Greece had been given "a choice of being executed or capitulating", its former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told the BBC on Saturday, 18. July 2015.
No, there is no much hope left. I repeat the mantra while staring at an immaculate magazine image of German minister of finance, Wolfgang Schauble. I really love the guy, he is my hero. Believe me. I know, it's hard to believe such a nonsense. What about Varoufakis? What a Varouf... ki... looser - conservative cynics sing the song of winners. They laugh at the man.
Really, what about Varoufakis? Not everybody has the guts to oppose the invincible owners of our destinies. Not everybody could do it so eloquently, so convincingly, so irreversibly as Yanis Varoufakis did. He is a modern time freedom fighter armed with his vision in macroeconomics.
In today's world, (political) freedom (sovereignty of a nation) is expressed in fiscal terms, and it is measured numerically. If anybody in global community were to try and challenge this dogma, she or he would be braking taboo for which there is a high price to be paid. Many freedom fighters have paid this price and the one often remembered is comandante Che Guevara.
Another one is Janis Varoufakis, the combative ex finance minister of Greece.
Janis Varoufakis managed to get the worst out of German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble. At first this was a popular point of view in Greece. Now it is spreading throughout Europe in shock. From the point of view of a conservative German, Schouble demonstrated firmness and defended the rules, which makes him so German.
On the other hand, if Janis Varoufakis was once PM Tsipras' left hand, then that is the one that has been amputated. “It was a cancerous limb”, German finance minister Schauble, hypothetically, could be heard as saying. It would not have been a first time for Schauble to use such metaphors when talking about the Greek crisis.
The Greek crisis...
Since the ancient times the Greek tragedy continues. Countless conflicts through the centuries have taken the nation, so often, to the point of humiliation. Repetitio est mater studiorum, says the Latin proverb but it does not answer the question in my mind; how many times one has to die before earning freedom to live according to its own free will? German philosophers, being known as the most prominent students of Greek philosophy, would probably answer that every freedom is conditional so is the free will. In order to conquer it, one must commit to it. But if the given conditions of commitment were unacceptable, or one had no capacity of surviving them, then walking away from it without being punished for making the choice would be assumed as freedom.
Otherwise it's not freedom but the opposite of it. It's a prison camp.
That's what the punitive EU, with the leadership of Merkel's Christian Democrats (whatever it means) is reminiscent of.
But how did all this Greek catharsis happen?
Brief history of modern Greek tragedy...
It all started with the fall of Constantinople. There was a 6 weeks siege of the impenetrable fortress by mighty Ottoman army, which started on 6. April 1453.* The siege will bring the Greek civilisation to its end, marking the beginning of 500 years of slavery to the Greeks and their neighbours, setting preconditions for many wars to come.
During the Greek War of Independence, the greatest among English poets, Lord Byron, came to Greece to fight for the liberation of Greeks, a movement initially conceived in Odessa, Russia, in 1814. by a group of Greek patriots that called themselves Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends). Byron died in Missolonghi in April 1824, almost exactly a year prior to the dramatic siege of Missolonghi. The siege lasted throughout a year and in April 1826. the Greeks were defeated but did not surrender. Instead, they continued with the struggle until 1930. when, finally, a sovereignty was achieved. It was short lived victory for the Greek nation, which once in its ancient past laid foundation of modern science, literature and the age of reasoning. The freedom was conditioned in spring 1832. by the amendment to the original 1830. London Protocol. Greece was given to the Bavarian prince Otto, who ruled as an absolutist until the revolution in 1843. when Greece became constitutional monarchy.
The square where the bloodless revolution took place was renamed, from Palace Square into Syntagma Square (Constitution Square). This very name will dramatically reverberate throughout history until today. Hundred and one year after the revolution, at the very end of WWII, after long bloody battles with ruthless German occupiers, Greek partisans finally won. They were the ones who supported Churchill's war efforts in the region and died for the cause. They were the ones that will be betrayed when British forces entered Athens 6 weeks after the liberation. It was a morning of 3.December 1944.
“This was the day, those 70 years ago this week, when the British army, still at war with Germany, opened fire upon – and gave locals who had collaborated with the Nazis the guns to fire upon – a civilian crowd demonstrating in support of the partisans with whom Britain had been allied for three years.
The crowd carried Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanted: “Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin’” in endorsement of the wartime alliance.
Twenty-eight civilians, mostly young boys and girls, were killed and hundreds injured. “We had all thought it would be a demonstration like any other,” Patríkios recalls. “Business as usual. Nobody expected a bloodbath”.
Britain’s logic was brutal and perfidious: Prime minister Winston Churchill considered the influence of the Communist Party within the resistance movement he had backed throughout the war – the National Liberation Front, EAM – to have grown stronger than he had calculated, sufficient to jeopardise his plan to return the Greek king to power and keep Communism at bay. So he switched allegiances to back the supporters of Hitler against his own erstwhile allies” - wrote Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith, published by The Guardian online on Sunday, 30. November 2014.
70 years later...
Seventy years later and Syriza came to the power in Syntagma Square, echoing the cry of betrayed partisans. This time there was no king to be entertained, but only humiliated, angry, destitute Greeks. And a new form of financial dictatorship – Germans disguised as creditors disguised as Europeans, hiding behind a continuously abused notion of demos in kratos while privatizing the country, conquering it once again. And then acting in disdain, almost irrationally, almost surely personally towards Greeks, wanting to break them, to show them who is the boss. Isn't it so ungerman?!?
The result. Wolfgang Schauble is still finance minister of Germans while Janis Varoufakis is no longer a Greek minister. Yes? Nope … that's not a result. Yes for a modern time cynic who believes that we are all ideally Wolfgangs, that Varoufakis is just a crazy idealist at best, narcissistic and dangerous boy at worst so he needs to grow up before he comes back to the school of reality. The proof is – he lost.
But... the shift of perception averts reality.
Dictatorial tone of Germans during negotiations did not impress me at all and I know a few more unimpressed boys and girls. Who the mac is that Wolfgang?! Suddenly he looks so familiar to me. Where have I seen him before? I don't give the mac, happy not to have TV...
What a growing population of Europeans feel for the Troika and Germans right now is contempt. What the same growing population feels for charismatic Varoufakis is sympathy and hope that he will continue his mission. The same for Tsipras who just have reshuffled his government, bringing new ministers in to replace dissidents. As a surprise for all, his choice were not technocrats or ministers from the opposition but again his Syriza members who, without doubt, have anti austerity politics in their blood.
Nothing is over yet, everything may be over with a blink of an eye. There is a British referendum coming, with fresh memories of German draconian approach to the Greeks, but before that, there are general elections in Spain. Germans are already trying to bring their voices down, with Angela Merkel talking of possible concessions to Greek debts after the bail out document, or to say it in Varoufakis words, the capitulation is signed.
Although at present there are apparent divisions between the two friends, both Varoufakis and Tsipras are aware of the results of their comradeship. Tsipras&Varoufakis company have installed, irreversibly, instability in the current european leadership by creating truly deep divisions in EU parliament. These two young politicians, both with the great future ahead, have stirred the waters of the european governing bodies by raising some important social as well as constitutional questions, challenging the business as usual approach. Eurocrats are enraged by the existence of such impertinent couple in their benches. The foundations of the church of Austerity are shaken and its priests are in panic. They survived this time, at the costs of nations. It was just a first shockwave.
If they don't surrender to the democratic demands of nations, the eurocrats are aware that a massive earthquake is still to come. That's the one that will shake them off.
Until that day comes, I close my diary. I wish to all of you that this day comes soon. If it does not come, it means you are not worth it...
*Those familiar with the historiography of Balkans will notice; many grand tragedies that apparently have had a major impact on regional therefore European history will start on that date - 6. April. Operation Marita, the invasion of Greece by Nazis, or Battle for Greece as known to the Greeks, started on 6. April 1941. That was the date when Hitler launched the Operation Punishment, destroying Belgrade for its disobedience. Sarajevo was liberated from Nazis on 6. April 1945. Forty seven years later, on 6. April 1992. the Bosnian civil war broke out, resulting in four years of siege and destruction of Sarajevo and its people.