Archive for June 2012

Letter to my greek friends

June 16th, 2012 — 9:29am

The first time i came to your country was when i was sixteen. Came with the train to Athens and then obviously with a ship to the Kyklades. What an amazing country, how friendly you were. But i also loved your way of living, for instance when we had to embark one of those big ferries your strategy was just to open the doors and wait until everybody (including big trucks, animals, kids) managed to either enter or move out of the ship. I returned several times with my wife, kids and a lot of friends. And we will come this summer once more.
But let’s not talk memories and how beautiful your country is – you are in big trouble. And i know that many of you are not only suffering and fearing their sheer existence and how to buy food for your kids (not to mention their education and their fear to never get a job), but you also feel guilty for what has happened to your country, and perhaps even more guilty what people are telling you will happen to the european union if you finally fail.
Because everything seems so obvious. Your government is spending more money than what they earn. There is a lot of debt. You cheated when entering the EU-System and now everyone feels like you created all this mess on your own.
But hold on.
Besides feeling terribly sorry when i see how your people are suffering, how people are living on the streets and fighting for their living just because there is no money for food and clothes for their babies – besides this.
And also besides the fact that you indeed are dealing with many things (like taxes for example) in a non optimal way – but which country in the EU could claim to not have problems like this? Italy? Germany? Which country did not rely on increasing their debt over the last 10 years? Not a single one.
So first of all i have the deep feeling, that you are suffering from something that was created by all of us and that we should all suffer from (or go to the root and change the whole thing). And given the fact that almost all EU countries are suffering from the same economical problems it’s so absolutely disproportionate what we are seeing on the news every evening. So please stop feeling guilty – even the cheating at the beginning should not be an exception simply because everyone knew, right? And if there is anyone that should feel guilty it’s the managers of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and their friends plus the ones on the political side who failed to implement efficient controls for the financial system.

And now to the central point. I am not an economist, but in times when even professors in economy seem to fail explaining what is going on that does not have to be a bad thing. So why did everyone know that you were cheating with the EU entrance criteria and no one stopped you? Why did we create a worldwide financial system that not only allowed the huge amounts of debt but also created unbelievable amount of profit for a few on top of it? And finally – why is my country, Germany doing so well where everyone is suffering?
Oh yes, we are more efficient, working harder, retiring at 67 and not 59. Sorry to forget.
Please my greek friends – do not believe this shit.
The European Union is one of the most fascinating political projects of our times and i always feel a little bit proud and amazed when i see those huge buildings in Brussels. And i truly believe that we should invest everything to create a true european union – built for people, humanity and democracy. But let’s get real. The European Union, especially the EURO was mainly built in favor oft he strongest members of that Union (and their big companies and banks) to create a unified market and a strong currency so that we can sell our goods to your country and easily move around money and let the financial system flourish.
Now this system crashed, and we should all have in our minds why it crashed and what actually crashed. Because it was not your country in the beginning but the Banking system, right? The system is actually shouting at you “don’t mess with the banks!”. And i think “we should start messing around with them”.
My dear Greek friends, please stop feeling guilty. And take our money, it’s actually yours. You are not only a beautiful country but almost everything that constitutes our democracy started on your ground. We have to fix the mess we created which is a system built to make money for a few and let the rest suffer or work for nothing. You can be a starting point to fix this, but unfortunately it’s not the time for dreams.

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