June 3, 2011

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Greek protestors determined to overthrow system altogether

The city squares of Greece every night fill up with families and people who are taking part in their own “indignant” rebellion. A revolt against “a system” that so unjustly bet against their unity and that wants to maintain their heterogeneous ideological identities and does not want them to come together. 

Most analysts believed that this new wave of protests would defuse quickly, while others spread rumours of panic and destruction. I only see peaceful protests, even though I am well aware that at any given moment with the right mix of propaganda it can turn ugly and even possibly violent.
Indeed, politics have once again gained their rightful place on city corners, in small cafes and around dinner tables. Topics such as the Constitution, which before were looked at as being “boring”, are now debated on every corner. Greek people have rose to the occasion, thrown away their apathy and every night flood city squares, streets, avenues and protest against what they feel is stripping away everything they know of that represents Hellenism.

Angry citizens have set up a camp in the central square of the capital, in a move modelled after the Spanish M-15 movement and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

Citizens are very angry about they impunity of Greek politicians they hold responsible for the crisis, as well as the dire state of the economy and waves of austerity demanded under international bailout. Under that plan, Greece was supposed to resume borrowing on financial markets in 2012 but that now seems increasingly unlikely, so the EU is preparing a new aid plan that would meet funding needs in 2012 and 2013. In return, the EU wants the Greek government to impose even more austerity and reform, including quick privatizations. The officials are checking Greece's fiscal progress to approve a 12 billion euro aid tranche -- the fifth under the current bailout -- and also new funding the country needs to avoid debt default.

But the protests are not only about Greece’s debt problems; some people are protesting over their civil rights while others are demonstrating against certain state policies. Nonetheless all voices join in harmony when screaming out “Kleftes, Kleftes” (Thieves, Thieves) to anyone that they see that represents “the system”.

People are determined to continue protesting until the current government steps down from power, taking with it the IMF and the Memorandum.  In fact last weekend, and after a rally of over 100,000 people organizers posted a message on their Facebook page calling for the messages of the protest to become more specific. Suggestions included demands for the International Monetary Fund to leave Greece, for Parliamentary immunity to be lifted and for audit commission to be set up to establish how the country’s debt was amassed.

The protests in Spain, Iceland, Portugal and other parts of Europe share common negative feelings against their political systems, their trade unions and especially the banking industry. In their view there is only one road and that is to revolt and overthrow the system altogether. They want to change everything "from top to bottom". Every night there are democratic assemblies held, just as in ancient Greece, and people take part in expressing their opinions on how our democracy can be improved and how to bring about change.

You do not hear plastic speeches from orators but rather simple solutions to complex issues. And every age group takes part, such as a heart warming speech by an elderly lady of 103 who asked her family to take her to Syntagma Square so she could show her support to her grandchildren and great grand children who are taking part in the demonstrations. Priceless. 
Much has been written and said about the protests, and many fear that they can turn violent. In fact many news sites have been warning of this. No one knows what is in store or “even planned”, one thing is for certain though, that people are determined to take this to the end.

I myself have come under attack by several people who describe my views on the protests as being “naive”. The only thing that I answer them is that I respect all those who sit on their couches and just wish things would change, but I am one of those people that wants things to change and that is a whole different ball game. This in my opinion requires defiance and it requires action.  

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