A Greek Tragedy That Can Only Be Ended by Greece Leaving the Euro

Have the people of Greece been singled out for particularly harsh punishment by its international creditors for daring to elect Syriza? Are they being used as a warning to other countries not to emulate Greece? The economic argument for demanding more cuts and austerity no longer makes any sense.

Austerity has caused Greek GDP to shrink by 25%, with unemployment now standing at 26%, youth unemployment at 50%. The human misery behind these statistics has seen the suicide rate increase by 35.5%. Greece is now a country where 49% of the population relies on the pension of an elderly relative that has shrunk by 61%. Yet international creditors are demanding even more cuts to this lifeline.

Now the Greek negotiators have said enough is enough, and in true democratic fashion are intending to put the case to the people in a referendum on 5th July. The stage is set, and Greece will be declared in default for not paying the IMF 1.6 billion euros due today, 30th June.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, since March 2015 the European Central Bank (ECB) has been pumping 60 billion euros a month into the Eurozone financial markets, and will continue to do so until at least September 2016. This money is created electronically under its Quantitative Easing programme (QE).

What kind of system have we created where our elite inflict austerity on ordinary people that causes misery and suffering to millions, while financiers and gamblers of financial markets enjoy such a bonanza of riches? The mind boggles.

The people of Greece are no longer in control of their destiny; they have been enslaved by debt, with suffering and misery cascading onto future generations. They need to be courageous and say – we want control of our country and destiny. They can only do that by leaving the Eurozone. Yes, there will be shock in leaving, but it can’t be much worse. The sooner this happens the sooner the country will recover.

The present situation is intolerable. The “moneymen” are effectively saying to Greece – we don’t care about your democracy; we are in charge regardless of who you elect. It is time for the Greeks, to say – no, enough is enough. It is time to say – we are in charge and we will escape the straight jacket you put us in, and we will prosper without you.

The Eurozone bureaucrats are afraid that you, the Greeks, may leave and succeed, thus showing that there is a better life without the euro. This may encourage other suffering people to escape the current European Union (EU) of financiers, bankers and Eurocrats. I hope that the people of Europe will then be able to build an EU of the people, an EU that cares about the lives of all its citizens not just its 1%ers, an EU that unites its people instead of the present divisions driven by austerity and cuts.

I say to the Greeks, you have a beautiful country; people the world over will flock to your shores to enjoy that beauty and your hospitality and charm. They need to escape a life, albeit for a short time, imposed on them by an elite that sees human beings as an economic resource to be exploited for profit by the 1%ers.

Greece, you taught the world about democracy. You can now show the world that you could do much better by breaking the chains of the euro and I, for one, have no doubt that you will succeed.

Adnan Al-Daini (PhD, Birmingham University, UK) is a retired University Engineering lecturer. He is a British citizen born in Iraq. He writes regularly on issues of social justice and the Middle East. Read other articles by Adnan.