'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Fourth Reich 

Over 100,000 people on the streets of Greece today, with protesters rioting in central Athens, resulting in the deaths of 3 bank workers, and Merkel, the German chancellor, is threatening the country, and by extension, Spain and Portugal, with additional punitive measures. The previous Christian Democrat Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, helped push the Balkans into a vicious cycle of ethnic conflict when he unilaterally recognized Croatia in 1991. Now, Merkel, displaying a similar ethnocentric blindness, persists in intensifying conflict within the eurozone, increasing the prospects of a chaotic dissolution of both the eurozone and the EU.

Meanwhile, the Guardian captures the intensity of what is happening in Greece:

At 2.03pm today, on the third floor of a neoclassical building in the heart of Athens, three people died – and Greece changed. As the bank employees tried to beat back the flames, ignited by a firebomb tossed into the building by protesters, the economic crisis enveloping the debt-stricken country not only claimed its first lives: it shifted from bewilderment and disappointment into violence carried on an unpredictable current of rage.

The young bank employees, a man and two women, one of them four months pregnant, died in the fire which came within an hour of irate protesters laying siege to the Greek parliament.

All of us are angry, very, very angry, bellowed Stella Stamou, a civil servant standing on a street corner, screaming herself hoarse, a block away from where the bank had been set alight.

You write that – angry, angry, angry, angry, she said, after participating in one of the biggest ever rallies to rock the capital since the return of democracy in 1974. Angry with our own politicians, angry with the IMF, angry with the EU, angry that we have lost income, angry that we have never been told the truth.

Across Athens today the signs of that anger were everywhere: in the central boulevards and squares that resembled a war zone, the burning cars, the burning hotels, the burning government buildings and rubbish bins and shattered windows and pavements.

How many more cities does Merkel want to go up in flames? If her statements yesterday are any indication, there is no limit, as long as they remain outside the boundaries of the Federal Republic.

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