I bought the tulips at the supermarket and stuck them in a vase. They were so yellow and cheerful, I was inspired to make this quick sketch, which somewhat improved my mood after the perusal of the Sunday papers.
Front page article – Greece’s place in some world rankings. We suck almost everywhere.
Competitivity? 81st place, after Uruguay (No. 1 is Switzerland).
Government effectiveness? 66th, after the Seychelles.
Functioning of institutions and development of the private sector? 74th after Panama.
Dealing with corruption? 102nd after Serbia.
Student performance? 43rd after Israel (China is top here.)
Even more pitiful is that our highest place (6th) is for child poverty percentages. So sad.
Meanwhile the ugly battle around the refugee crisis continues. With the closing of the borders, traffickers have been emboldened again – some even advertise on Facebook. There is also a thriving market in fake passports and identity papers. Alongside the stories of assistance from the Greek people (invitations to meals, taxi drivers who refuse to be paid, offers of hospitality in people’s homes) there are as many stories of exploitation (the government has had to impose a basic price for necessities such as bottled water and bread, with big fines for those who disobey) and instances of racism and anger against the refugees.
Criminality is bound to rise, and there are already instances of fights and robbery amongst the refugees themselves.
There was an article about the Turks who are accused of not doing enough; but they are swamped as well. There have been 150.000 births from Syrian parents in the last four years on Turkish soil. The government lacks the resources to provide for even the basic needs of these people, who are obliged to fend for themselves as best they can.
Both Greece and Turkey keep insisting that it’s an impossible task to close their borders. Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq is more than 1.500 km long, and Greece’s borders are either islands with miles of coastline or very mountainous and difficult to guard.
As long as the message that is filtering down is ‘Keep coming, you will find a way,’ the flow will not stop. And, looking at photograph of whole streets of totally bombed out apartment buildings in Syria, I fail to see how it possibly can.
Countries, starting with Turkey, are negotiating systems of checks and balances and asking for returns for every measure they take; however, the only possible solution is if everyone works towards a common goal. But even that has yet to be defined.
Other news included the Brexit, the American election campaign, the corruption scandal at FIFA, the terrible crisis in dry cargo shipping, the government’s negotiations with the ‘Troika’ regarding our debt, and the further increase in taxes.
I’ve a good mind to confine myself to fiction in the future…