Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out of the thick mists darkening our lives, a glimmer of hope ?

There should be no question mark in this post's title, no. There should be an exclamation mark, an expression of joy instead of doubt, a hope nobody really expected anymore, but such are our doused European spirits, nowadays.

2014 saw many bad things happen. Wars, terrorism, evil incarnate as the cowards hiding behind the ISI label used false religious pretence to rape women and little girls, children, and to slaughter countless innocent people. Planes crashed, boats took fire and more people died. A terrible disease reared up its head where it was not expected, in a quasi sure sign that humankind is venturing beyond limits, borders it should not cross in the ancient primary forests of Africa.

In Belgium, a government was formed, that is blatantly anti-democratic regarding the French-speaking minority, all thanks to one French-speaking rightwing party, its leader all too preoccupied with the prospect of becoming Prime Minister to worry about betraying the people he's supposed to represent, endorsing ultra-right economical and social themes and actions that his party hadn't even laid out during the electoral campaign. Austerity is about to strike hard, in a country which had been preserved the folly imposed all around Europe by Germany – that is its rich pensioners, who care nothing about the misery, the pain, the shame and utter despair the return rates they demand for their pension funds create for hundreds of millions of people. The lackeys of a very small minority are now in power in Belgium, and they're more than anxious to cater to their masters. To make them richer, by making everyone else poorer, hiding behind the false justifications of phony economy gurus. In the face of the obvious failure of the austerity policies imposed by Germany and the likes of David Cameron, it's folly to start down the road that destroyed the social and economic balance of other countries, and yet, this is what the Belgian government is engaging in.

Still, Autumn saw huge demonstrations and strikes. A perfume of refusal, in the hearts of those who are being robbed of their rights, all so that the rich can get richer. But of course, it wasn't enough. So, while we're taking a break and wait for the new year to come, I can't help but wonder : what's next ? Will we roll over and take sheer injustice, ugly betrayal and madness with bowed heads ?

In Greece, the depression has destroyed countless lives. People lose their jobs, their abillity to access healthcare, their access to electricity, the ability to send their kids to school, their homes...their lives. Reduced to a state worse than that of a third world country, Greece seems condemned to endure ever more pointless austerity, as well as moral lessons from Germany, which should know better and shut its trap.

Wait, no : strike that. Correction : Greece SEEMED to be condemned.

In this passing of the year 2014, in the time when Light rises against the Dark and hope for the renewal of Spring flowers in hearths and hearts, something happened.

The inept, grotesque government formed by ND and PASOK fell, unable to gather enough votes to elect their presidential candidates – and when one knows how devious the Greek presidential election system is, designed to allow for betrayal and changes of hearts (however motivated) between the three election rounds, well, one realizes how much anger and refusal there must be, even among this fickle, poorly reliable body that is the Greek parliament.

What this incompetent government wanted to avoid, what its masters – Germany, the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission – wanted to avoid at all costs in a stunning display of authoritarian refusal of democracy, is going to happen.

There will be general elections in Greece, and they will take place on January 25th, 2015. In less than a month, democracy will at last regain its place.

And in these elections, it seems that SYRIZA, the one credible leftwing party left, might win, and at long last get to power. This is what Germany, the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission have dreaded for more than two years : the rise of a party that isn't full of cronies and lackeys solely focused on their own agenda, all indebted to the powers-that-be. SYRIZA is their nightmare.

SYRIZA is Greece's last, best chance. For the future. For hope.

Already, the powers-that-be muster their forces : the IMF has announced it will cut its funding to Greece. In yet another gross disregard for democracy, Germany is unsubtly warning the Greek people that if they do not vote « as they should », than it will cut the life line, and let Greece die – no matter that austerity hasn't helped, and won't ever help, that it destroys people and their society, that it fuels hatred and the horrors of parties like Golden Dawn, no matter that everyone knows that Greece's debt is unsustainable, and that all austerity does is pushing people deeper into poverty and despair, in the waiting arms of the neo-nazis.

There will be worse in the weeks leading to the elections : markets will plunge – the sacra-sanct, infallible markets. The so-called godlike invisible hand will warn the Greek people of the doom that awaits them, should they err in their vote, and fail to re-elect the failed, grotesque ND and PASOK. Greek banks will threaten default. Rating agencies will review their quotes. Fake economic gurus will foretell fire raining from the skies and the earth splitting beneath Greece's feet.

And yet, the Greek people will vote. And yet, they will have the power to say no. To try and win free. Oh, I have no doubt it will be hard, difficult. I have no doubt that the forces that will unite to bring Greece down to heel will be terrible.

But, tell me, what do the Greeks have to lose ? They have already lost everything.

This is their one chance to fight back, to regain their pride, trampled from underfoot by people who should know better, who should have the decency to say nothing. This is their one chance for hope. And yet, I know that a great many Greek people are so far gone, so tired of failed promises and lies, so weary of trying to hang on to hope, that they just want to shut their eyes and do nothing. Wait. Sleep. Be oblivious.

This is the reason for my question mark. Are the Greek people resilient enough to shrug off all the pain, the burdens, the misery and the despair hammered on their shoulders to look up, and dare hope ? Dare challenge the powers-that-be ?

Hope sometimes hides in the most unexpected places. Here is one : a song by Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy – The Clever Bird :

Oh, beware all those who are bereft of everything
Sings and sings a small, clever bird
Rising up to the sky, flying and diving
Above realms and republics

The clever bird watches and sees
The financiers cloaked in Mystery
Playing on their plasma screens, hey
With the money that so many people hope for
Masters and servants
From their sheltered offices

They don't hear the bird singing
They don't head the bird's song
Foretelling their danger

So, I join my hopes to those of all the people who wish for change, who have fought and will continue to fight for change. For a better, fairer world. This is not an impossible goal, an unattainable objective, no matter how so-called wise men and women berate you that it's kidlike delusions. I know this, at least. I hope the Greek people remember it. For if Greece rises to the challenge of the powers-that-be and dare place their trust in SYRIZA...

Everything will change.

Greece might well be the symbol, the flagship of change, the beginnings of a fire that only needs a spark to rise and bring warmth and light to our dying Europe in the coming year.

May it be so.

With all my heart, I wish you a happy new year, Greece. I wish you hope, and pride.

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