Showing posts from October, 2012

The town that sang rebellion. Jadu, Libya.


A train ride into Greco-German darkness: Conversation with a Greek Military Officer.

Greece. Cutting through gorged mountains that rise steeply from the flat plains of Northern Greece I share a  table with George Ganas, 43, an officer who has served 24 years in the Greek Military airforce.George is a burly, buoyant character and as we talk he runs a well handled rosary of yellow kexrimpari through his fingers.His views are those of a military man with an enquiring intellect. History, he tells me, is his passion: "I have studied it for decades," he says as he pulls out a heavy historical tome from his bag. George's perspective is one that stirs old enmities, that speaks of dark fears of unfinished buisness from WWII. He believes the European Trokia (ECB, EU and IMF) with Germany as the economic driving force, is finishing the work the Third Reich didn't... 

George: I believe that during the second world war Germany wanted to occupy countries in Eastern Europe and Southern Europe…to be their….they needed room, but only to be their workers, without local…

Why turn a debt drama into tragedy ?

It’s 30 in the shade and too warm to work, especially for an Anglo Saxon in Greece. My compatriots and me have been touring coves of the Chalkidiki in Northern Greece; winding our way amongst three long fingers of land stretching out into the aqua marine Aegean. I’m sat under a tree sipping tsipouro, on the popular campsite of Thalatta Kalamitsi. We are fresh from two days of swimming, sun and relaxation at the University of Aristotle beach campsite. Now! I imagine, this is a culture I can adapt to...a beach campsite, subsidised by a University!

I chat with Stelios Tzirgas, electrical engineer from Athens. The conversation quickly turns the debt crisis. He talks of the standstill in his industry, the futility of rioting, and how he hasn’t been paid for six months. Amongst all this talk, one phrase resonates resoundingly:

“I work very hard,” he asserts.

I have had no reason to think otherwise. We have only just met, and my experiences of Greeks –part of the constant stream of well-educa…