With Mr. Papandreou, I became a champion of the “Greek Cause”. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that we both had been formed at the same university but, still: for once, here was a serious face with a serious demeanor and a very smooth and gallant way of handling himself. On one of his visits to Germany, I watched him in the company of Angela Merkel and the President of the German Chamber of Commerce. That President was the typical German professor; Merkel was the “Mutti”; and Mr. Papandreou showed class.
Perhaps showing class was all that Mr. Papandreou could do. There is ample evidence to that effect. However, whatever positive image he as a person could build up of his country, that image is gone. The price for having lost that image is something which future generations of Greeks will experience.
There are masses of Greeks who are going through extremely dire straits these days. There are, surprisingly, quite a lot of foreigners, sort of modern day Lord Byrons, who are discovering their passion for the Greek people. Perhaps a cult it being born.
But politics and finance are no places for sympathy and emotions. It’s the hard facts which count in order to make money move. This is no time for romantics.
The hard facts are that Greece has, justifyably or not, totally lost credibility and reputation. “Would you buy a used car from a Greek?” — how do you think Europeans would answer that question today?
A forgiveness of about 100 BN EUR in sovereign debt? That is an amazing number! I have no facts but I would guess that never before has so much debt been forgiven to a country in such a short period of time! A country of the First World, that is! This could be a world record which future Greek generations will, sadly, often be reminded of.
The impression settles down that EU-leaders have given up on Greece; that they have had “enough of Greece”. Give them one more (final?) shot of oxygen to gain time for the stabilization of banks and the ringfencing of Greece (and perhaps the French election) and then move on to more important matters.
Anyone with experience in banking knows that it takes time to build up credibility and reputation, but both can be lost in a short time. Once lost, they are gone for a long time.
I see no way how the Battle of Greece can still be won without a complete change of pace and scenery at the leadership levels of the country. Not only for the benefit of foreigners. Above all for the benefit of Greeks. I just can’t imagine that there is still a majority of Greeks who feel that their leadership is properly representing what Greece is all about.
Is this the call for an “Orange Revolution”? No, it is not. If anything, it is the call for a “Blue Revolution”; “blue” like in sky and sea of Greece. Should the rioteers of the streets of Athens be the leaders? No! The leaders should come from those decent, hard-working, friendly and open-hearted Greeks who, hopefully, still represent the majority of the population.
But the far better way would be for Greek leadership at all levels to act like the Japanese do. When Japanese leaders fail completely in their duties, they bow their heads and apologize to everyone they have caused damage to, and they leave office. Some even commit suicide. I am not pleading for suicides but I am definitely pleading for the Greek leadership to step aside and allow a completely new generation of Greeks to attempt a new beginning for the country!
In my view. this is the only way to keep the hope for winning the Battle of Greece alive!