Archive for the ‘European Union’ Category

5428639632_7a02b23b3e_b

The euro ‘family’ has shown it is capable of real cruelty‘ – Suzanne Moore

Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker seek to justify their Greek bailout deal, but what kind of family asset-strips one of its members in broad daylight?
The seemingly indestructible Angela Merkel can go without sleep, and still manage a half smile and speak about Greece’s wish to remain in “the euro family”. This may sound reasonable and pleasant. All families have their little local difficulties, don’t they? But they work through them. People see reason. When they are forced to.

By infantilising Greece, Germany resembles a child who closes its own eyes and thinks we can not see it. We can. The world is watching what is being done to Greece in the name of euro stability.

It sees a nation stripped of its dignity, its sovereignty, its future.

What kind of family, we might ask, does this to one of its own members? Even Der Spiegel online described the conditions that have been outlined as “a catalogue of cruelties”, but perhaps we should now put it another way, given Jean-Claude Juncker has denied that the Greek people have been humiliated. Juncker instead says that this deal is a typical “European” compromise. Yes, we see.

The machinations of financial institutions (the troika) have been exposed as much as the institutions themselves. Who runs these banks, and for whom? Twitter slogans talk of the three world wars: the first waged with guns, the second with tanks and this third world war waged by banks. Extreme? Well, there clearly is more than one way to take over a country.

The Eurozone and Germany want regime change in Greece, or at least to split Syriza. Alexis Tsipras has fought tooth and nail for something resembling the debt restructuring that even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges is needed. The incompetence of a succession of Greek governments and tax evasion within Greece is not in doubt. But the creditors of the euro family knew this as they upped their loans, and must now delude themselves that everything they have done has been for the best. It hasn’t, and now that same family will go in and asset-strip in broad daylight a country that can no longer afford basic medicines. In three days Greece is supposed to push through heaps of legislation on privatisation, tax and pensions so it can be even poorer.

There is to be no debt forgiveness in this family. Tsipras has to sell this to his people so the banks can reopen. His endurance has been remarkable, and more will be needed. The unsustainability of Greek debt, even if the country could achieve growth, remains. The words trust and confidence keep being used but by the wrong people. Trust is gone in this European project. François Hollande, ever the pseudo–mediator, may rattle on about the history and culture of Greece. Its value has actually been shown. Its value is purely symbolic. It is worth nothing.

The euro family has been exposed as a loan-sharking conglomerate that cares nothing for democracy. This family is abusive. This “bailout”, which will be sold as being a cruel-to-be-kind deal is nothing of the sort. It is simply being cruel to be cruel.

~ Suzzane Moore
guardian.com

Please note
By mistake, this article by Suzzane Moore (from the Guardian) was published at this blog as a page in 2015. We are now publishing it as a post as it was meant to be. Thank you.
..

Advertisements

35774-tl

OLD SONG

The garden railings are wet from the rain like the poor who
are left outside
but as night falls a flute or a star speaks for the whole
universe —
when we were children we would hide under the stairs and when
we would come out we had left behind a royal fate
silence makes the world bigger, sorrow more just
and later as young men we hugged the first tree and
narrated our past to it
joyless days that you’ve passed yet you’ve left behind an emotional
memory
and I who was crazy for the future now in agony I observe the movement
of the clock’s fingers.

Until one night a man goes along the road singing.
Where have you heard this song before? You don’t remember.
Yet nostalgia of all you dreamed off shivers in that song. You
stand by the window
and listen as if enchanted. And suddenly at the turn of the road
the song stops. Everything vanishes. Quiet.
And what you’ll do now?

ΠΑΛΙΟ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΙ

Τα κάγκελα του κήπου υγρά απ’ τη βροχή σαν τους φτωχούς που
τους αφήνουν έξω
αλλά καθώς βραδιάζει ένα φλάουτο κάπου ή ένα άστρο συνηγορεί
για όλη την ανθρωπότητα —
σαν ήμασταν παιδιά κρυβόμαστε κάτω απ’ τη σκάλα κι όταν βγαί-
ναμε είχαμε αφήσει εκεί ένα βασιλικό πεπρωμένο
η σιωπή κάνει τον κόσμο πιο μεγάλο η θλίψη πιο δίκαο
κι αργότερα νέοι αγκαλιάσαμε το πρώτο δέντρο και του διηγηθή-
καμε τα περασμένα
άχαρες μέρες που φύγατε κι όμως αφήσατε μια ανάμνηση συγκινη-
τική
κι εγώ που υπήρξα τρελός για το αύριο κοιτάζω τώρα με αγωνία να
προχωρούν οι λεπτοδείχτες στα ρολόγια.

Ώσπου μια νύχτα ένα διαβάτης περνάει στο δρόμο τραγουδώντας.
Πού έχεις ξανακούσει το τραγούδι αυτό; Δε θυμάσαι.
Κι όμως η νοσταλγία όλων όσων ονειρεύτηκες τρέμει μες στο τρα-
γούδι. Στέκεσαι στο παράθυρο
κι ακούς σα μαγεμένος. Κι άξαφνα σε κάποια στροφή του δρόμου το
τραγούδι σβήνει. Όλα χάνονται. Ησυχία.
Και τώρα τί θα κάνεις;

~Tasos Livaditis, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2014

Szymborska_2011_(1)

ADVERTISEMENT

I am a tranquilizer.
I am effective at home.
I work well at the office
I take exams
I appear in court
I carefully mend broken crockery—
all you need do it take me
dissolve me under the tongue
all you need do is swallow me
just wash me down with water.

I know how to cope with misfortune
how to endure bad news
take the edge of injustice
make up for the absence of God
help pick out your widow’s weeds
What are you waiting for—
have faith in chemistry’s compassion.

You’re still a young man/woman
you really should settle down somehow.
Who said
life must be loved courageously?

Hand your abyss over to me—
I will line it with soft sleep
You’ll be grateful for
the four-footed landing.

Sell me your soul.
There’s no other buyer likely to turn up.

There’s no other devil left.

ΔΙΑΦΗΜΗΣΗ

Είμαι ναρκωτικό.
Επιδρώ καλά όταν με πιείς στο σπίτι.
Επιδρώ θετικά και στο γραφείο
περνάω εξετάσεις
παρουσιάζομαι στο δικαστήριο
ξανακολλώ σπασμένα κατσαρολικά—
μόνο πρέπει να με πιείς
να λυώσω κάτω απ’ τη γλώσσα σου
μόνο να με καταπιείς
με μια γουλιά νερό

Γνωρίζω να αναιρώ την ατυχία
να υπομένω τα δυσάρεστα νέα
να κάνω πιο ομαλή την αδικία
να εξαλείφω την έλλειψη του Θεού
να ελαφρύνω τον πόνο της χήρας
τί περιμένεις—
έχε εμπιστοσύνη στη συμπόνια της χημείας

Είσαι ακόμα νέα/νέος
καιρός να κατασταλλάξεις κάπου.
Ποιος είπε
ότι πρέπει να ζούμε τη ζούμε με θάρρος;

Έλα δώσε μου την άβυσσό σου
θα την απαλύνω με τον ύπνο
θα μ’ ευγνωμονείς
για την στα τέσσερα προσγείωσή σου

Πούλησέ μου την ψυχή σου.
Δεν υπάρχει άλλος αγοραστής.

THE PROFESSOR WALKS AGAIN

The professor has already died three times.
After the first death he was told to move his head.
After the second death he was told to sit up.
After the third he was even stood on his feet,
propped up by a stout and robust nanny:
let’s go for a nice walk now.

the brain has been badly damaged in an accident
look, it’s just a miracle the problems he’s overcome:
left right, light dark, tree grass, hurts eat.

Two plus two, professor?
Two, says the professor.
This time the answer’s better than before.

Hurts, grass, sit, bench.
And at the end of the path, once again, old as time,
cheerless, pallid,
thrice banished
the nanny they say is the real one.

The professor is just dying to be with her.
Once again he pulls away from us.

Ο ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΗΣ ΠΕΡΠΑΤΕΙ ΞΑΝΑ

Ο καθηγητής έχει πεθάνει τρεις φορές κιόλας.
Μετά τον πρώτο θάνατο του είπαν να κουνήσει το κεφάλι του.
Μετά τη δεύτερο θάνατο του είπαν να ανακάτσει.
Μετά την τρίτη φορά σηκωνόταν όρθιος
με τη βοήθεια της σθεναρής κι εποίμονης νοσοκόμας:
ας πάμε για ένα ωραίο περίπατο τώρα.

Ο εγκέφαλος είχε τραυματιστεί άσχημα απ’ το ατύχημα
κοίταξε, είναι θαύμα που ξεπέρασε όλες τις δυσκολίες:
αριστερό – δεξί, φως – σκοτάδι, δέντρο – γρασίδι, πονάει – τρώγε.

Δύο και δύο πόσα κάνουν, κύριε καθηγητά;
Δύο, απαντά εκείνος.
Αυτή τη φορά η απάντηση είναι καλύτερη από πριν.

Πονάει, γρασίδι, κάθησε, παγκάκι.
Και στο τέλος του μονοπατιού, ξανά, γέρος σαν τον χρόνο
αγέλαστος, κατάχλωμος
τρεις φορές τιμωρημένος
η νοσοκόμα αυτή είναι, λένε, είναι η καλύτερη.

Ο καθηγητής πεθαίνει να ` ναι μαζί της.
Για μια φορά ακόμα φεύγει μακριά μας.
RETURNS

He came home. Said nothing.
Through it was clear something unpleasant had happened.
Put his head under the blanket.
Drew up his knees.
He’s about forty, but not at this moment.
He exists—but only as in his mother’s belly
seven layers deep, in protective darkness.
Tomorrow he will give a lecture on homeostasis
in megagalactic cosmonautics.
For now he’s curled up, fallen asleep.

ΓΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Γύρισε στο σπίτι. Δεν είπε λέξη.
Παρ’ όλο που ήταν φανερό
ότι κάτι άσχημο είχε συμβεί.
Έχωσε το κεφάλι του κάτω απ’ την κουβέρτα.
Δίπλωσε τα πόδια του.
Είναι γύρω στα σαράντα αλλά όχι αυτή τη στιγμή.
Υπάρχει μόνο στης μάνας του την κοιλιά
μέσα σε επτά στρώματα προστατευτικό σκότος.
Αύριο θα δώσει μία διάλεξη για την ομοιοστατική
σε γιγάντιους γαλαξίες και κοσμοναυτική.
Για την ώρα έχει κουρνιάσει, και κοιμάται.

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. She is described as a “Mozart of Poetry”. In Poland, Szymborska’s books have reached sales rivaling prominent prose authors: although she once remarked in a poem, “Some Like Poetry” (“Niektórzy lubią poezję”), that no more than two out of a thousand people care for the art.
Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”. She became better known internationally as a result of this. Her work has been translated into English and many European languages, as well as into Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese.
Wisława Szymborska was born on 2 July 1923 in Prowent, Poland (now part of Kórnik, Poland), the daughter of Wincenty and Anna (née Rottermund) Szymborski. Her father was at that time the steward of Count Władysław Zamoyski, a Polish patriot and charitable patron. After the death of Count Zamoyski in 1924, her family moved to Toruń, and in 1931 to Kraków, where she lived and worked until her death in early 2012
When World War II broke out in 1939, she continued her education in underground classes. From 1943, she worked as a railroad employee and managed to avoid being deported to Germany as a forced labourer. It was during this time that her career as an artist began with illustrations for an English-language textbook. She also began writing stories and occasional poems. Beginning in 1945, she began studying Polish literature before switching to sociology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. There she soon became involved in the local writing scene, and met and was influenced by Czesław Miłosz. In March 1945, she published her first poem “Szukam słowa” (“Looking for words”) in the daily newspaper, Dziennik Polski. Her poems continued to be published in various newspapers and periodicals for a number of years. In 1948, she quit her studies without a degree, due to her poor financial circumstances; the same year, she married poet Adam Włodek, whom she divorced in 1954 (they remained close until Włodek’s death in 1986). Their union was childless. Around the time of her marriage she was working as a secretary for an educational biweekly magazine as well as an illustrator. Her first book was to be published in 1949, but did not pass censorship as it “did not meet socialist requirements”. Like many other intellectuals in post-war Poland, however, Szymborska adhered to the People’s Republic of Poland’s (PRL) official ideology early in her career, signing an infamous political petition from 8 February 1953, condemning Polish priests accused of treason in a show trial.[9][10][11] Her early work supported socialist themes, as seen in her debut collection Dlatego żyjemy (That is what we are living for), containing the poems “Lenin” and “Młodzieży budującej Nową Hutę” (“For the Youth who are building Nowa Huta”), about the construction of a Stalinist industrial town near Kraków. She became a member of the ruling Polish United Workers’ Party.
Like many communist intellectuals initially close to the official party line, Szymborska gradually grew estranged from socialist ideology and renounced her earlier political work. Although she did not officially leave the party until 1966, she began to establish contacts with dissidents. As early as 1957, she befriended Jerzy Giedroyc, the editor of the influential Paris-based emigré journal Kultura, to which she also contributed. In 1964, she opposed a Communist-backed protest to The Times against independent intellectuals, demanding freedom of speech instead.[12]
In 1953, Szymborska joined the staff of the literary review magazine Życie Literackie (Literary Life), where she continued to work until 1981 and from 1968 ran her own book review column, called Lektury Nadobowiązkowe. Many of her essays from this period were later published in book form. From 1981–83, she was an editor of the Kraków-based monthly periodical, NaGlos (OutLoud). In the 1980s, she intensified her oppositional activities, contributing to the samizdat periodical Arka under the pseudonym “Stańczykówna”, as well as to the Paris-based Kultura. The final collection published while Szymborska was still alive, Dwukropek, was chosen as the best book of 2006 by readers of Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza.[4] She also translated French literature into Polish, in particular Baroque poetry and the works of Agrippa d’Aubigné. In Germany, Szymborska was associated with her translator Karl Dedecius, who did much to popularize her works there.
~WIKIPEDIA

Βισλάβα Συμπόρσκα–Βιογραφία

Η Βισουάβα Σιμπόρσκα (Wislawa Szymborska) γεννήθηκε το 1923 στο Κούρνικ της Πολωνίας (περιοχή της επαρχίας Πόζναν) κι από εκεί μετακινήθηκε στα οκτώ της χρόνια στην Κρακοβία, τόπο μόνιμης διαμονής της έκτοτε, ως το θάνατό της, την 1η Φεβρουαρίου του 2012, σε ηλικία 88 ετών. Σπούδασε φιλολογία και κοινωνιολογία στο φημισμένο πανεπιστήμιο της πόλης και εμφανίστηκε για πρώτη φορά στην ποίηση το 1945. Μέχρι το 1996, που της απονεμήθηκε το βραβείο Νόμπελ Λογοτεχνίας, είχε εκδώσει μόλις εννέα ποιητικές συλλογές και τέσσερα βιβλία με δοκίμια, ενώ μετέφρασε έμμετρη γαλλική ποίηση και για ένα διάστημα (1967-1972) σχολίαζε τακτικά άσημους μάλλον ξένους και Πολωνούς λογοτέχνες. Τιμήθηκε με το Φιλολογικό Βραβείο της Κρακοβίας (1995), το Πολωνικό Κρατικό Βραβείο για την Τέχνη (1963), το Βραβείο Γκαίτε (1991) και το Βραβείο Χέρντερ (1995) και υπήρξε διδάκτορας της Τέχνης, τιμής ένεκεν, στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Πόζναν. Ανήκει μαζί με τους Ζμπίγκνιεβ Χέρμπερτ και Ταντέους Ρουζέβιτς στην κορυφή της πυραμίδας των μεταπολεμικών εκπροσώπων της λεγόμενης “Πολωνικής σχολής της ποίησης”, παρότι η αναγνώρισή της στην Ευρώπη, και ιδιαίτερα στον αγγλοσαξονικό χώρο έγινε πολύ αργότερα απ’ αυτούς.

Η Σιμπόρσκα από νωρίς διαγράφει το ποιητικό της κλίμα, γράφοντας ότι “δανείζεται λέξεις που βαραίνουν από πάθος και μετά προσπαθεί να τις κάνει να δείχνουν ελαφρές”. Η κλασικότροπη κομψότητα στον χειρισμό και την ανάπτυξη του ποιητικού της υλικού συνδυάζεται με μιαν ανάλαφρη προσέγγιση των πραγμάτων και έναν απατηλά εύθυμο σκεπτικισμό, όπου υφέρπει η επώδυνη συνείδηση της ανθρώπινης συνθήκης και περιπέτειας στον κόσμο, αλλά και η ζωντανή, εις πείσμα της θνητής μας μοίρας και της ιστορίας (όπου επαναλαμβάνεται συνήθως η τραγωδία), ελπίδα. Γιατί, για τη Σιμπόρσκα, ο κόσμος, παρά την ανασφάλεια, τον φόβο και το μίσος που εκτρέφει και καλλιεργεί η ανθρώπινη φύση μας, δεν παύει να προκαλεί και να εκπλήσσει, κι η φύση μαζί με την τέχνη παραμένουν πάντοτε οι καλύτεροι μεσίτες γι’ αυτό το όραμα (όπως κατέληξε στην εκδήλωση για την απονομή του Νόμπελ: “Οι ποιητές, φαίνεται, θα έχουν πάντοτε πολλή δουλειά”).

Κάποια από τα ποιήματα της Σιμπόρσκα, γραμμένα σε ανύποπτο χρόνο, αποκτούν μια δραματική επικαιρότητα σήμερα που ολόκληρη η ανθρωπότητα βιώνει το άγχος της τρομοκρατίας με μοναδική ένταση, και είναι δείγματα της βαθιάς ηθικής συνείδησης και εγρήγορσης που διατρέχει τελικά όλο το ποιητικό της έργο.

~Translation from the English into Greek by Manolis Aligizakis

596717

Greece is about to be completely dismantled and fed to profit-hungry corporations

The latest bailout has nothing to do with debt, but an experiment in capitalism so extreme that no other EU state would even dare try it.
 
by Nick Dearden
 
Greece is heading towards its third “bailout”. This time €86 billion is on the table, which will be packaged up by international lenders with a bundle of austerity and sent off to Greece, only to return to those same lenders in the very near future.
 
We all know the spiraling debt cannot and will not be repaid. We all know the austerity to which it is tied will make Greece’s depression worse. Yet it continues.
 
If we look deeper, however, we find that Europe is not led by the terminally confused. By taking those leaders at their word, we’re missing what’s really going on in Europe. In a nutshell, Greece is up for sale, and its workers, farmers and small businesses will have to be cleared out of the way.
 
Under the eye-watering privatization program, Greece is expected to hand over its €50 billion of its “valuable state assets” to an independent body under the control of the European institutions, who will proceed to sell them off. Airports, seaports, energy systems, land and property – everything must go. Sell your assets, their contrived argument goes, and you’ll be able to repay your debt.
 
But even in the narrow terms of the debate, selling off profitable or potentially profitable assets leaves a country less able to repay its debts. Unsurprisingly the most profitable assets are going under the hammer first. The country’s national lottery has already been bought up. Airports serving Greece’s holiday islands look likely to be sold on-long-term lease to a German airport operator.
 
The port of Peireus looks likely to be sold to a Chinese shipping company. Meanwhile, 490,000 square meters of Corfu beachfront have been snapped up by a US private equity fund. It has a 99-year lease for the bargain price of €23million. According to reporters, the privatization fund is examining another 40 uninhabited islands as well as a massive project on Rhodes which includes an obligatory golf course.
 
Side-by-side with the privatization is a very broad program of deregulation which declares war on workers, farmers and small businesses. Greece’s many laws that protect small business such as pharmacies, bakeries, and bookshops from competition with supermarkets and big businesses are to be swept away. These reforms are so specific that the EU is writing laws on bread measurements and milk expiry dates. Incredibly, Greece is even being told to make its Sunday opening laws more liberal than Germany’s. Truly a free market experiment is being put into place.
 
On labor, pensions are to suffer rapid cuts, minimum wages are to be reduced and collective bargaining is to be severely curtailed while it is to become easier to sack staff. All of this is far more extreme that many of Greece’s “creditor” countries have implemented themselves. Changes to tax includes a massive hike to that most regressive of taxes VAT, on a wide range of products.
 
Of course, reforms in some areas of Greece’s economy might be a good idea, and indeed Syriza came to power promising to make serious reforms in, for instance, taxation and pensions. But what is being imposed by the lending institutions is not a series of sensible “reforms”, but the establishment and micromanagement of radical ‘free market’ economics.
 
The privatization and deregulation bonanza opens vast new swathes of Greek society to areas where big business has never been able to set foot before. The hope is that this will generate big profits to keep big business growing, as well as providing an extreme model of what might be possible throughout Europe. Although what’s even more distasteful than the hypocrisy of European leaders forcing policies onto Greece that they themselves have not dared to argue for in their own countries, is the cynicism of those same leaders imposing policies that will benefit their own country’s corporations.
 
The intensity of the restructuring program currently being agreed for Greece should dispel any lingering notion that this is a well intentioned but misguided attempt to deal with a debt crisis. It is a cynical attempt to set up a corporate paradise in the Mediterranean, and must be resisted at all costs.
 
Source:
 http://dithen2010.blogspot.ca/

182446-nekriprosfygaslampedusa

DROWN WOMAN

With the sorrowful events that recently take place in Kos, Greece, the Facebook team “We say no to the Golden Dawn” posted the above photograph of a dead migrant woman raised from a boat that sank on October 2013 in the open sea outside the Italian island of Lambedousa.
The Facebook post writes the following:
“She was found floating on the waves as she is in this picture with her mobile phone, her wallet with a few small bills and pictures of her loved ones back home clenched onto her chest. She wouldn’t let the waves take away her only possessions, her beloved persons back home she didn’t want to feel alone the moment she felt the cold and death approaching.
There are many dead people on the shore. Many have no name. The news people talk of numbers, hundreds and hundreds of dead. No one knows their names. Who they’ve left behind? From whom they run away? What were their dreams? And when one says “the boats sink” this woman, this mother holds her dreams tight onto her breast.

“Let us remain…HUMAN”

~Translated from the Greek by Manolis Aligizakis

Με αφορμή τα θλιβερά περιστατικά που σημειώνονται τις τελευταίες ημέρες στην Κω, η ομάδα στο Facebook «Λέμε Όχι στη Χρυσή Αυγή» ανάρτησε μια φωτογραφία που ανήκει σε νεκρή πρόσφυγα που ανασύρθηκε από ναυάγιο που σημειώθηκε τον Οκτώβριο του 2013 στ’ ανοικτά της νήσου Λαμπεντούζα, στις ακτές της Ιταλίας.
Η σχετική ανάρτηση της ομάδας στο Facebook γράφει χαρακτηριστικά:
«Την βρήκαν στα κύματα έτσι, με το κινητό και το πορτοφόλι με τα λίγα λεφτά και τις φωτογραφίες των αγαπημένων της προσώπων στο στήθος. Δεν ήθελε να αφήσει στα κύματα της θάλασσας τα αγαπημένα της υπάρχοντα, δεν ήθελε να νιώσει μόνη τη στιγμή που αισθάνθηκε το κρύο και τον θανάτο να πλησιάζουν.
Υπάρχουν πολλά πτώματα στην παραλία. Πολλοί από αυτούς δεν έχουν ούτε ένα όνομα. Τα tg μιλάνε για αριθμούς, εκατοντάδες και εκατοντάδες νεκροί. Κανείς δεν ξέρει ποιοι είναι,ποιους άφησαν σπίτι, από τι τρέχουν, ποια ήταν τα όνειρά τους. Και όταν κάποιος λέει «βουλιάζουμε τα ποταμόπλοια» αυτή η γυναίκα, η μητέρα, , πιέζει ακόμα πιο δυνατά στο στήθος τα όνειρά της.
Ας παραμείνουμε ‘ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΙ’…».