« We are all Greeks », also in Brussels

Article published on March 7, 2012
Article published on March 7, 2012
By Aris Kokkinos, translated by Andreea Moros Between the implementation of the rescue plan by the Greek parliament on February 12 and the Eurogroup meeting on February 20 to finalize it, “We are all Greeks” called for an international day in support of the Greek people on Saturday, February 18.

An uncertain future

About one hundred people gathered in front of the Greek embassy in Brussels to show solidarity with the Greek people, challenged by austerity measures. They were mostly clerks, second and third generation immigrants, newcomers escaping the crisis, all of them visibly anguished. An uncertain future is not only feared for the fellow Greek and European but also for oneself in Brussels. This is what could be understood from some interventions, examples of participatory democracy, anyone wishing to speak may do so. Maroussa Diacoyannis, member of the “Democracia Real Ya” Facebook community, went back over the latest demonstrations in Greece, as seen by a distraught population. The decline in the living standard and the tax increase explain the current nervous breakdown. People no longer know who to turn to. A blessing from Zeus or the rock of Sisyphus, the agreement on the rescue plan was reached yesterday with a new bailout worth € 130 billion and a € 100 billion debt relief. This was necessary for honoring the next bond repayment on March 20. Yiorgos Vassalos, member of the Corporate Europe Observatory (a research group on the power of lobbyists), addressed an angry speech against the rescue plan. According to him, this plan is only meant to save the banks and not the people so it must be rejected all together.

A call to an agreement among European partners

At the end of the demonstrations, Dimitri Argyropoulos, president of Brussels’ Hellenic community, tried to put forward a more moderate perspective, that of a necessary agreement between the European partners, in mutual respect. Elected president of the immigrant community (the Greek community, as other national communities, represents the Greek immigrants arrived in Belgium after the 1950’s) Argyropoulos is not an elected official, not even a representative of the Greek government. Still, he had little success in making himself heard since in the eyes of some demonstrators he is one of those politicians who lead the country on the edge of the abyss.

If one thing is certain, is that there is a generational conflict. The young turn against the elder, just as they did in the Greek mythology, they do the same today. And slowly but surely, the Greek political class is separating from its youth. This is without a doubt, and all things considered, the most unsettling aspect of the crisis.