Comments on the Joel Stein Article of July 2, 2012

By , June 22, 2012 11:25 PM

Dear Sirs:

I have been a  subscriber of TIME for a long time, but I was never before as intrigued by an article in your magazine as I was by Mr Stein’s article in the last issue, that of July 22, 2012, p.62.  I realize that The Awesome Column makes no pretense at serious thought, but this  writer’s historical ignorance astounds me, just the same. In that article Mr Stein  states  that the Greeks have not accomplished anything in the last 2200 years, when they fought the Fourth Macedonian War. Since Mr Stein chose the topic of “WAR” to judge the Greeks by, I will do the same and go back only 72 years, to the Second World War, which started in 1940.  If Mr Stein were somewhat  familiar with that war, he would realize that Greece played a pivotal role in its outcome.

Allow me to elaborate:

Greece,  with 1% of the Allied population, kept the Axis powers, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Albania in the battlefield for seven months, that is for 10% of the duration of that war: from October 28, 1940 to June 1, 1941. Compare that with the fact that  Germany  alone   had occupied Poland, France, Norway, Belgium, Holland and Denmark by doing battle for just seven weeks, and maybe you will agree that Greece played a significant and surprisingly beneficial  role in the outcome of that war.  The Axis lost more than 30,000 troops killed in occupying Greece, compared to 159 men they lost occupying Yugoslavia, which at that time was more than twice the size of Greece.

The result of this unexpectedly long Greek resistance was that Hitler lost his battle with the Soviet Union as well as  the Battle for the Mediterranean and for the Suez Canal. This conclusion was arrived at by Hitler himself, who recorded it in his last testament, three weeks before his suicide in the underground bunker of the chancellery in Berlin.

The life loss and the material damages suffered by Greece in the seven month -long  battle and the four year- long occupation  that followed
were immense. The  life loss amounts to 13% of the population,  much of it to famine and to executions. The  material damages caused by the pillage of the country, plus  the forced loan and the forced occupation expenses that had to be  paid by the Greek treasury to support the German troops in Greece and in North Africa,   the removal of antiquities from  museums, as well as of all gold, silver, nickel and copper (a removal that  took place under the expert supervision of German companies and archeologists) and finally the total destruction of the infrastructure and of 1700-1800 villages, correspond to more than 33 GDP’s of Greece. The war damages and the forced loan imposed on Greece were estimated and agreed upon internationally in November of 1946 in Paris, along with the damages suffered by Poland, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, France, Britain and other  countries. Greece has never received any of the war damages it was awarded in 1946 whereas most of the other countries have been compensated.

Before closing, I should mention that the present value of the war damages that Germany owes Greece today, by far exceeds the value of Greece’s current debts to Germany and others. I suppose that is an example of “unfairness”, another topic that Mr Stein touched on briefly in his article. For more details on the topic, Mr Stein may wish to visit   www.greece.org/blogs/reparations/wwii/

Thank You,

George C. Blytas, PhD,
Author of The First Victory, Greece in the Second World War.
COSMOS, 2009.

The 2nd NANOTECHNOLOGY Expo 2012

By , June 21, 2012 6:23 PM

Έλληνες επιστήμονες επικεφαλής σε 20 εργαστήρια νανοτεχνολογίας των ΗΠΑ

Έλληνες επιστήμονες έχουν ως επικεφαλής τουλάχιστον 20 εργαστήρια νανοτεχνολογίας στις ΗΠΑ! Οι ομάδες τους διαπρέπουν και διεκδικούν τις ανώτατες επιστημονικές διακρίσεις, δημιουργώντας πρωτοποριακά προϊόντα, που φιλοδοξούν ν’ αποσπάσουν το δικό τους μερίδιο σε μια ευρύτερη παγκόσμια αγορά (αυτή της νανοτεχνολογίας) 500-600 δισ. ευρώ σήμερα, που προβλέπεται να φτάσει το 1,5 τρισ. σε μόλις τρία χρόνια από σήμερα, το 2015!…
Περισσότερα εδώ στην Καθημερινή

Also see information about the conference:
The 2nd NANOTEXNOLOGY Expo 2012 – 2-6 June, Thessaloniki, Greece

Bankers at the Gates

By , June 21, 2012 11:29 AM

New York Times – Op Ed by Peter Frankopan, director of the Center for Byzantine Research at Oxford.

“Few Greeks have a good word to say about the European banking system these days. They believe it’s the real reason for their current crisis, having pushed easy money on their politicians and now demanding a pound of financial flesh…”

Read full article at NYT

Deposits going back into Greek banks

By , June 20, 2012 11:29 PM

Greeks had withdrawn up to $1 billion a day from major banks before Sunday’s vote on fear of leftist victory will mean return to drachma….
More here:deposits trickle back into the Greek banks – Reuters

Επιστρέφουν οι καταθέσεις στις τράπεζες

“Από τη Δευτέρα οι καταθέτες ακυρώνουν τις εντολές για αναλήψεις μετρητών, ενώ είχαμε και τις πρώτες εισροές κεφαλαίων στις τράπεζες από εκείνους που «έκρυβαν» τα χρήματά τους στα «σεντούκια»….
Περισσότερα εδώ – Έθνος

Statements and opinions from Greek polititions and Eurozone leaders – a personal viewpoint

By , June 17, 2012 2:07 PM

General opinion of economists are that, without closer links and financial federation, the Eurozone will splinter. A EuroBank availanle to all countries, EuroBonds, the same tax policy and social security policy is needed throughout the Eurozone. If that really happened the Euro could be the strongest currency and Europe the global powerhouse, with Eurosceptic Britain, now in a double-dip recession due to UK austerity measures, losing out. Austerity without growth does not work, the 1930s depression was caused by that after WW!, current Eurozone policy is the same as that imposed on Germany after WWI, which led to Hitler. Only West Germany benefited from a Marshall Plan and that was created before West Germany existed.

After 25% of votes have been counted the results is in doubt, and PASOK stated that it would not form a coalition with ND. ND is leading by approximately 5% over SYRIZA and Angela Merkell has stated that Greece could negotiate for more time to pay, in order to allow growth.

During interviews with former PM Papendreaou, an ND candidate and two economists the following was stated on British BBC news.

From the 25% of votes counted so far, ND 30.8%, SYRIZA 25.7%. Exit polls suggest that ND will get the extra 50 votes, 127 ND, SYRIZA 72. PASOK 13.8% from exit polls. Merkel says Greece will be given more time if the memorandum is kept. In a UK interview with Papendreau he said that the state needs reform but the old parties don’t want political reform, SYRIZA does but its policy would cause Greece to be thrown out of Euro with a 20% cut in wages above that under the memorandum and problems importing anything. He said that Greece has shown the weakness of the Eurozone and markets will have no trust until there is close fiscal union between all Euro countries plus more public accountability for Brussels.

For me this means that both parties have something to offer to improve Greece in the future, and if a coalition between the two leading parties could be formed it is possible that politicians would, for once, act in the interests of the country andf the people. But I fear it highly unlikely that there can be a coalition between the two parties.

Angela Merkel’s statement was made after polls closed, so I think this to be absolute truth. That there is room to ease up according to the promises of ND but Germany and other EU countries see SYRIZA as a party using either bluff or blackmail and there is an absolute refusal to give in to either. Giving in to that extent could be the beginning of the complete break-up of the Eirozone in the same way as paying ransoms for hostages encourages more hostage-taking. The USA compares the effect of Greece leaving the Euro on the global economy as equivalent to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which was the beginning of the 2008 global credit crunch for the same reason, the intertwining of global money markets.

From my reading of global history and the obvious fact that austerity with no growth can only lead to a worsening situation with greater deby, as seen in the Eurozone by Greece, and outside by the UK, which kept it’s own currency but voluntarilarily embarhed on extreme austerity, these countries are both in recession. Before extreme austerity was imposed in 2010 the UK was slowly moving into growth, now austerity measures have driven the country back into recession.

If the fiscal plans for Germany after WWI are studied, such as the Young plan can be seen as the same as used now in Greece. This plan led to Hitlar gaining power. In order to avoid a repeat situation the Marshall Plan was instituted by Germany after WWII, that plan cancelled all debts and blocked all repayments. Germany is now the wealthiest country in the EU because of the Marshall Plan.

I see the future of Greece that must allow growth and reform government plus state employment, encouraging private investment. Would the people trust there government more if the imunity enshrined in the constitution were removed? If income tax was at the level of other EU countries and everybody had to pay tax, would there be more trust?

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