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Greek journalist called Merkel 'dirty Berlin slut'
Photo: DPA

Greek journalist called Merkel 'dirty Berlin slut'

Published: 23 Feb 2012 15:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2012 15:45 GMT+01:00

According to the English-language news site Athens News, Yiorgos Trangas used the term (translated literally as “dirty Berlin girl with an open arse”) twice during programmes in September and October 2011 on the Real FM radio station.

The Greek National Council of Radio and Television justified the fine by saying Trangas had used obscene language and abused the Greek language, the news site reported.

Trangas apologized Wednesday but referred to Greeks as “the Jews of 2012.”

Tension between Berlin and Athens has sharpened during the continent’s sovereign debt crisis, which many Germans have blamed on Greece. Many Greeks, meanwhile, have taken umbrage at what they feel is German meddling in the Greek economy.

During protests against Greek austerity measures, some protestors have worn Nazi garb to illustrate their anger against perceived German pressure on their government.

But among the most inflammatory incidents took place in 2010 when the German magazine Focus ran a picture of the Venus de Milo, one of the most famous works of Greek sculpture, brandishing a middle finger.

That led to widespread outrage in Greece, a libel lawsuit against ten journalists and accusations of German bias against the Greeks.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:33 February 23, 2012 by carlm
No good deed goes unpunished. The Germans and Greeks deserve each other.
18:33 February 23, 2012 by raandy
This more about the author than the subject.

Truly an outrageous comment.
18:47 February 23, 2012 by vonSchwerin
"the Jews of 2012"?!

I didn't realize that German police and soldiers were rounding up the Greeks, putting them in cattle cars without food, shipping to Poland, and killing them using poison gas.

Wow. I must have missed something in the news.
19:04 February 23, 2012 by karldehm
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:25 February 23, 2012 by Grumpy Old Man
I read recently that there were many more tourists visiting Greece in 2011 compared with previous years. I wonder how 2012 will look, given these kind of actions?
20:43 February 23, 2012 by derExDeutsche
@ Grumpy Old Man

The Greeks could have many many more tourists, but the Unions who control the ports, have made them prohibitive expensive to dock at. For quite some time, Cruise Operators have been avoiding Greece and are instead visiting the ports of neighboring countries.

just another example of greed, corruption, mismanagement with just about everybody looking the other way. because either they or someone related to them was on the pay rolls.
20:47 February 23, 2012 by Eastard
It is important to keep things in perspective. Greece has never been wrong about anything or at fault for anything. Just ask them. It is most important to have someone else to blame... In this case it is important to insult the leadership of the country doing the most to help them amidst this effort. German leadeship has spent the last two years of their time trying to help another country help themselves... What does Germany get for this effort... Blame and a bill.. My opinion of the Greek culture has really been damaged in recent years... They do NOT DESERVE what the EU is doing to help them... When you hear of them using the Nazi scheme, they have bottomed out...
20:54 February 23, 2012 by melbournite
This cheap nationalism on both sides is just a way to divert blame from the real culprits - the capitalists in both countries. EU banks *did* flood Greece with cheap credit irresponsibly in order to make them dependent on exports largely from Germany. Its not a national fault however but the corrupt way the "market" is manipulated to suit the rich
20:59 February 23, 2012 by finanzdoktor
The solution is very simple: Germany takes away any funding it has promised to the Greek bailout and refuses to let any of its banking/financial institutions to purchase Greek sovereign bonds (considering most of them have had their branches in Greece vandalized). Then, the Greeks can keep their sovereignty intact, while they go bust.
22:46 February 23, 2012 by wxman
Germany is quickly learning what it's been like to be America. Those who benefit from your largess and generosity always resent you. Have fun and grow thick skin.
08:59 February 24, 2012 by steve_glienicke
Personally if i was the greeks, i would not Pißß off the very people who are the majority tourists to there country, far more germans than anyother nationality visit the greek islands for vacation each year, of course if the greeks feel they can survive (i doubt) without the German's euro's or have a fantastic plan B (also i doubt), then if it was me, i'd shut my big mouth and appreciate the people who at least bring something into this debt ridden enviroment and provide a bit of a economy for them to work from.
09:23 February 24, 2012 by jpl82
The guy was fined as it he went far beyond what was acceptable, there's no comparison to the suffering under that well known dictator.

But the anti Merkel sentiment is understandable, her government came in and made a bad situation much much worse. Her insistence that the Greeks use harsh austerity will hit the German people as well. This austerity is one of the main factors for the increase in suicides, the decrease in medical services and huge increase in violence experienced in Greece. Thus the indirect reason why more Greeks are dying!!!!

The result of austerity is the moral superior feeling (expressed in quite a few comments above) and the deterioration of the whole European economy. This situation could have been handled relatively painlessly for both countries but then Merkel would not have been able to point and say look what happens when you don't follow my plan. If she continues down this course she will eventually tear the union apart.
10:41 February 24, 2012 by 1TruthTeller
Well, when your only exports are sunshine, ouzo, olive oil and feta, one can only sympathize with those tasked with paying your bills for you. Bring back the Drachma, and go sort your selves out.
12:07 February 24, 2012 by Eastard
You know, I think the discussion of austerity dilutes the fundamental issues. No one really cares about how the Greeks meet their obligations... just that they do. For many years their financial/political leadership has agree to anything necessary to secure more external funding deficits... only to not be able to repay the last loan.. No one really cares how they do it just that they do... When a pattern of fiscal mismanagement repeats, all banks have the right/obligation to either charge more interest to cover the risk or impose conditions of repayment... Basic mathematics show that the Greeks past the point of no return on debt/interest and any funding was surely doomed to default... without a change in the ability to repay... Why would any responsible bank loan money to a sure loss..? I'm fairly sure that the Greeks in general are so used to living above their means that this all appears as an attack on their sovereignty to suggest any change... ie they are not the one's being defaulted on so why worry...They want to be treated as an adult when acting like a child.. At fault is a world that has raised a full generation or two to believe this... The sad part is that most likely they will not sustain the change required to work their way out of their problems.. Watch out for the HELP on its way coming from China and Russia...
12:22 February 24, 2012 by frankiep
How can anyone take Greece seriously ever again? Why would anyone ever want to do business there again?

They spent themselves into near bankruptcy of their own free will. I don't recall anyone ever forcing Greece to put half it's population on the government payroll, and to give out such ridiculous benefits such as unreasonably high salaries and retirement before the age of 60. They did this to themselves and have only themselves to blame.

But here comes Germany offering to help get their finances in order before their economy completely collapses and they are welcomed as warmly as the devil. And why do the Greeks treat Germany like the devil? Because Germany has the nerve to demand that the money they want to basically GIVE to Greece is spent to improve the economy and not so that Greece can continue doing the same things that got them into this mess in the first place.

The Greek government appears to realize this and has agreed to make the necessary adjustments in order to receive the outside assistance which is so desperately needed, but the Greek people don't approve and respond by rioting, setting their cities on fire, and branding anyone offering to help as being Nazis. Truly a great strategy for a country in the middle of an economic meltdown and which relies almost exclusively on tourism to survive. Frankly I'm just amazed at the patience which the rest of the EU has shown towards this nation of children.

Stay classy, Greece.
16:56 February 24, 2012 by RedLeg6
I really wished that the Eurozone would have either kicked Greece out or just let them go down their own toilet.
18:01 February 24, 2012 by ssjason
I don't think people should compare their suffering to that faced by the victims of the holocaust unless they and their family are currently being murdered in a gas chamber.
18:20 February 24, 2012 by dwight99
The EU is Greater Germany. Since the Hiroshima explosion, lending to the co-opted leadership of sovereign countries has replaced the Panzer tank as the primary method of imperialism. American, British and German banker/fascists are dividing the spoils.

So now we listen to denigrations of the Greek national character as 70 years ago we listened to the same applied to the Poles or Slavs or Jews.

The interest payments on the Greek debt have grown so large as to threaten the survival of the Greek state and its citizens. The debt should be forgotten. The world will not collapse, as the predator bankers threaten it will.
01:06 February 25, 2012 by Deutschguy
One irresponsible journalist does not represent the majority of Greek citizens. Only the most outrageous and sensational images will be amplified to generate a news story or headline.

The protests in the Greek streets do not represent the sentiments of Greek citizens, either. A majority of Greeks do not trust their own government and they resent the size and cost of a bloated public sector.

Anti-Greek sentiment is used by a few German politicians to whip up support at home, and anti-German sentiment is used by a few Greek politicians/parties for the same reason. You can see the same tactics in the US (anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Europe) and in Europe (anti-US).

It has nothing to do with what makes economic sense or rational decision making in government or industry, including banking. Just a sideshow for narrow political gain.
08:12 February 25, 2012 by Den Maskin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:54 February 25, 2012 by Deutschguy
@Den Maskin: But you kind of fall into the same mindset. When you speak of Greece, you use an all inclusive term, "they". Private sector Greeks do and did not receive those same benefits, but their government is so corrupt that they felt helpless to be able to change it. Only the public sector Greeks got it. Getting a job with government was only for the well-connected and prized, due to all those things you mention.

This is somewhat of an abdication of European and American responsibility: "It is not fair that German taxpayers must pay for Greece's problems." Remember that German, European, and US banks facilitated the issuing of debt for Greece without performing what is known as "due diligence". Those banks were glad to make the fees earned from debt structuring and issuance. And they asked no questions, proof, or accounting/audit documents.

And, German and other exporters were glad to receive current account payments from Greeks for those imported products. Also, ex-pat Greeks, esp. those with education, had changed their "thinking and lifestyle", as had many in the Greek private sector. They were just powerless to change their own government.
18:21 February 25, 2012 by Michel_Berlin
"...the Jews of 2012"

Heh:)

False analogy...the Jews can hold their money much better! :)

@Russel

Good joke

If Germany used her Panzer again we would save Billions and Billions of support for this bottomless pit called Greece.

But even so, it's just not worth it.

Oh and why don't you lobby your country for an "Axis" to fight the mean Germans and stop them from sending money down South...why don't you do it instead???

Huh? How is that???:)

Economy and money rules! So either you take Germany on this or you are just another little barker trying to bugger the big german oak. Big mouth but nothing behind it!
23:48 February 25, 2012 by Den Maskin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:03 February 26, 2012 by Nenya
Um, ok...I'd like to say a few words about the situation in Greece.

Some facts:

1) Yes, Greece was absolutely flooded, with cheap credit. I've been told banks would actually call you up to offer some daily. Advertising "holiday credit" on the tv, all shops offered "payment plans" for basic items... Obviously if you're told something is NORMAL, you do it. It doesn't make it right, ofc!

2) Greeks were actually pretty ready to accept reform and grateful for German generosity at first, but when the various papers and politicians here started making declarations such as "Greeks are all taking advantage" or "they live entitled lives", "they're lazy asses & we'll teach them to work", obviously, they got just a LITTLE BIT ANGRY. The constant reporting of what German papers are printing about Greece, made them furious. Isn't that normal? All their real sacrifices are reduced to "you deserve it and I call the shots".

3) There are a lot of half-truths out there. Eg-, that tale that Greeks retire at 50? A state employee may chose to "retire" at 50, but this is statutory, not real. He'll get a state pension of 300-400 EUR, and then (1) use their life savings to open a small shop & run it until they die or (2) raise the grandchildren for their working kids or (3) buy land and farm it. That part is simply failure to understand a different system and family structure. Likewise, all the complaints about "14 salaries a year". In practice: +400 or 500 € p.a.

5) Merkel in a nazi uniform- Historical reminder: During the war, Hitler "borrowed" the entire gold reserve of the Bank of Greece (an amount that is estimated to be between 61 and 181 billion €, with interest). At the end of the war, in order to avoid humiliating Germany, many repayments were delayed until it could afford them. Subsequently, Germany has managed to avoid it alltogether, but in doing so, Merkel is failing to close this chapter & opening herself to the comparison. I mean what exactly is the logic behind giving Greece money as a loan when you owe them money to begin with?

My opinion:

1) Greece badly needs to make reforms. Unfortunately the more people are pushed into their last resorts, the less likely they are to welcome it.

2) The 2 nations need to feel less animosity towards each other.

4) Both media need to tone down the flag-waving & sabre-rattling!

5) Europe needs to grow in stature & be a union of peoples. Solidarity not optional. ALL national caricatures are uncalled for.

If there is ONE country in Europe that SHOULD understand solidarity, the need to avoid humiliation, it's Germany. If it managed a difficult reunification in '90, it could bring Europe together. But so far, factionalisms & playing to the crowd disgrace us all, demeaning our union & global role.
00:12 February 27, 2012 by Michel_Berlin
@Russel

American, huh? Thought so:

As I said, loud mouth only, that you do best! :):):)
17:01 March 2, 2012 by Charles Norrie
This is a disgraceful slur. Comapred to the Federal republic Greece has only been democratic for a few years.

Germany has had to put up with a lot from a failed country with a wonderful past but no future and has shown great tolerance of its financial mismanagement, which goes back many years.
17:48 March 2, 2012 by thebreester
Im loathe to use the nazi-analogy when not talking about actual nazis. Is it at all possible to talk politics without falling victim to Godwins Law?
16:19 March 3, 2012 by quiller
The introduction by Europe of the Euro was done with great fanfare, partying, music and flag waving. Unfortunately the European Commission, European governments, regulators and bankers did not do their jobs correctly and professionaly. They have consequently have dropped the people in the fertiliser and current rationale by the European elite above is to save the banks at the expense of the citizenry of Europe. Most of these debts incurred by European banks have nothing to do with the vast majority of the citizens. The profligate banks should have been allowed to go to the wall - the same as the bankrupt sweet shop or supermarket on the street corner. Capitalism is about profit and loss - this form of capitalism is East European style socialism. My business loses so you the people lose.
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