bereft system. I am no fan of corrupt national institutions that have no regard for the lives of their own people. That’s the reason why I never allow the corrupt police force here in Liberia to bully me when they want to extort money. I always refuse and complain to their superiors but nothing is ever done by those in authority to remedy these situations.

  17. December 10, 2008 at 19:21

    According to the news reports I’ve read, the boy who was shot was throwing a firebomb at the police. Nobody seems to pay attention to this fact. I would say that this constitute a threat of severe bodily harm or death, and that using his weapon is fully justified.

  18. 18 Monica in DC
    December 10, 2008 at 19:23

    The biggest problem I have with this is the destruction and looting of private businesses. If you’re gonna be mad, take it out on the right people. I am sure the shopowner who’s store was looted had nothing to do with this horrible shooting, and is probably on your side anyway.

  19. 19 Steve
    December 10, 2008 at 19:24

    What? These people in Greece expected a politician to actually do what he said he was going to do? Were these voters born the day before the election?

  20. December 10, 2008 at 19:30

    I can see a similar thing happening in the UK if the police keep getting more and more powers, and the erosion of civil liberties, this government are putting the UK on track for a police state! They can’t even sack Jackqui Smith for her part in the raiding of parliament!

    She and the Speaker should have been fired!

    The people are getting rather tired of the way governments are not taking responsibility for their actions. And that is EU wide, not just Greece.

  21. 21 Matthew in Portland, OR
    December 10, 2008 at 19:34

    Not only could this happen in my country, it does. All the time. Since I’ve moved to Portland, there have been both shootings and beatings of citizens, they are often low income or persons of color. There are no riots here, just policemen using too much force on a regular basis.

  22. December 10, 2008 at 19:35

    I’m trying to both listen to the show and keep tabs on an evolving situation literally a few blocks down my street. I’ll update the photo annotation if anything happens in the next hour.

  23. 23 Sigh Canada
    December 10, 2008 at 19:36

    Sf California

    I’m glad its happening, I can also see this happening all over the world. I hope it does. The globe in general has been run by people who are not aware or don’t care for the desires and needs of the masses and the time is well over due for everyday people to speak up, act up, and get the communities, cities, and countries we desire. Greed and absent heartedness has been the ruler of day. I say, lets have at it, or continue to be sheep.

  24. 24 Steve
    December 10, 2008 at 19:44

    @ Matthew

    Please, police shootings of “innocent” people in the US are very rare. And as you pointed out, there are NO riots here as a response. What do shop owners have to do with the actions of the police? it doesn’t happen on a regular basis, not at all.

  25. 25 Matthew in Portland, OR
    December 10, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Steve Do you live here? Check out the Oregonian’s coverage of police violence here in Portland in the past 6 years. There has been a shooting of a young unarmed black woman in a car by a police officer. Yes, she may have been on drugs, but she was unarmed.

    As well, there was a mentally ill man who was beaten by policemen for urinating in public. He suffered from his ribs being shattered due to kicks, and he then died in police custody on the way to the hospital.

    So yes, it does happen. Luckily, we often bring our policemen to justice in this country.

    Now, don’t think that I don’t have the utmost respect for police officers keeping the peace in this town. I do. Policemen are amazing and have a very difficult job. I just feel that ultraviolence is not the solution to most situations.

  26. 26 Gene in Florida
    December 10, 2008 at 20:04

    Regarding ricochet round:

    As a law abiding US citizen, I (legally) own a wide variety of fire arms, which i use, as a hobby collector, for practice, on a daily basis.
    M1 Garand, 30.06 cal military rifle
    M1 carbine, .30 cal military rifle
    M4 tactical carbine (version of M16) 5.56 cal. military rifle
    Sig Sauer P220 .45 cal semi auto pistol
    Sig Sauer P225 9mm semi auto pistol
    Steyr MA1 9mm semi auto pistol

    I believe it is wise to accept opinions of those with actual experience in a given subjects, as opposed to what is offered by “spokespeople” and people with an obvious agenda.
    On that note, I would modestly like to offer the following opinion:
    The likelihood of this fatality being a result of a ricoche is slim to none.
    The likelihood of this depends on fire arm used and bullet type and design
    If anyone is able to provide this info, I will be able to give you an assessment close to 100% certainty, based on gelatin/ ballistic tests, information which is widely available.
    I believe establishing this fact objectively is of great importance, even if my opinion won’t hold up for one second in a Greek court….

  27. 27 Jennifer
    December 10, 2008 at 20:11

    @ Archibald

    Yes, people do expect things on a silver platter. And the moment they have it, they are quick to make further complaints. We will always have problems in society that need to be addressed. “At my wits end” I would not resort to rioting to get my point across. It is counterproductive in that it creates chaos. It makes people angry when they should be attempting to find appropriate solutions to things they see as problems. At the end of the day what are the end results of these riots? Is anything done to address anything or is there just chaos and destruction?

    I don’t have to worry about my future! I KNOW I am going to be just fine! 😉 I fully expect el presidente to provide for me! hahaha

  28. 28 Monica in DC
    December 10, 2008 at 20:17

    Police brutality in this country (USA) seems to be getting worse and worse. Not to mention, has anyone (American) noticed how the police cars don’t have “To Protect and Serve” on them anymore? At least, they don’t in my area, but they used to.

  29. 29 Hala
    December 10, 2008 at 20:23

    I am disgusted at both the Greek police and the rioters. It would be totally naive to actually believe that it’s all about that fifteen-year-old who was unjustifiably killed! I do not think that looting other people’s property achieves anything on the long run, and those people certainly lost my sympathy. The Greeks should understand that this is not the police property they’re destroying but businesses they may want to seek jobs at. Reactionary movements have never achieved anything and have also always been taken advantage of by political parties who love ignorant reactionary rioters.
    As a Lebanese person living in the U.S. I am at least proud to mention that after our prime minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, a million 14th of March supporters demonstrated and not a single car was damaged, and we eventually liberated our country from the actual Syrian presence on our ground.
    On the other hand, one should never forget that the Greek police has never been the most civilized police in the world. The officer who shot the youth and that other one who shot at the other youths during the funeral should certainly be brought to justice.
    I also understand the lack of trust and the gap that’s getting bigger and bigger between the peoples and their governments all around the world, and there is a certain lack of trust in the judicial systems. Corruption is everywhere and yet what do we do? We dare to have faith in yet another politician and think that he will change matters! Haven’t we learnt our lessons yet?
    Hala in Virginia

  30. 30 Christoforos
    December 10, 2008 at 20:33

    This pot has being boiling for a couple of years now … or better since the eighties … Greek people have heard over decades so many promises from politicians and others and nothing ever changes … we are going deeper an deeper every year …
    I guess the killing of this young boy was just the trigger
    Greece is going down the drain for many years now on all fronts, fires, government incapacity, rampaging corruption at all levels (micro to macro , from having to pay under the table to have proper medical treatment to huge billion Euro Scandals with politicians up to their neck in them like the Siemens / 2004 Olympics contracts) Sinking boats because the certification authority is owned by shipping companies, Ministers having created offshore companies to tax evade, the government cutting deals on taxation with the big ones and screwing anyone else, bailouts gifts to banks while we have the lowest spending on education of the whole EU and so on and so forth …

    I guess there are a lot of people that had enough and eruptions are and will be violent

    The burning and looting in Athens and the rest of Greece nevertheless only achieves one thing : it keeps the bulk of Greeks of all ages that really are fed up and want to show government they want change, off the streets and to their sofas. Who benefits? Who did it ? Are the reports of “agents provocateurs” infiltrating the demonstrations true ? are the pictures showing masked “anarchists” working behind police rows real? Are the TV aired videos of kids (13) been brutally beaten while looters ignored by police present ? I hope we will find out …

    The issue is much deeper though. The issue is that there even if elections come early and this government falls as some suggest, there is NO guarantee whatsoever that there will be anything different with any new government … the thing is rotten to the bone and it is going to take much more than rioting to change things.
    And people know that …

    The smell of decay and the certainty that tomorrow will be worst that today is what drives people mad …

    People need the certitude not the promise of a better future …

  31. December 10, 2008 at 22:24

    It’s all hell that the arnachists and political vultures are being revered, shame on you guys, shame on yot who support jealous people masquerading as protestors to plunder at other peoples hard earned investments, shame on you guys for cheering a bunch of disillusioned middleclass youth who think heaven will drop money without work, shame on you for applauding the youth who don’t diffentiate between fiction they read in text books and the reality we know out here, shame to the world for watching and commenting on a country some unpatriotic hooligans are delibaletly dragging greece to its economic death in the era of recession

  32. December 11, 2008 at 01:19

    Long live anarchy in Greece.

    These brave rebels deserve our support, it’s hard and tiring to fight oppression and hierarchy but they seem to be confronting it with a might that hasn’t been seen in years.

    They are brave people to be battling the police like that! They must really want to be free.

    Long Live the Greek Resistance!

  33. 33 Krzysztof
    December 11, 2008 at 01:27

    I think that some anger and social discontent reached its apogee after what had happened. And citizens’ cup of bitterness was filled to the brim after what had happened. we can see how the chain of protests, manifestations are spreading over the country. Now people do not fight against the police or even Greek government, but against thousands of other problems.
    They want to make use of this situation regardless the initial/ignition/ point. They just turn the tables.

  34. 34 DENNIS
    December 11, 2008 at 03:59

    I think that the Greek police is correct and in charging the officer with the criminal charges….

  35. 35 Dimitrios
    December 11, 2008 at 06:48

    In reference to comments by ViktorK above.

    You mention Greece has not shed many cultural practises that are not typically European (ie Wester European), however you fail to identify these and provide some linkage to the issues at hand. Where there no catastrophic race riots in France some years ago? Was the engagement of the IRA and British forces a figment of our imagination? Were the civilised ‘western’ Europeans not engaged in killing one another in two world wars – also in living memory? What about the imperialist past of the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, etc…

    As for WHYS being Eurocentric, personally I have had a gut full of hearing about the politics of the US and the perennial problems in the Middle-East, for which the US shares much of the blame.

    I think your memory is not wholly encompassing or at least selective.

  36. 36 chiti mulenga from Zambia
    December 11, 2008 at 09:28

    Dear BBC,

    I am saddened by the escalation of the protests in Greece. It is not time for the globe to look for solutions to settle protests now but it is a significant time to search for viable options to eradicate the effects of global financial credit crunch particularly its root cause and effects.

    So please the Greeks reflect and take a more sensible decisive approach and stop this unnecessary protests that have a huge potential to negate the productivity ability of most people that will have to spend more time on the streets sun burning in the name of protests.


    Chiti Mulenga

  37. December 11, 2008 at 09:58

    By the way,well known methods need not be used always in order to bring some people and some governments down.one “small” incidence could lead to a downfall.you dont have to be like what its said by EU and an african mercenary about Mugabe in order to get out of office or be removed by force.


  38. 38 VictorK
    December 11, 2008 at 13:12

    @Dimitrios: here’s Transparency International on the EU countries perceived as being most corrupt


    Greece ranks fifth. There are some interesting points made in the link about the culture of corruption in Greece, As if this is news to you.

    The 16 most corrupt countries are all from the south and east, as I previously noted.

    You presumably recall, some years ago, the successful demand by the then Greek Prime Minister, Papandreou, for huge transfers of money to his country from the EU coffers over several years, in exchange for Greece ending its veto on EU enlargement. An act of pure exploitative greed possible only for a corrupt and parasitic civic culture.

    The other points in your post are interesting but irrelevant. Greece is not, yet, quite ‘European’.

  39. December 11, 2008 at 13:32

    The Isles of Greece! The Isles of Greece!
    Where is Lord Byron then? Ancient Greece gave so much to so many that it would be a tragedy not to help her now!
    The legacy of Socrates in the 4th century B.C. is worth more than the output of all philosophers since. The world has a debt to Greece which it must discharge in the best tradition.
    Athens has fallen prey to the age of rebellion and popular dissatisfaction which has intermittently gripped France, Germany and Italy.

  40. 40 Jens
    December 11, 2008 at 22:56


    the beating of a black man and the misjustice that followed led to substantcient riots, if my memory does not let me down, you know rodney king…..

  41. 41 Nikolas
    December 13, 2008 at 21:43

    I have grown up in Greece my entire life, this is nothing new. I have always been proud to be Greek, proud of Greeks. This is the first time in my life that I am truly ashamed of Greeks. My country has many political and social problems, but burning stores and cars is not a solution to anything. The murder of a 16 year-old is tragic, but it is not the shop owners fault. The economy is already in a dire situation, how are we supposed to attract foreign investment, stability or even dare call ourselves an advanced country if we can’t control this lawlessness? I find it repulsive and hope that they are brought to justice. No one is mentioning that the police are underpayed and patronized on a regular basis for years. I am just saying that there are two sides of the story and in any case the destruction of property is not a solution to any problem.

  42. 42 Kalli
    December 15, 2008 at 10:16


    that’s a lovely theoretical debate you’re trying to get into there, “Greece is not, yet, quite ‘European’.”, and yet you clearly place Greece in the same pot as the rest of south/east Europe, so what exactly is European, the US-modeled UK, the franco-german axis, or the south/east which you view with such contempt?

    i really don’t blame you, it is a common affliction among american citizens to be completely ignorant when it comes to world politics, you do not have the means, or information needed to understand that this is a European wide phenomenon,
    and you conveniently overlook that the first protests to support greek protesters, were in germany, france, denmark, italy, spain, and the netherlands.

    so which of these countries are european, and which are not? take a good look at the definitions you use, and think before you speak.

  43. 43 Sotiris
    December 15, 2008 at 19:59

    The issue with Greece is that for the past 20 years the state ( and the people as well ) had to face many challenges, economic crisis, national issues , poor healthcare, inadequate education and so forth.

    Well you might say that these are the problems that every state has to deal with , what makes Greece so “special”?

    If you add ( or perhaps “multiply” ) the above mentioned problems with, a continued political incapability , state corruption , police’s increasing brutallity ( mainly due to the lack of proper training ) , mass media that are leveling down your IQ , increasing poverty & unemployement , to name just a few , then you have a “civil coktail” far more flamable than the molotovs thrown in the past days.

    However the issue here is :

    There have been many riots before ( talking specially ’bout the EU ) that had a bigger impact in their national societies , especially the 2005 French riots ( after the deaths of two 15 year old teens again from police forces ! ) None of these riots were “exported” making many EU countries to worry about the future.

    This fear is real now !

    So even if Greece was gonverned by corrupted , incapable or ( best case scenario ) marginally successfull polititians , even if Greece ( i red somewhere, the 3rd world of EU ) has lost chances of ambolishing corruption then have the rest of the EU countries done exactly the same? Of course not.

    So why is there fear among the leaders of EU countries?

    Perhaps the Greeks are making a point to the world, re-invent Democracy.

    Civil rights are being squeezed off woldwide , in the name of ghost-terrorrism more n more “security” is needed, healthcare is also being cut down ,and worst of all, the guys i voted for ( via Democratic elections ) are passing unpopular laws and legislations that extend disparsity.

    Well i thing the above paragraph apllies to most countries of todays “western civilization”.

    Another case with the Greek riots is the symbolic targets that are being selected by the “Masked ones” , mainly Banks , big franchises , and mobile phones service providers.

    That is mainly because all these years people are crying for better education , social services , better life in general. The state has no money to fund all these ( excuse ) in full extension. But when the economic crisis appears every damn state in the world has money to actually give away to banks! while the people gets more n more frustrated.

    The above paragraph is also applicable to many of your respective countries.

    Even in the countries whose peoples consider us as 3rd world.

    So perhaps its time for all of the world to make a stand and say, we will not tolerated your schemes any more , give us back OUR Democracy.

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