While in Europe, I had a chance to listen to news on many different networks from various countries. I realize I could probably do the same in Canada over the internet, but, to be honest with you, I didn’t know about the existence of some of these.
I witnessed something incredible: every leader/state/government in the world, was overly concerned about lack of democracy, unfair economic conditions, absence of civil liberties, and just about any problem people faced in any country but their own. Russia (based on reports from RT) lamented over how horrible people’s situation was in tiny republics which had gained independence after the breakdown of Soviet Union. Britain couldn’t get over how the cuts affected poor kids in the US; France (and UK) shed tears for people of Libya, the US was concerned about everyone in the globe except those who occupied Wall Street and …
Observing all these, I came to a conclusion to solve all problems of the world. Since every government/leader seems to be genuinely interested in ills of some other country, we should come to live in a prosperous, free world if only we switched leaders/states on the condition that they direct all their concern, love, and ingenious solutions for seemingly incurable problems to issues in their own country.
Since that is not possible in any forseeable future, mostly because who wants to end up with these leaders other than the minority of people who voted them into power, I decided to focus on something else: how much could get out of the media by switching channels and listening to everything. How much could I help? Quite a bit, as it turned out.
When in Germany, I noticed, it was hard not to, people were rather hostile to the Greek. The media portrayed them as lazy people who want to continue their free ride on German tax payers. And people accepted this wholeheartedly. Some told me the Greek wanted to retire at the age of fifty-five; they feared Greece would bring down the whole Europe.
Now that didn’t quite go with the coverage of the protests in Greece: if people can organize so well for months in protest, they have to be at least not so lazy. Then I saw one reporter’s work who went to the people in Greece and interviewed a few. One was a young man with a disabled wife; he had just lost his job, as a result, his salary had been cut into a third. Therefore, he could no longer get any help for his wife or afford anything beyond bare necessities of life. He stayed home and looked after his wife and when he was done with daily chores, he played an old guitar. He didn’t seem to be dreaming about retirement at any age; he had nightmares about bare survival. The other was a doctor who talked about the horrible situation of patients she visited: people with two or three kids who were desperate for basic needs. Well, that didn’t strike me as someone aiming for a free ride either. The austerity measures proposed by Greek government has got the UN worried that basic human rights in Greece would be in danger.
Then came Germany and France’s ceaseless meetings to solve this problem. These two countries have benefited immensely from military exports to Greece. EU continued for austerity measures; People went on strike and continued demonstrating in the streets protesting decrees imposed on them by other countries. This brings the question of national sovereignty: how much European countries have to give up in terms of their self-determination rights in order to borrow, spend, and get reprimanded? I saw coverage of journalists attacked and arrested by the police in the birth place of democracy. One of the reporters was saying, “so far I have covered similar incidents in the Middle East or Africa or … Never did I dream anything like that would happen to me in my homeland.”
EU has been trying to impose its will on the Greek, and so far, they (except for the government) have been resisting. EU had to budge, and the new proposal is set for a referendum. I think the Greek situation can set an example in future of democracy in Europe: if democracy is about the will of the people. And I continue to watch; with Europe so engaged in establishing ‘democracy’ in Libya, Ivory Coast, and so on, someone has to watch out for democracy in Europe. I am glad to be part of the solution.