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Blue Monday: Supporting Greece

Kefalos, Kos Island

Blue Monday: Supporting Greece

The blue seas and skies of The Mediterranean. This is a view from near the castle in the old town of Kefalos across Kamari, where Simon and I stay, to Kastri Island, where we got married, all the way to the Mount Dikeos at the other end of Kos Island. It’s a small island made up of small communities. People look out for one another, they’re hardworking, welcoming, self-sufficient, ordinary folk of Greece. Much of the country is made up of islands very similar to Kos, with small communities who have, over the years, become very reliant on the tourist trade. It has saddened me to see the very countries who have turned these island into holiday destinations, enjoying the Greek hospitality year after year, turn on them in their hour of need.

While we were in Kos the media back in the UK had started to label this beautiful island a “Hellhole”. Why? Because refugees, fleeing for their lives, have arrived in Kos en route to Athens to claim asylum in Europe. What the press reported was a far cry from the truth and sparked a panic in the UK with people cancelling holidays and weddings for fear of “criminal gangs” roaming the streets. This has hit the Greek economy hard at a time when it desperately needs us to support them by continuing to holiday there.

Call me cynical, but I do wonder at the sources of some of the media-horror stories that have led to a downturn in tourism when the Greek people are being hit by austerity measures, enforced by the Eurozone, the IMF and the ECB. By reducing the very source of income that we have made Greece so reliant upon, the country becomes even less able to sustain an economy. With the influx of refugees from Syria the country is being pushed even further into debt. Why are we not helping? Who will benefit the most if Greece defaults, the banks collapse, the country leaves the Euro? Certainly not the ordinary citizens of Greece! It’s no secret that there are countries and corporations sitting in the wings waiting to buy up Greek assets. Ports, airports, the shipping industry. These are very lucrative prospects to some who would just love to buy them at the lowest price possible. Is this the true face of democracy and European “coΓΆperation”? It almost seems like a corporate hostile take-over!

These are just my thoughts and concerns for a country and people who I have come to love and feel at home with over the years. I’m supporting my friends on Kos and saying OXI to further austerity measures that punish the innocent and the poor, whilst doing nothing to resolve the debts and core issues faced by the country. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the current crisis, but please keep it relevant and free from abuse.

Smiling Sally

39 comments on “Blue Monday: Supporting Greece

  1. Hi Sarah,

    I give you Best Wishes for a long and happy marriage! Sorry, but I don’t know enough to comment on the sad state of Greece’s finances.

    Isn’t it fun finding blues to share? Thanks for playing today.

    Happy Blue Monday!

    • Thanks Sally πŸ™‚ The Mediterranean is certainly full of beautiful blues! Thank you for being honest in saying that you don’t know the situation well enough to comment. Many people will share opinions without fully understanding a situation. That’s not always a bad thing as debate can lead to a better understanding.

  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3148451/A-island-pretending-blind-benefits-8-500-pensioners-faked-aged-100-lawyers-claim-earn-just-12-000-New-book-reveals-Greeks-cheated-ruin.html

    This is the endemic nonsense and piss poor debt incurrment (like the US) that hesitates me to feel sorry…but, I get your point about the base level kindness of citizens…beautiful image….delete this comment…just wanted to share a sign of a sickness that is reflective of Marxism’s toll….they are head to dark times I fear….your kindness is lovely. Hugs loving girl.

    • Oh how I love the Daily Mail for its complete lack of journalistic integrity! This is the same paper that labelled Kos a Hellhole and reported that the refugees were all gangs of men who were criminals of the worst kind.

      I was there, it’s not a Hellhole and the refugees are families with young children, many of the adults professionals such as engineers, teachers, doctors etc. So I can tell you that the Daily Mail lied to you about all that. They have, over the years, also cooked up horrible scare stories and untruths about Crohn’s disease. I have over 20yrs personal expertise in Crohn’s so once again I know of their lies. Ask yourself this, if they will tell one lie to increase the sales of their paper, how many of their most controversial stories do you think you can really believe? I’m not going to say that the Greek people are saints but then neither are the British. It’s a known fact that in the UK about 0.3% of Welfare Benefits is claimed fraudulently but the media would still like the public to believe that just about anyone claiming benefits is a cheat. So that’s 99.7% of claimants being tarnished by the sins of a tiny minority, just to increase sales of papers and magazines and increase audience numbers to TV programs. I think that this is the kind of thing that is now being done to thousands of innocent Greeks. Thank you for complementing my kindness πŸ™‚ I do as I would be done by.

  3. The mainstream media never tells any truths. The call tabloids like the Enquirer garbage! I wonder….I am saddened for the people of Greece. Many years ago I met an older gentleman on a city bus. He was a WWII veteran. He said to me, “Young lady, people are people wherever you go, the government(s) is the evil.” I do not understand how the people, hard working and tax paying can always be left holding an empty bag of nothing! I pray!

    • Thanks Anne πŸ™‚ I think you met a wise man. My fears are that politics, media and large corporations are all far too linked together today. When you witness a lie being perpetrated so blatantly by the press and then watch the public take it as cold hard truth, it leaves a very sour taste in your mouth.

  4. Love the picture. The blues are so wonderful there ! πŸ™‚

    It is all so foolish and greedy. Yes they overspent, leading to borrowing, and others should not have to pick up the debt, then the Greeks should not have to pay back at rediculous interest rates. Therein lies the greed and ruin . No one likes being in debt and are keen to repay, but not to the extent of ruin

    • Thanks Jill πŸ™‚ Greece was never really in a financial position to be brought into the eurozone. The ECB sets rates that were never in favour of countries like Greece, Spain and Italy. The overspending should never have happened! A thoughtless and corrupt government sort the aid of several financial institutions to bypass the rules concerning the amount of money any country could borrow from the ECB. I don’t feel that an entire nation should be held responsible for these actions! Much of the current debt is interest on that original overspend. The financial institutions knew that their actions were illegal as did the politicians at the time. They were greedy and thought they could get away with what was essentially theft. They are the ones who should have been held responsible for that debt. That would have been fair justice.

  5. Thank you Sarah for this very intelligent, personally and well-researched post. I think you identify precisely and incisively the true culprits and the real victims, not only in Greece but also in our modern world controlled as it is by a self appointed elite, supported by the blinkered and gullible. Where people (the general populace) and the natural world no longer matter – are expendable – and the myth of money is held aloft as King.

  6. A lovely photo Sarah and many congratulations on your marriage to Simon. I did think of you when watching the news reports from Kos and wondering whether the influx of refugees were spoiling it for you. I do not read newspapers. I stopped reading them back in the 1980s when they suddenly became gossip mags about celebrities I have no interest in and full of speculation – not news.

    I fell in love with Greece as a very young 17 year old and again on every visit since. They are such generous people and I feel their pain and hope they will not have to leave the Eurozone. I hope they can find some way of repaying the debt without destroying businesses and lives. Many countries (and people) live in debt, it is wrong, IMO; if you don’t have the money then you shouldn’t spend it. So many people’s lives have been ruined because they live on borrowed money which eventually has to be paid back. (You may realise from this that I was raised in a family who never borrowed money other than a mortgage, and I try to live the same way – I hate owing money)

    A thoughtful post. Perhaps a reminder that we should all live within our means, and that includes governments.

    • Thanks Jude πŸ™‚ We had so many messages coming to us about what folks here were seeing on the news and in the papers but there really was no problem at all! We went to Rhodes for the day (a story in itself!) and saw a boat coming onto the beach by the harbour. There were exhausted looking families aboard who were being helped off by the Kos police and taken over to the station just across the road to be checked over, processed and given some food and water. They’re not causing any local trouble at all! Some of the men have been asking around about jobs but in the current situation there are none. The refugees are staying in a disused hotel just outside the main town. I spoke to a number of people who have visited to take emergency supplies along to them. Kos has several charities running trying to bring these poor people whatever aid they can! Refugees are ending up staying for far longer in the islands than was intended. They are all eventually passed to Athens for processing their asylum status and journeying to other parts of Europe. With all the cuts to public services there just aren’t enough people and resources to process them all in a timely fashion!

      I was brought up very much like yourself I think Jude. As I’ve gone through life it has become all to apparent at how quickly an individual can fall into financial hardship through no fault of their own. Serious illness or injury can cause immense hardship! I also know of a family who were financially ruined by the father’s business partner who embezzled huge sums of money from the company before destroying all evidence and making it less appealing for the banks to go after him. The family almost lost everything! I know another person who had a breakdown after the death of his wife and within three years had lost job, savings and the family home. Eventually he sought help for depression but it has been a hard road back to recovery and what’s lost is gone forever.

      People can find themselves destitute for a multitude of reasons, it’s not always their fault and I try not to judge anyone on their circumstances but how they try to live their lives.

      • It is a shame that people cannot be more tolerant. As you said, it is often the greedy minority who spoil things for the 97% of people who are trying to do their best for themselves and their families. I have been through very tough times myself and appreciate how difficult it can be to claw your way out of them. It hinges on a person’s determination and survival instincts. I was determined NOT to live on state handouts, but it wasn’t an easy process I can tell you.

  7. So glade the blu Monday is back! So beautiful and so happy you got married in Koa as you planned last year. Congratulations Sarah! We visited Athens and a couple of islands in 2009. Greek people then were telling us the crisis they might be facing…

  8. I feel very sorry for the Greek people because they have been badly let down by successive governments……..and the least I say about the troika of creditors the better……..idiots!! There is no point lending Greece more money, if all they are allowed to do with it is pay back existing loans to the same set of creditors. The only way they will get out of this mess is if Greece’s economy is given the chance to restructure and grow……but that will require writing-off some of the debt Greece owes and restructuring the rest so it can be paid back over a longer term. Im just not sure there is the political will or ability to make that kind of deal…..there certainly isn’t much unity on display in the European Union at the moment.

  9. Hi Sarah! Never been to Greece but have spent time in the Greek part of Cyprus, which was a place I felt I could certainly live in. Two things to say, I suppose. First, I agree with you entirely about the problems Greece has just now, and I certainly admire them for standing up to the EU over the austerity measures. I very much liked their “instant referendum” on the subject – which is something the UK would never dream of doing – far too much like democracy!

    But the Mediterranean migrant problem is gigantic, and the impression that I get is the at the EU is at best very slow at getting to grips with it, and that countries like Greece and Italy have just been left to get on with it. Adrian

    • Thanks Adrian πŸ™‚ Yes, I cheered when Tsipras called a referendum! I think the whole world should be taking more responsibility for people fleeing their homelands due to war and persecution. They’re victims of of global unrest. Innocents. There is a big difference between economic migration and asylum seeking. As an Australian born person I am utterly ashamed of their treatment of refugees and other migrants who are being forcibly taken to detention centres in Papa New Guinea. Why there? Because Australia has paid off an impoverished country to take responsibility for people it doesn’t want landing on Australian shores with a right to claim asylum! The Australian PM actually had the nerve to say that Europe should consider doing the same thing. It’s utterly disgraceful and completely immoral!

  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Sarah! Also my sympathy is on the side of Greece and all poor people in this rich and greedy Europe (and World).

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