Greece / Premier Tsipras: What’s worse!
Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras said recently in a wide ranging interview with The Guardian that the worst is over for the Greek economy. “The worst is clearly behind us. We can now say with certainty that the economy is on the up … Slowly, slowly, what nobody believed could happen, will happen. We will extract the country from the crisis … and in the end that will be judged.”
“When I came into this office, I had no experience, or sense, of how big the day-to-day difficulties would be,” Prime Minister Tsipras said. “I think, now, I have a very different picture from the one I had initially.”
Now two years, Tsipras is a real battle-hardened veteran, although he is only 42 years old. He has taken on a massive amount of responsibility, and done reasonably well.
“I have made mistakes … big mistakes,” PM Tsipras admits. And he had to compromise on his core principles during his negotiations with his European lenders. “You hold your nose, you take it … You know that there is no other way … because you have tried everything else to survive, to stay alive,” the Prime Minister adds.
But fact is members of PM Tsipras’ own party, the Syriza party are not sure if the worst is over.
A woman by the name of Panaghiota Mourtidou, a very hard working ordinary member of PM Tsipras’ party, who has done a great job organizing food and feeding the hungry in her part of Athens during the worst days of the crisis, says, “Politicians clearly have no idea of the reality on the ground. If they did, they wouldn’t make such pronouncements because, really, it couldn’t be worse.”
Panaghiota wants to know from the Prime Minister, “Tell me, how can anyone survive on a basic wage of €490 (£438) and still pay all the taxes they have passed? There are 51 families who depend on us, and a lot of them feel desperate. OK, Greece has escaped bankruptcy, it has even dipped its toes in the markets again but, so what if its people have been left bankrupt in the process?”
What Panaghiota has said is very much true and a lot of ordinary Greeks feel the same way. A 68-year old retired gentleman from Koukaki, Anestis says, “The middle class has certain comforts. We’ve become poorer and have adult children who can’t find work, who don’t want to go abroad and who rely on us. That’s the worst. An entire generation who have only known crisis, who may never be able to find work or have a family and future.”
Greece may be in a lot of economic trouble, but here people have the full freedom to say what they feel, fearlessly. Greece is very much an open democracy. The people of Greece may be in a very bad situation economically, but they have not lost their sense of self-esteem and pride. They continue to hope for a better future for their children and grandchildren.
Author: Raghav Hegde – India