German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Greece on EU business. A bold visit when you consider that many Greeks hold her in some ways responsible for their current economic woes. It is not so much a belief that she created Greece's financial chaos but that she has been pulling the strings of those negotiating bail outs to the troubled country. This means that those who are at the sharp end of EU austerity measures hold her to blame.
Of course it is true that she has to protect the interests of her own people. Each leader should be doing that. Some compassion is needed in such dire times though. Already we have heard many comparing the financial bail out Germany received after the Second World War to current bail outs. They of course did not have to pay money back. Yet the war it has to be said was created by Germany.
Times have moved on but of course the older generation will remember Germany during its darkest days. oIld wounds do not always heal.
Expecting protests on the streets of Athens today police were out in force. 7,000 police officers, secret agents, snipers and commandos have been deployed in the Capital. Surprising perhaps when you consider public sector worker job cuts. They are after all public servants also. Perhaps the Greek administration erred on the side of caution maintaining high numbers of police officers for when times get tough. They may be tough now but could get so much tougher.
Merkel landed this morning in Athens. Already a Swastika flag has been burned by protesters. Some you see believe that having been unable to dominate Europe by force in the past, modern Germany wants to dominate by the economic route.
Around 25,000 protesters gathered in Syntagma Square. Stcks and stones were thrown although initially the violence had only involved a minority of protesters. In the last few minutes police have fired teargas at protesters. Things are beginning to take a turn for the worse.
Teargas is the order of the day in Europe and beyond it seems. In Paris a jobs protest outside of an Auto show resulted in police firing tear gas canisters into the crowd.
There will be protests throughout today in Greece. The leader of the main opposition party Syriza has called upon Greeks to get on the streets to show Merkel the real Greece.
Late yesterday protest gathering was banned by the Greek authorities. The people have opted to ignore this ban. It is laughable when you consider the West's opinion of Russia if it tries to curb protests. As usual we play the Hypocritical card and hope people have short memories.
Apart from Merkel and the eyes of the World witnessing Nazi flag burning, plus some in the crowd wearing nazi uniforms, banners were carried stating, "Merkel out, Greece is not your colony" and "This is not a European Union, it's slavery".
And that dear readers is the truth of the matter. The elite cause the mess and carry on regardless. Those less able to pick themselves up and start again suffer. Those who worked hard to make a lfve for themselves lose everything and no-one cares. Those who run banking systems, stock exchanges and governmnet pull the strings but care nothing for the man, woman or child on the street.
Merkel is in Greece to offer support to the Greek administration given the task of formulating a workable austerity package for the country. She will not care about those who are bleeding. She wants to make sure that the cuts go deep enough. She also has a vested interest in ensuring that Greece stays in the EU. The German people have money committed to this venture.
Merkel is the first German leader to visit Greece in decades. The media may class her visit as symbolic but the Greek people may see it as a red rag to a bull. A person rubbing salt into raw wounds.
Late Monday protest gathering on Greece was banned. Most people have chosen to ignore that. It is laughable when you consider the West's stance when Russia for example tries to curb its protesters. Yet once more the West is playing the hypocritical card and hoping that we all have short memories.
Updates will follow......
The second Greek Election in just six weeks is over. In reality though it is far from over. The winner by a majority was the New Democracy Party with 29.7% of the vote. It secured 129/300 seats. Hardly a resounding vote of confidence from the people. Enough however to form a government if they can find a political party willing to do business with them.
The Greek Parliament and the people now face many challenges. First and foremost of course is forming a government and quick. Political vacuums are bad news. They can lead to military coups and revolutions.
Who the NDP choose or rather who is prepared to play ball could also impact on the Greek people. Second place in the election was won by the Syriza Party who took 26.9% of the vote and secured 71/300 seats. Such a close run race means that plenty of people will be happy with a New Democracy coalition, but many will not.
The New Democracy is a right wing party. If it works with the Pasok socialist party to form a coalition it may not work. However both of these parties are pro the EU bailout. In times like these political allies may come from opposing ideals. What is being seen as the most important factor is who is pro and who is anti the bailout.
Syriza is anti bailout. This party will be hard to ignore in any new parliament. With such a large number of seats and votes it will have a voice in government. This could mean that it will have power to wield.
Merkel in Germany and Obama in the US are happy that the New Democracy Party has won the majority. They of course do not have to live in Greece under the austerity measures previously agreed. It is fair to say that all Europeans leaders will be happy with the initial outcome of the Greek Elections. The money men and women who manipulate our lives have already expressed their pleasure. How so? By boosting the stock markets.
There is however still a long way to go.
All Antonis Samaras won in effect was the right to be first to hold coalition talks. If the Pasok Party teams up with Samaras it will be a similar situation to the UK. That is a coalition made up of the first and third place in the people's vote. Hardly the people's choice.
Both the Pasok and the New Democracy Party have governed Greece for many years. Both are therefore blamed by many for the economic crisis Greece is facing. Syriza being a fresh new party has said that it will not join forces with others to form a coalition.
No such moral stand point by the old guard.
Socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has already come up with a novel suggestion. He has proposed politicians forget the usual procedure and go for a four-party coalition between New Democracy, Syriza, PASOK and Democratic Left.
It is worth noting that anti bailout political parties saw their share of the second vote in Greece increase from six-weeks ago. The Neo Nazi Party Golden Dawn had its share of the vote reduced compared to the earlier election.
Europe may have breathed a sigh of relief but now it is holding its breath as it waits to see if forming a Greek government is possible. Germany has already warned Greece that the bailout is not open for re-negotiation.
In what for some will have been a surprise move, the Greek Cabinet has unanimously agreed to Prime Minister Papandreou's call for Greece to hold a referendum. In doing so the cabinet has in effect put its support behind the PM. Perhaps cabinet members feared he would resign, after all who would want to take over?
Currently Papandreou is in a no win situation.
He may have been temporary flavour of the month with Eurozone leaders such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, when he went along with their plans for Greece, but it must be for the Greek people to decide their future.
As this debt crisis in Greece has lumbered on the people have seen their standard of living savagely cut, violent protests in the street and less tourists visiting this wonderful country of theirs, which simply adds to financial woes.
At least now the people can make a choice. If they vote no to the debt package then it will probably mean that Greece will leave the Eurozone. In doing so they will attack the financial future of other countries in Europe, notably France and Germany. However if unity in Euorpe, as far as an economic community goes, is not possible so be it.
Why flog a dead horse.
One way or another we are reaching a make or break time as far as Europe and the EU goes.
The Greek emergency cabinet held today, November 2, 2011, was told that a referendum, possibly in December, would offer "a clear mandate" for the austerity measures demanded by eurozone partners. If the majority of the people vote "Yes" then this should put an end to some of Greece's problems, as far as the confidence of the people, disruption and strikes goes.
Already today the markets have tumbled further, on top of huge losses experienced yesterday. You can say that the Greeks are acting in a totally selfish manner but who can blame them? Eurozone and EU unity has become something of a standing joke in recent times. Each leader is simply protecting their own back yard and trading interests. Is it time to tear up the original design and start again?
The fact that such news of a referendum can cause such chaos in World Markets leaves this writer agreeing with the Occupy Protest Movement, that 1% of the people are controlling the finances and the future of the other 99%. That cannot be right, can it?