Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Germany’s FOCUS magazine yesterday shed light on what may have happened to the arms of famous ancient Greek sculpture Aphrodite of Milos (Venus de Milo). The magazine's cover article wrapped a Greek flag around the love goddess' torso and showed her rudely gesticulating to the rest of Europe in an article titled “Frauds of the Euro Family”.

The German joke was not seen as an example of successful satire in the birthplace of Aristophanes, the father of the genre himself. Most Greeks viewed the desecration of the art work as an insult.

Those who say that the jest is well deserved following fudge ups in Greek statistics and the deficit that has made us a laughing stock would do well to look at the situation a little less simplistically. Is Germany without blame for our national plight? Let’s not forget scandals like Siemens, Hochtief, Skaramanga, Vodafone phone tappings, etc. Indeed, German companies have profited big time on the corpse of Greece. Take for instance the fact that Greece is forced to spend 4.3 percent of its GDP on defence systems to protect European borders and that equipment comes mainly from Germany. If we dig beneath the surface we will find that it is to Europe's benefit to keep Greece in the hot zone with Turkey.

Also, why don’t I hear anyone talking about Italy that has a public debt of 160 percent of its GDP or Spain or Ireland?

Ofcourse, if we are really interested in talking about fraud, we should look no further than Germany, a country that borrowed gold from Greece (actually got a loan at gun point) during the occupation of Greece in 1941-1944. It has been estimated that at today’s prices that loan (equivalent to 1.5 billion euros at the time) is worth close to 40 billion euros. West Germany had acknowledged and verified the existence of this loan but refused to pay because of the division of Germany. However, 20 years after the unification of Germany I think it is time for them to pay their debt. And this is a point that German journalists should remember before calling Greeks crooks.

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