Thursday, September 03, 2009

Before and After. Can you Spot the Difference? Me neither

The big news in Greece at the moment is that elections have been called early thanks to the annual disgrace which is the handling (or lack there of) of Greece's wild-though most are set accidentally on purpose - fires. Hooray! New government time! Same old assholes, but a brand new covering on the box outside! Whoopee!

As a foreigner living in Greece, the thing that pisses me off the most is the wasted potential of this country. Here we are, surrounded by brilliant young minds, with families bankrupting themselves to educate their children, who then return to Greece and have zero job prospects because all the good jobs go to those who know someone, not those who know something.

Let's start with the most important thing, the thing that Greeks toast each other with instead of Cheers - good health. Take for example the NHS. That's a system the British love to complain about, but boy do you miss it when you can't have it any more. When I tell my Greek friends that you can walk into any clinic or hospital and get what you need without paying a penny and without having to slip bribes under the table, they're amazed.

With the crushing taxes that Greeks pay, don't they deserve something similar? I think yes. In my opinion, privatised medicine are two words that should never appear side by side. Doesn't a young, nervous, first time Greek mother deserve the right to have her baby safely and naturally under the guidance of doctors and nurses who have her interests at heart, rather than the doctor who will bully her into needless surgical intervention because surgery means a little extra in his pocket from the insurance company? Greece is now top in Europe for Caesarean sections at 44% instead of the WHOs recommended maximum of 15% - why is no one even talking about that? Because the medical insurance companies the government let in are so powerful.

This is country that could be absolutely anything, but because of so many years of such corrupt governments, nothing ever changes. Shabby schools and bored teachers who come to life all of a sudden at the Frondistereo after school schools where they get paid more. In giving the children of Greece such a shitty state school system, the government is basically sticking two fingers up at them and saying "Let them eat cake". I mean, there are so many really good private schools, right? Which everyone can afford, especially when their parents earn EUR 700 a month. Cake! Cake for all!

But I'm just ranting. Harsh as it sounds, not a thing will change in Greece until these old grandpas running the country die off, and some fresh young blood forces its way in. If I'm still hearing Karamanlis and Papandreou in 20 years time, I'll set the Parliament on fire!

Here's hoping.


Marietta said...

Hopefully I won't be here in 20 years..It's all these and many more that make many people moving abroad because they know they deserve better than that.

Sesi said...

Yeah we had our chance to set the Parliament on fire in December 2008 and we wasted it!
The only reason I'm still having hopes for this country, is that otherwise I'd might as well move countries. And I like being able to be at a beautiful beach in 10 minutes from my home. Or having the sun shine on me for more than 20 days each year. Simple stuff like that.
Sure, I'll go vote, and hope for the best. But common, look at my options:S

bollybutton said...

I have to agree with the both of you. My stay in Greece is now in year 3 and has run as follows:

Year 1: I hate it here!
Year 2: I LOVE it here!
Year 3: I love it and hate it, but I don't know if I can do this forever

seriously, there are days when I get so angry with how the Greeks are treated by their government that I can't face the thought of living here forever. I don't want my own children to learn the lesson that your brains and talent count for shit in Greece if you're not related to/aren't sleeping with the CEO.

jinjir minjir said...

Gimme a call, I'll provide you with the gasoline.

But I don't think setting the Parliament on fire is enough. You'd have to set the whole country on fire - it's a mentality problem.

Someone else said it better than I could have ever said it myself:
It is not simply governmental incompetence, or the eternal administrative and governmental failures, the forest-killing Bills, the forest-killing nepotistic networks, central as well as local. [It is] the negative correlation between citizens [that] is omnipresent, the imitative corrivalry that takes place at the lowest possible level, the negative balancing, the malevolent consent!

And as he says further on, it is perhaps the lack of role models at the top that makes those below mimic them.

But that has long stopped being an excuse. This is not the Middle Ages any more. We have to realise that the people below can have a serious effect on the people at the top. It's because we can't be bothered that it doesn't happen.

Anyway. Let me know when you decide to nuke the country. I'll help you press the button.

Anonymous said...

Your anti-PASOK propaganda ain't gonna work here, lady. Giorgos will be our leader. Good morning, sun, good morning.

Anonymous said...

Btw, do you have any posts discussing Greek attitudes towards you, any discrimination/racism you faced and so on?

robert said...

...yes, I am amazed as well (that we stay).

bollybutton said...

Anonymous, this is an anti-Greek government post, not anti any particular party. Each is as bad as the other.

As for the racism question, I can only answer from my own personal experience, which has been that no one has been explicitly racist towards me.

This may have something to do with me looking more Greek than Asian. People tend not to realise until I start talking. What comments are exchanged about me in the local gossip circle I can't say, and I don't particularly care.

toomanytribbles said...

i like your rants.

Psofofeggaro said...

yes sweetie, but I belive you're gonna be dissapointed with what's been nurturing and gowing up around too in the next 10 years. I still recall the student protests around 10 years ago about the system changes on school and universities and how elections were held on my last year and what my co-students said... nearly every one that was not suporting the runing party was against them and nearly every one that was suposed to be "against" them, was still suporting them, because "they know better".
We're worse than American's sometimes, following blindly what our parents say,(american's sometimes think) just because our parents say, we're taught to follow, we're sheep and I've been called a dozen times stupid, rotten, a comunist by my mom, just because I choose to belive something else and follow my beliefs.
Last elections were very fun, watching everyone trying to prove being green-minded. Maybe this time it'll prove even more funnier.

@anonymous, yeah we get it, you're a psok dog. Go eat your dog food there and leave the thinking people do their job and stop hunting posts to use in an atack against the goverment.

Anonymous said...

Are you ND, moonlight princess? I was merely joking btw but I don't expect much from the populist right!

al said...

here here yadda yadda yadda... me need money for basic healthcare and silly shit like dat. lets open our food stall already.

graffic said...

+1 The picture reflects the situation perfectly.

Health care, education, basic services, basic civil engineering. Paying 19% taxes...

I didn't live here when PASOK was ruling. But I guess everything was a bit of the same. 2-parties governments: the bad and the less bad.

And still people will find a "good" reason to justify their situation. It's like cigarettes: They kill you, but you "like" them so hard.