Greek Tuesday

June 28th, 2015

Sunday – June 28, 2015:

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She would be 102 if she were alive, she actually died at age 54, 47 years ago and more.

Exactly one year after her birth, June 28th 1914, the Archduke was assassinated, the event that started the first world war.  Far too often this pattern seemed to continue – bad things internationally happening on her birthday.  She was very relieved when the Korean War started a bit early, on June 25th.

I’ve long contemplated making a list of all the events tied to the June 28 date, a tribute to my mother perhaps, an effort perhaps to find good things.

Greece is of course in very high crisis tonight, perhaps part of, perhaps all of Europe.  The three major EU players: Germany, France, and England see things a bit differently than Greece – they are not Greece or Greek and they have no long history of democracy, real democracy, participatory democracy.  No wonder they seem surprised by the announcement that an affair of state might be decided by a democratic vote.  In Greece such is common, in France, England, and Germany not so much.

Greece has not been a colonial power since the time of Alexander the Great.  Afghanistan was part of the Greek Empire, a colony.  That is why there has always been, since then, a Greek / Afghan connection, enduring even after the passage of more than 2,340 years.  On the other hand the EU-three are all more recent colonial powers.  These newer empires started 340 years ago (or less); they are all 2,000 years newer.

The EU-3 have also, like Greece long ago, lost their physical empires, but they have all tried to preserve an economic stranglehold on nations and peoples to keep the idea of empire going.  It’s a very old, and very bad, habit.

The US west has been often considered no more than an east coast playground, a place for vacations and wilderness experiences and in some cases a chance to have contact with, or take pictures of, the “natives.”  Yellowstone and all the early national parks were termed “pleasuring grounds.”  The federal government retained ownership of 87% of Nevada, in most other western states the figure is usually at least 50%.  There is no democracy in occupied territory, beneficial use is reserved for large corporations.

And yes, Greece IS the pleasuring ground for many in Europe, especially many in Germany, in England and Wales, and those not in the south of France.  Who can resist the blue and white houses on cliffs above the beautiful blue sea untouched by oil platforms and drilling rigs and the carnage of industrial ports and container ships?  Like the natives in the US west, the Greeks seem so picturesque and colorful.  Even the military men are so cute in their short white skirts, and the Greek fishercaps are known the world over, ask Zorba the Greek.

Of course the Greek people have been maligned and demonized as being lazy, too lazy to work.  These are the direct descendants of those that reached India by fighting and marching across the greater whole of Asia, instead of skirting the hard part, like England did, arriving in India by ship.  And Germany and the German army never made it east of Stalingrad, which is not much further east than Syria, much less as far east as Iraq or Iran, to say nothing of Afghanistan and even the far reaches of most of modern Pakistan.  Lazy?  I believe the Greek spirit remains substantially undaunted.

There have been bank holidays before, bank failures, bank closings.  But NEVER has there been the failure and shutdown of the ATM machine system, the root system of the modern society.  Greece gets to experience this first.

But, who needs ATM machines when there are credit cards to be used in the ubiquitous “cashless” society?  If you owned a business would you give away menu food, tourist goodies, diamonds maybe, for pieces of paper saying that the “money is in the bank,” a bank where you really can’t get it?  I get it.  I think that most smart businesses and shops and hotels are not going to buy that.  I think that logic says the credit card thing is going to quickly go down, and again Greece gets to be first.

It is almost Monday in Greece.  Most, if not all banks are closed.  Euros may still be accepted, real Euros, but possibly not the plastic ones.  The uber rich can still get out if they have the good old hard cash.   Otherwise, it is probably just walk out, or march out, like the Greek army once did.  We’ll soon find out who really is tough, who can take the heat when the feet are in the fire.

Never trust a Tuesday.

One more time.  Athens.  Alexander.  Afghanistan.  Is a Greek exit more like a Greek break-out, and is a break-out a lot like a contagion?  Can it (again) sweep the world this time, economically not politically perhaps, a digital invasion (inversion) not a military inversion?  The Greeks are clever like that.

Or, perhaps the whole thing is a bit more like the book and movie Zorba.