This Easter, more and more Greeks wish you “good Resurrection!” in place of the traditional “happy Easter!” Many are more explicit and wish you “a good Resurrection for our Country!” I wonder, however, how many of us really mean it? I have a strong suspicion that this is one more of our usual exercises in subconscious mythology and escape from hard realities?
The true Resurrection of Christ, followed upon His voluntary Crucifixion aiming at the forgiveness of sins. The vast majority of Greeks, in no way link our current tragic predicament to our own national sins, let alone a voluntary crucifixion of our Nation. Dark foreign schemers, such as Zionists, the New Order, Shauble or the IMF are the culprits; everybody else except us. As the responsibility for the fall of Constantinople and the ensuing 400 years of slavery, lay with the Pope or Venice and not our own mistakes and decline.
To start with, if we claim that we are true Christian Orthodox, we should not attempt such unfounded or even blasphemous similes. Secondly, the “Resurrection of our Nation”, which is our ardent and rightful wish, will not occur as the natural outcome of some involuntary crucifixion evilly conceived in the tartars of globalisation, but only as the result of a conscious and complete change of mind – a repentance for our sins (if we wish to stick to religious terms). It would be extremely useful to recap some real facts.
In 1981, Greece was miles away from even a remote possibility of bankruptcy. Public debt stood at 30% of gross domestic product (gdp), the third best in Europe. Even that, was fully accounted for by a vigorous programme of public investment; not a penny went to public spending.
Then the late Andreas Papandreou came to power and bribed the Greek people with 400.000 new appointments, in the public sector, as well as the automatic scaling of salaries and wages to the price index. The new paper money that flowed into the pockets of the people, was adeptly siphoned out of their back pocket by a rampaging inflation that climbed to 25% per annum and two devaluations, which stole from the drachma 200 percent of its value vis-à-vis the dollar and the deutsche mark in eight years. The budget deficit flared to an unprecedented 17.6 percent of gdp.
Why people brought Andreas into power? As said at the time “they were tired of strict Karamanlis” and they believed in the “Change” promised by Andreas. The Mitsotakis government, in 1990-93, put some order into fiscal matters and carried out an in depth reform of the social insurance scheme that gave it a 10-year lease of life. The “new PASOK” governments that followed (under the ill Andreas initially and then Simitis), partly undid some of the reform, but continued the fiscal effort and Greece managed to enter the Eurozone in 2001.
As soon as we entered the eurozone and saw for the first time incredibly low interest rates and very low inflation, banks, citizens and most importantly the State entered a spree of consumption and borrowing. Fiscal matters and the social insurance system were put on an auto-pilot of civil service appointments and gifts to the electorate. The planned social insurance reform of Minister Yannitsis was swiftly put to death and corruption returned en force, both in the second Simitis term and the 5 years of Karamanlis junior, during which New Democracy became a misprint of PASOK.
And after that? After thirty-three years, the Greek electorate got once more “tired of the parties that alternated in power” and decided to buy the “hope” of Tsipras, three times within 9 months.
Let us revert to theology, with which we started. Do you see in all this, any voluntary and guiltless crucifixion of our Nation, or rather a consciously crooked preference for the road of irresponsibility and of the lesser effort? The coveted “Resurrection of the Nation” can only happen if we change our mind (repent in Christian terms); If we own our mistakes and if we accept that the hateful three (or four?) Agreements, with our creditors, were due to our own sins and languish for spending and the Public Sector. Can we achieve our redemption from those and our return to the way of truth, virtue, honourable, hard work? Then there is hope and the mislabelled “Resurrection of the Nation” may come to reality.
This is the wish of the “Voice of Koumoundouros” to all of us. Good Resurrection!