When will there be good news?

I’ve been offline for a while, having been rather busy, but also because there’s been nothing I particularly wanted to write about. I had planned to go and visit another part of the Documenta Art Fair, but a general strike put a stop to that. To top it all, the weather has been foul; a hot wind dumping packets of dust upon us straight from Africa and, since yesterday, rain. We’re usually glad of a bit of rain at this time of the year, since everything is drying up fast, but today it’s like a monsoon, pouring down from a grey sky. The dog is refusing to go out, and I’m dreading a pile of poop will materialize next to the kitchen door…
Aaargghh.

 

Looking out on a watery world

 

Catching up on the news is doing nothing to improve my mood. The endless political bickering is intolerable. I wish they’d buckle down and do some work, instead of spending their time blaming each other for the ills that are besetting us.

As the endless negotiations between the Greek Authorities and our European controllers are winding towards a resolution, things continue to look grim. The constant quest for more money is centred on two things – raising taxes again (they are already sky-high) and cutting pensions further. Of course, there doesn’t seem to be any intention of cost-cutting in the public sector.

Consider the following figures:

Against a population of ย 3.5 million people in full employment, there are 1.4 million unemployed and more than 2.5 million pensioners. Nearly half of those are getting a pension below the poverty level. An average net salary is around 815 euro while around half a million people work part time for less than half that amount. Many are getting paid with a delay of three to five months.

Meanwhile, over 400.000 people have emigratedย in search of better opportunities, mostly those with high qualifications.

Even if my figures are a little off (it’s hard to know which articles are credible), they paint a bleak picture of the future. The professional classes have been decimated and there is a real danger that a large part of the population will slip into permanent poverty. The collapse of the productive and technological framework also seems impending.

It beggars belief how the powers-that-be can think that a country can be resurrected by selling off the national assets and impoverishing the population. They’re in a mad hunt for cash in total disregard of any other consideration. The cash will disappear into the usual black holes and then what? And who will benefit from all this? – because, surely, as always, someone will.

It was this bleak mood which tempted me into ‘borrowing’ today’s title from Kate Atkinson’s marvellous crime novel. For those of you who haven’t read it, I highly recommend it (it’s the third of a trilogy).

As I’m writing this, my chair has been jolted by an earthquake. A single tremor. Could it be an omen? But of what?

To vent my frustrations I will now go and slosh some paint around.

 

61 thoughts on “When will there be good news?

  1. For the benefit of British readers and thinkers, I would like to clarify that when Ms Kappa mentions the figure of an average net salary of 815 euros, she means monthly, not weekly, like we would mention in the UK. It makes the figure four times more grim, and grimmer still. Indeed, the gap between have and have nots widens daily, like sharp scissors that open, squeeze, then close and cut lifelines. That’s how grim it is. I started to sketch too, but for the life of me cannot be colourful like my dearest blogger friend. Thank you Ms Kappa.
    AGK

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  2. Oh my Marina-I have really no words for your beautiful Greece, my heritage lies in Crete as you know. The paintings are lovely as usual. America seems to be in an uproar lately? I try not to pay too much attention to the news media-I have a large family to take care of so, my time is spent and devoted to that daily. Hang in-Koukla Mou! x

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  3. Very good commentary about the status of things in Greece. It seems to me that there is a large and I mean very large underground economy which explains why things are not as bad as they appear. Having lived in Athens the last 2 years I see stores and restaurants full of customers which tells me that things can’t be bad for some Greeks. I volunteer at a Greek non profit called Boroume which fights malnutrition in Greece and I see the need for food growing. So there is another group that is baring the brunt of the crisis.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Nick. You’re right about the underground economy and unfortunately more and more people are driven to it, since even their accountants tell them to close their book because they will not be able to afford the new taxes. Shocking. And it can’t be a good thing for the country. Small businesses should be encouraged and supported, not forced to shut down. I know about BOROUME, they do great work. I should do a post about them.

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      1. Actually, perhaps you’d like to write a short piece about your personal experience of BOROUME? It’s always more interesting to have a personal point of view and I can combine with info from their site and news. No obligation, of course. You can email me at athensletters@gmail.com. ๐ŸŒบ

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      1. Ah, right! I’m very sad it’s getting worse over there. I’m not sure I blame this government so much as the EU and Merkel for constantly putting such strict terms on the bailouts. Whichever way you look at it, it’s horrendous and my heart goes out to you all. I dread to think how many shops and tavernas have now closed in the Chania prefecture in just a year, which is how long I’ve been back in the UK. The ex sends the odd text to say ‘such and such has gone out of business’. I wish we’d return the Marbles and Merkel would re-pay the wartime loan but I guess that’s never going to happen. In my book, that’s nil points to the UK and Germany. Take care and have the opposite of a miserable weekend!

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  4. We hear little here in the UK about how grim things are in Greece – I’m so sad to read your post. Not that things are great in the UK – sigh.
    I am choosing to focus on smaller things – growing, crafting, making art, being kind. There are so many good people in the world, but we don’t hear about them from the media because bad politicians are a much “better” news story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Try watching Al Jazeera English. Not only does it give you a break from the right-wing onslaught obscuring the truth about the Tories but its coverage is much broader. I discovered it when living in Crete and it opened my eyes to so much. It covers Greece.

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  5. Thanks Marina for your moving post. While Greece needed to reform I do think the EU has pushed Greece too far. The damage that has been done to the economy is not the way for Greece to recover. While the rest of Europe is growing again Greece has slipped once more into recession. A rescheduling and partial write down of the debt is what is needed but the Eurocrats want Greece to suffer just like they want Britain to be punished for Brexit . They call themselves Europeans but do they care about the suffering of the Greek people – not one bit. I wish there was more we could do to help the Greek economy except go to Greece for our holidays and eat your marvellous yogurt.

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  6. It seems similar to the Greek experience after the war, where so many were forced to emigrate. We have a large number of Melbournians who have Greek heritage, and while they have given Melbourne so much, it must have been hard to up stakes and come to a new country.
    I am delighted that despite the gloom around you that you can create such joyous paintings!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. I don’t think many people leave their country because they want to, unless they’re young and adventurous. Later there are too many ties to consider- aged parents, i.e.

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  7. I’m with Anne. You have brought beauty and colour into the world with your painting. Please don’t ever stop, we need people like you, who can create beauty in the midst of misery and hardship, to help people forget their troubles for a moment and simply enjoy.

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      1. Yes, They are lovely. I am glad your mood improved. It shows the power of art to keep us all sane. If only more people realised the healing power of art (any kind) the world would be a better place.

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  8. You slosh your paints about so beautifully ! I’ve been finding it difficult to write for months now, local and international news is so awful. Things here in Italy are somewhat similar to Greece, though you’re much much further downhill. We also have high public debt, high unemployment (specially young people), massive emigration of the latter, underemployment with measly salaries, poverty, an ageing population of retirees, huge boatloads of refugees landing every day… My desk also shakes from time to time. I don’t have a dog, but my car looks like it just made it through the Sahara. However, the sun’s shining … so I guess it could be worse.

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    1. It could always be worse, thankfully. However, I fail to understand why it should be quite so bad. It defies common sense. Mankind has never had it so good, in many ways – why must we always make a mess? Thanks for commenting, anyway, and for the lovely compliment ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ

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  9. All has been said about the depressing news and the silver lining of your frustration – your splendid sloshings – so I will just seize on your book choice and say that Kate Atkinson is probably my favourite contemporary author, my favourites being ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ and the more recent ‘Life After Life’ and its sequel ‘A God in Ruins’.

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