I notice that there is a current trend for presenting “Open Letters” to those who we think could benefit from our advice. Not to be left behind, here is my contribution.
Firstly, I must confess that my open letters were first published as comments to posts on another blog. Since I only started my blog afterwards and I feel strongly about what I wrote, I wish to nail my colours to the mast, so to speak, and repeat these letters here.
One of the blogs that caught my attention early this year, was the blog of Ioannis Glivanos. In the beginning, I believe that he and I were on the same path, going in the same direction. More recently, our views & opinions have diverged somewhat. I do not always agree with his points of view but I like the way he presents his arguments. I think that it is imperative that we constantly re-evaluate the issues facing us in light of how events evolve and as we gain further knowledge. Adherence to dogma and maintaining a closed mind will not advance the cause of change, improvement and the finding of solutions to problems.
In response to a post in which he expressed his disillusionment and disappointment with how Yanis Varoufakis had handled the anti-austerity negotiations, I responded:
“iGlinavos old sport,
I think you need to step back a little and concentrate on the issues and not on the people involved, however much the personalities sway everyone’s emotions.
I have no doubt about your credentials and reading your blog these past months gives me the impression that:
1. You are passionate about saving the Greek people further pain. However, whether your recent recommendations will save Greece is another debatable issue.
2. Obviously, you have a good grasp of the details. However, sometimes it seems to me that you are also just caught up in the theoretical economics & subversive politics rather than to look for some creative solutions.
3. After such a disastrous outcome (although we have yet to see things all play out to the end), it is human nature to seek out a scapegoat. Resist this temptation.
I am not Greek but I have overwhelming sympathy for the suffering of the Greeks.
I am also an avid supporter of Yanis Varoufakis. Like you, I am also critical of some of his errors. I think he needs to rethink his European idealism for one. This goal of his surely wasted some time during these past 5 months, until he realised that tackling the Euro Power elites head on and trying to convince them to do things differently was not going to work.
I disagree with your analysis of the Referendum. I think it was a masterstroke. Unfortunately, Tsipras & Syriza did not have the courage to use the power that the people gave them to do what by then most intelligent people realised needed to be done. The Greeks, I think, have all the skills, tenacity and determination to rebuild their country. Just give it back to them – 100%. Kick out all the bankers, weed out the slackers and stop believing in the Euro Dream – it does not exist (unless you are one of the privileged elites).
However, myself and many others it seems, are not ready to consign YV to the scrapheap. There is still much more to come in this “Greek Tragedy”, I believe. And we are going to need all the foot-soldiers we can muster.
Please reconsider your position re YV. He had the courage to try, and even you will have to admit, we were not able to see in the end where his plans would have led us. Because, either way, Greece is still back to where it was 6 months ago, roughly speaking. What difference will a few more billions in debt make if you can’t repay it anyway?
Keep up the good debate and continue with the constructive criticism. But ease off on the Yanis-bashing, it’s not going to get us anywhere (unless of course, you are one of “them”).
This was at the time of the Greek Referendum in July and the Internet was red-hot with news reports, predictions and dire consequences. And iGlinavos’ blogpost was red-hot with comments. I still had more to say:
You must be getting tired of reading my two pence worth and, if I am becoming a pest, you can always cut me off. But, if not, here are some thoughts that have come to mind tonight.
As I sit here, following The Guardian’s live coverage of the unfolding events in Greece, it became too nerve-wracking to wait for the next snippet of “news” and I had to break away to try to settle my nervousness. I have ended up paging back on your blog, right to the very beginning. What a revelation it revealed, how far we have come, how much things have changed and many of us have changed too. Do you remember this?
Greece tonight has rejected the orthodoxy of austerity and shows the way to a better future for all in Europe.
To appreciate the importance of Syriza’s victory see the collection of results above. From the humble beginnings of 4+% to nearing 40% (according to estimates at the time of writing) is a triumph for Tsipras and also a total condemnation of austerity and retrenchment.
Let us hope that Europe will see this result as an opportunity for a change of course.
January 25, 2015″
What wonderful idealism! What great hope for a better future!
I felt the same way and I am sure Yanis Varoufakis did too.
As you know, I am not Greek. But you should have heard me shout for joy when I heard that Syriza had won the election. The ordinary people of Europe, in Spain, Italy and even in Germany, sensed a new spirit sweeping us along and leading us to a better future for ALL in Europe. And Greece would lead the way.
You are an expert in law. Yanis is an expert in economics. And there are many others who put forward credible suggestions. Intellectually, all of your arguments are sound and your facts are correct. You back up your proposals with extensive research. You engage your critics with logical debate. You explore and understand the legal framework that governs all of the issues. You leave nothing untouched in your search for the best outcome. But you cannot convince those, who have the power to change things, that your case has some merit. In fact, the law is flaunted, the economics are ignored and worse, when you dare mention the democratic process, you are laughed at.
Did we expect this? At an intellectual level I think not. We treated our peers as our equals. We gave them credit for the positions that they held and the power that they wielded. And when they laughed in our faces, we were only a little surprised…maybe they just did not hear us the first time round. So we repeated our story. And again. And again.
So what went wrong?
Many things, I suppose and the analysis will go on for a long time. Despite the failure (so far) to reverse the economic catastrophe of Greece, some important things have also been gained.
The European Dream, embodied in the old EU & Euro framework is dead or is slowly dying. I also believed in it once, but I am now willing to hammer a nail into its coffin.
And that is where I think we must start……forget about saving Europe. Lets start by saving Greece! Lets stop turning on one another. We, who were once comrades-in-arms, must re-muster our troops. We must learn from our past mistakes, but we must move onwards, together.
Today, we are the cusp of the most crucial time in Europe since WW2. Today is the day when Greeks in particular and Europeans in general must make the hardest of choices. Because that choice will determine the sort of future they will get for themselves and many generations to come.