The cartoonist Michael Kountouris shares his opinions from Greece in advance of this weekend’s elections:
I have tried many times to write about the situation in Greece. And each time, after writing a few lines, I stopped, feeling confused, disappointed, sad and angry about all the things I had to recall and describe.
At this one moment I felt the need to speak to friends abroad about the situation in my country. The sequence of events over the last two years is a riddle to me. What headline would I give to this “correspondence”? Perhaps a Greek tragedy? A theatre of absurd? A farce, a comedy, a drama? I don’t know.
What I know is that Greeks are facing a daily attack to their incomes, their rights, freedom, hope, culture, dignity and honour.
Day by day we discover the depth of the corruption in our political system, corruption that goes way back. The saddest thing is that we also discover that our country has been vilified all over the world. Suddenly, Greeks became lazy, incompetent, outcasts, living at the expense of the rest of Europe, especially the Germans.
And yet, we are the same people who, during World War Two, were plundered of gold by the Germans and were forced to grant to the German Reich a ‘‘war loan’’ that was never paid back.
We are the same people who, for the past decades, are paying enormous amounts of money to buy American airplanes, German tanks, and French warships for the country’s defence. (If anyone wonders about defence, they can check the map and see England, Switzerland, France, Germany and their neighbouring countries and then see Greece and its own neighbouring countries).
This economical bleeding could have stopped if our allies had declared that the boundaries of Greece are also the boundaries of the EU. We have been exploited and now we are treated with complete irreverence and indecency.
We will be publishing the second part of Michael’s dispatch on Monday.