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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Europa

.


A Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph (detail):
Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), c. 1495, oil on poplar, 65.4 × 184.2 cm (National Gallery, London)

(To Iphigeneia)

Your hair is scattered light:
The Greeks will bind it with petals.

And like a little beast,
Dappled and without horns,
That scampered on the hill-rocks,
They will leave you
With stained throat --
Though you never cropped hill-grass
To the reed-cry
And the shepherd's note.

Some Greek hero is cheated
And your mother's court
Of its bride.

And we ask this -- where truth is,
Of what use is valour and is worth?
For evil has conquered the race,
There is no power but in base men,
Nor any man whom the gods do not hate. 

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961): Chorus to Iphigeneia, from Choruses from The Iphigeneia in Aulis and the Hippolytus of Euripides, The Egoist, London, 1919




A Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph (detail): Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), c. 1495, oil on poplar, 65.4 × 184.2 cm (National Gallery, London)
 

Pro-European Union protester demonstrates in front of the Greek parliament in Athens. Photo Louisa Gouliamaki: image via AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 9 July 2015
 

Tusk @eucopresident has suspended #EuroSummit on #Greece for
bilateral meetings in search of compromise: image via Preben Aamann @PrebenEUspox, 12 July 2015
 

Triptych of Temptation of St Anthony (central panel)
: Hieronymus Bosch, 1505-06, oil on panel, 131 x 119 cm (Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon)


Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb arriving at today’s Eurogroup finance ministers meeting
: photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA via The Guardian, 12 July 2015

Eurogroup Finance ministers meeting<br>epa04843524 Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (L) and Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb talk at the start of a special Eurogroup finance ministers meeting on the Greek crisis, at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 12 July 2015. Eurozone Finance Ministers set 12 July 2015 as the deadline to reach an agreement saving Greece from bankruptcy, amid warnings that failure to strike a deal by then could lead the country to crash out of the eurozone. EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
 
The award for awkward conversation of the morning is shared between Tsakalotos and Alex Stubb: photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA via The Guardian, 12 July 2015

Eurogroup Finance ministers meeting<br>epa04843519 German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (R) and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin talk at the start of a special Eurogroup finance ministers meeting on the Greek crisis, at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 12 July 2015. Eurozone Finance Ministers set 12 July 2015 as the deadline to reach an agreement saving Greece from bankruptcy, amid warnings that failure to strike a deal by then could lead the country to crash out of the eurozone. EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
 
Is Wolfgang Schäuble telling Michel Sapin how the idea of a "temporary Grexit" suddenly came to him?: photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA via The Guardian, 12 July 2015
 

A Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph: Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), c. 1495, oil on poplar, 65.4 × 184.2 cm (National Gallery, London) 
 
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This is Germany's plan—all of it—to make Greece sell €50bn of "valuable assets" or leave the euro for at least 5 yrs
: image via Matt O'Brien @ObsoleteDogma, 11 July 2015


Moin Moin Warum die #EU so bedenklich ist!: image via Einzelfallbearbeiter @Einzelfallbearb, 9 July 2015

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@sunnydayforamum @rapanasta: image via Einzelfallbearbeiter @Einzelfallbearb, 11 July 2015


'How much?!' : image via Danny Kemp@dannyctkemp, 12 June 2015

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Excellent! #Humour #Varoufakis #love: image via S.C. @sunnydayforamum, 11 July 2015



Σοιμπλε #Schauble #schauble #Schaublexit #urogroup Germans: image via Rapa Nasta  @rapanasta, 11 July 2015
 

Σοιμπλε #Schauble #schauble #Schaublexit #urogroup Germans: image via Rapa Nasta  @rapanasta, 11 July 2015

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#Schaeuble: I want more power!! Destroy the poor! I want my companys to own all Greece! Why they have sunshine?: image via Rapa Nasta @rapanasta, 11 July 2015


#Eurogroup Φινλανδια #vouli Μαλτα Germans Σοιμπλε #Schaublexit #eusummit #Grexit: image via Alexarium @Alexarium, 11 July 2015


Pretty much the conclusion of the #Eurosummit: image via Athena C @Athenaconstandi, 8 July 2015

Greece Bailout

EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici, left, Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb and EU Commissioner for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis talk with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, back to camera, Saturday in Brussels: photo by Thierry Charlier / AFP via Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2015


 
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listens during a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Saturday night: photo by Menelaos Myrilas/SOOC via the press project, 11 July 2015


*There must be no alternative.** #Schaublexit: image via g00ndy @g00ndy, 11 July 2015

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This man wants 11 million pounds of flesh and the end of democracy in Europe. Are you going to stop him or not?: image via Elikasg00ndy @Elikas, 11 July 2015


Greek pensioners wait outside a National Bank of Greece to get their pensions on July 9 #GreekCrisis: image by Louisa Gouliamaki @lgoulia, 10 July 2015 Greece


Greek pensioners wait outside a National Bank of Greece to get their pensions on July 9 #GreekCrisis: image by Louisa Gouliamaki @lgoulia, 10 July 2015 Greece


Greek pensioners wait outside a National Bank of Greece to get their pensions on July 9 #GreekCrisis: image by Louisa Gouliamaki @lgoulia, 10 July 2015 Greece



Greek pensioners wait outside a National Bank of Greece to get their pensions on July 9 #GreekCrisis: image by Louisa Gouliamaki @lgoulia, 10 July 2015 Greece


Anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament: image by Aris Messinis @ArisMessinis,10 July 2015


Anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament: image by Aris Messinis @ArisMessinis,10 July 2015


Anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament: image by Aris Messinis @ArisMessinis,10 July 2015


Anti-austerity protesters demonstrate in front of the Greek parliament: image by Aris Messinis @ArisMessinis,10 July 2015

A pensioner (R) arrives at a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension at the city of Thessaloniki, Greece July 10, 2015.The Greek parliament will give the government a mandate to negotiate with creditors for a cash-for-reforms deal, the parliamentary spokesman of the ruling Syriza party told reporters on Friday

A pensioner arrives at a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension at the city of Thessaloniki, Greece on Friday: photo by Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters via FT Photo Diary, 10 July 2015

A pensioner (R) arrives at a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension at the city of Thessaloniki, Greece July 10, 2015.The Greek parliament will give the government a mandate to negotiate with creditors for a cash-for-reforms deal, the parliamentary spokesman of the ruling Syriza party told reporters on Friday

A pensioner arrives at a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension at the city of Thessaloniki, Greece on Friday: photo by Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters, 10 July 2015

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#IMF head #Lagarde may lose post due to #GreekCrisis: image by Sputnik @Sputnikint, 5 July 2015


 
Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos listens to IMF managing director Christine Lagarde during a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Saturday: photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters, 11 June 2015
 

Diners bowed their heads in prayer before eating at the Galini charity’s soup kitchen in Athens. Greece’s fiscal crisis has made many destitute and desperate, and is stretching the resources of charities and government agencies that help the poor: photo by Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press via New York Times, 12 July 2015

Greece Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the Hardest: Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, 12 July 2015

ATHENS — Behind the lace curtains of a soup kitchen run by a parish in the humble Athens neighborhood of Kerameikos, the needy and hungry sit down to a plate of sliced cucumbers, three hunks of bread, a shallow china bowl of chickpea soup and often a piece of meat. Sometimes there is even ice cream, a special treat.

People prize the refectory, run by a priest, for its homeyness, and they travel long distances to fill their empty stomachs at least once a day.

But on Thursday, the priest, Father Ignatios Moschos was worried that he would no longer have enough food to go around if the country’s economic paralysis continues, as it seems likely to do even if Greece and its creditors manage to work out a last-minute deal this weekend to avert a Greek exit from the euro.

“It will be hard, dark, painful,” the priest said, nibbling from a bowl of pistachios as a long line of people waited for their turn to eat at the communal tables. “We will have trouble receiving food.”

Poverty in Greece has been deepening since the financial crisis began more than five years ago. Now, aid groups and local governments say they are beginning to feel the effects of nearly two weeks of bank closings, as Greece struggles to keep its financial system from failing and to break out of years of economic hardship.


A man slept on an Athens street near a closed store this month. Officials are trying to raise funds to meet the needs of increasing numbers of destitute residents.: photo by Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press via New York Times, 12 July 2015
 
And any deal with creditors this weekend will bring further cuts in government spending. It will also bring higher taxes and, as a consequence, more short-term pressure on the economy.

As Athens takes on the aura of Soviet Russia, with lines of people outside banks waiting to receive their daily cash allowance, some aid groups are seeing their supply channels narrow. By some accounts, lines for food, clothing and medicine have grown fivefold in parts of the capital in the last two weeks alone.

The European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, has said he shares Greeks’ concerns. President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission said this past week that the European Union was making plans for humanitarian aid to Greece to cushion the blow if a third bailout was not worked out by Sunday and Greece was forced out of the euro system.

Several organizations and the city government of Athens said they were making fund-raising plans. A prominent group, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, announced on Wednesday that it was immediately allocating 20 million euros, or more than $22 million, toward the municipal governments of Athens and Thessaloniki “to cover the immediate needs of citizens in the large urban centers, who are experiencing the consequences of the deepening crisis more severely.”

Of course, not all of Athens is suffering. In central Athens and more affluent suburbs, the cafes are full of Greeks and tourists eating, drinking and talking until well past midnight. And if there is a deal with the creditors, it could lead to the banks reopening at some point soon.

But much of Greece has been struggling for years with extremely high levels of unemployment, cuts in social welfare programs and pensions and what the Greek central bank concluded in 2014 was one of the highest rates of income inequality among European Union countries.

"in Greece there will be no consumers -- there will be only beggars"

Since July 3, after the cash controls began, the Venetis chain of about 80 bakeries has expanded its charity program and has been giving away about 10,000 loaves of bread a day -- a third of total production -- to the destitute, families with many children, the unemployed and retirees.

They could be seen flying out of the darkness like birds to a Venetis outlet in the Pangrati neighborhood of Athens one evening a few days ago, belying the neighborhood’s facade of prosperity. In the poorest neighborhoods, scuffles have broken out, Panayiotis Monemvasiotis, the general manager of the company, said Friday.

“In the third round of austerity measures, which is beginning now, it is certain that in Greece there will be no consumers -- there will be only beggars,” he said.

In neighborhoods where tourists are less likely to go, such as the area around Omonia Square, people in ragged clothes can be found sleeping on sidewalks and in public parks. Others who are just a bit luckier are able to hide their poverty. They negotiate rent cuts from landlords, take advantage of social service agencies like Praksis that offer free showers and washing machines to people without electricity or water, or go to the soup kitchens scattered throughout Athens.

Xenia Papastavrou, a founding member of Boroume, We Can, a nongovernment agency that matches excess food from supermarkets, restaurants and even wedding parties, with organizations that distribute it to people who are hungry across Greece, said that more people have wanted to donate over the last two weeks, because they see the need.

“I’m sure that things will get worse,” Ms. Papastavrou said.

One of the largest soup kitchens in Athens is run by the city government, in collaboration with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens, near Omonia on Pireos Street. It serves 600 to 1,000 people a day, city officials said. Mayor George Kaminis of Athens issued a statement Thursday saying that the city was helping support 20,000 people a day with groceries, hot meals and other basics.

At a donation center run by the city in Kato Patisia, the number of people arriving each day for food, medicine and clothing has risen to 100 from 20 in just the last two weeks, Alexandros Kambouroglou, an adviser to the mayor, said Thursday. He attributed that escalating demand to fear of future shortages.

Charities and government officials say that as long as the banks are closed and the movement of money outside Greece is prohibited, they face the same problem as every other Greek -- they cannot import supplies.

“As a city we are working very systematically to make sure we have provisions,” during this period of capital controls, Yorgos Stamatopoulos, press secretary for the mayor of Athens, said Thursday.

“But at least we’ll suffer together”

Until recently, the Galini Institution soup kitchen run by Father Moschos, gave food to anyone who wanted it. But the demand has grown so quickly that it has begun asking for documentation that people are poor, such as proof of monthly income, employment status and the inability to make rent or utility payments.

It also used to close for part of the summer. But Father Moschos said he believed the need would be so great this summer that it would have to remain open.

In the morning, the soup kitchen gives a package of cooked food to people who prefer to take it home than to eat lunch communally. On Thursday the take-home package contained a container of pasta with bacon and tomato sauce, bread, sesame bread rings called koulouria and a can of evaporated milk. People are expected to bring the container back for more.

The volunteers, including Evaggelia Konsta, whose family donates meat from its meat company, sprang up to greet a 93-year-old woman who arrives every day by bus, alone, to fetch food for herself and, she said, her five grandchildren.

The dining hall seats 56, and people eat in several shifts. The number of people rises to about 450 a day on weekends, from 350 on weekdays, Ms. Konsta said. There is air-conditioning, a relief from the scorching sun. A heavy brass chandelier hangs overhead and volunteers politely put plates of food on the table one at a time.

Fotis Nikolaou, 39, an unemployed painter and tiler, wolfed down some soup on Wednesday, then swabbed his plate with bread. He complained that the daily wage for a laborer like him had dropped as low as €10 for 12 hours of work, and that is off the books. 

Only immigrants would take such jobs, he said.

He had no doubt that life would only get harder for Greece in the coming weeks and months, and that he would only wait longer for the soup. But he found comfort in thinking he would not be alone.

“We could suffer 20 years,” he said. “But at least we’ll suffer together.”


  
GREECE - A woman passes by a graffiti depicting a homeless person in central Athens. By @ArisMessinis #AFP: image by AFP Photo Department @AFPphoto, 11 July 2015

 #BanksyBristol: image via BigFatBakes @bigfatbakes, 30 March 2014

File:Banksy.on.the.thekla.arp.jpg

Stencil by Banksy at waterline on social entertainment boat Thekla, central Bristol, England: photo by Adrian Pingstone, 2 April 2005


 
A Satyr Mourning Over a Nymph: Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522), c. 1495, oil on poplar, 65.4 × 184.2 cm (National Gallery, London)

9 comments:

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

This came I think during an invasion of Lebanon, but it seems to fit here, during the "financial-genocidal" invasion of Greece (?)...

GREAT CRUELTY AND HEARTLESSNESS

We’re living in a time of great cruelty and heartlessness
where instead of a sun they’re throwing up
anvils

Instead of sunlight there’s the sound of
hammers beating

Instead of walking there’s kicking

Instead of thinking there’s talking

It’s almost as if there’ve never been times like
these before

Even shadows thrown by cartwheels on dirt roads
resemble the grimaces of armies as they
slide across rocks

In the palaces of power clocks go off but no one
wakes

Decisions are made by pouring acid down drains
or waiting for nightfall in a room lit by
neon tubes

If anyone speaks all eyes are upon them

I saw a sparrow fly over a fence

An ant stop and not go on

But laughter has turned to pebbles
falling on zinc

And children have been torn from their futures
_____

7/19/2006 (from In the Realm of Neither)

TC said...

Decisions are made by pouring acid down drains

pebbles
falling on zinc

__

... a corrosive time...

billoo said...

If there is any good from this it is that the IMF and the others have been shown up for what they are. This is what they've been doing to 'developing' countries for years.

As with your previous post, Tom, the experiments tried on one people (the Irish) serve as a template for others (the Indians).

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Let there be no dissenting view: This man drips pure evil.

VINCENT FARNSWORTH said...

Some things culled mostly from http://time.com/3951187/greece-tempts-the-fates/

Former Greek Finance Minister Stefanos Manos: "In Greece we produce practically nothing, and we were taking on massive debts just to live lavishly."

Including hiring public employees by the hundreds of thousand and plying them with perks. Bonuses were handed out for arriving at work on time and knowing how to use a computer. Forestry workers got bonuses for having to work outdoors. Each state employee got a yearly bonus worth two monthly paychecks regardless of performance.
The state-run airline handed out free tickets to voters before an election.

The ruling parties did not want to risk alienating voters by cutting back on any of this so it just kept borrowing money. The arrival of the Euro made this borrowing even easier and cheaper (in the short run).

The Greek government cooked their books to hide the fact that they would never be able to pay back the loans. (Goldman Sachs helped them do this.)

The reason, according to Manos: "To keep armies of supporters relying on the system."

Tom, I don't mean to sound like a neocon here. I think the loaners are as guilty as the loanees. But this is often being portrayed as the big bad EU/Germany/France beating up on poor innocent Greece when the full picture is much different.

"I'm obsessed by Time magazine." -Allen Ginsburg

billoo said...

Tom,

I think Stiglitz and Krugman have been quite damning of this latest move. Says a lot when those who are centre-left can be so critical (I'm perfectly aware that 'centre-left' is equivalent to stinking-murderous-Commies in some circles in America!).

I find it a bit rich of the Germans and the IMF to talk about trust and accountability. Given their histories one would have expected, perhaps, some humility. Perhaps not. I think that's what you get when you're ideologically driven. The IMF is really a one trick pony. I've met some people who worked for them back in the land of the pure..they think the World Bank is left-wing!

TC said...

And the pair of them have been surprisingly right on point, all through this, as if anybody cared.

A bit rich and then some!

Let's see: you turn over all your national assets into a locked holding account in a location we designate... and then hold your breath!

Puts me in mind of an adolescent prank common in my youth. It was called "hold your wallet".

"I'll hold your wallet, and... meet me on the corner... later..."

What a deal!

This whole money system is a charade of gameplaying masking cruelty and duplicity beyond the calculation even of the calculators of these miserable calculating banker-states, these loathsome merciless doctor strangeloves, these exterminators of the human, but what can you do?

ThisIsACoup (Vassilis Zambaras: Hope Dies Last / An Air of Acquiescence)

Wooden Boy said...

The calls for privatisation give me the shudders. Think of Yeltsin's Russia, of the UK still in thrall to Thatcher's grand relentless project; no good can come of it.

It needs to be said clearly and repeatedly - what is happening IS ideological.

TC said...

Absolutely. Coercion and punishment as enforcement... Make a lesson out of 'em.

Any time Finland needs a cash injection, sell off a Greek port to the highest bidder.

That should work.

The problem is, he dimly reckoned, after the money machine and the smart phone, what other ideology IS there, on this planet, really?

Can there ever be a meaningful difference between capitalism and its instruments and means of instrumentation?