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Grass attacks austerity forced on Greece

The Local · 26 May 2012, 12:01

Published: 26 May 2012 12:01 GMT+02:00

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His latest poem, “Europe’s Shame”, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, talks of the chaos in Greece and the suffering there, yet warns that Europe would be soulless if Greece were to leave as it had dreamed up the European idea.

He describes Greece as a country condemned to poverty, and as a “country without rights, whose belt is pulled tighter and tighter by the powers with rights.”

His previous poem, “What must be said”, drew some praise, but also provoked a storm of criticism and led to the Israeli government banning him from visiting the country.

It remains to be seen whether this second poem will spark a similarly heated debate. It was carried in all of Germany’s major newspapers Saturday.

“In total one should not take Günter Grass so seriously any more,” said Gunther Krichbaum, a conservative MP who chairs the German parliamentary committee on Europe. He told the Deutschlandfunk radio station Grass’ criticism was not pertinent to the actual situation.

Story continues below…

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:50 May 26, 2012 by smart2012
@siba: I could not comment to the article, due to consecutive messages not allowed (do not know why..)

read this, it is very interesting

16:22 May 26, 2012 by pepsionice
Let us not drive ourselves into some naive state of mind.

A number of people of one society felt they were owed services, pensions, and infrastructure beyond what they could ever afford. They personally voted the right political individuals into office over the past four decades to continue this brilliant concept of forgetful debt. Year after year, those political figures used every penny and then more, to pay out higher pay schedules, more pension funding, and more infrastructure. No one dare question the methods here.

When it came time to swear your financial status to the EU....the society then openly lied. They didn't even think about the ethical status of doing what they were doing.

So a decade has passed, and the debt is such that they cannot survive in any form now. So they stand and ask for other societies to chip in and donate to their lifestyle expectations, without really thinking about a true effort to live within your means. Reward foolishness, because it simply makes sense.

I'm trying hard to see Grass's point here, but I think he's lost focus in life.
18:59 May 26, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:25 May 26, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Kosmonaughty

Are you sure about your information? I thought Lucas Papademos was the Governor of the Bank of Greece between 1994 and 2002. During the years you referred to, i.e. 2002-2010, he was Vice President of European Central Bank.

I also thought the main culprit of the falsified entry of Greece in the Eurozone, was Costas Simitis, the prime minister at that time.

The big problem is that the Greek people did not take any measure against their politicians that lied. Maybe because it is easier to blame foreigners than to admit that it was Greeks that brought Greece in its crisis.
19:37 May 26, 2012 by mikerol
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:49 May 26, 2012 by smart2012
@Chris Rea u tell me that the Greek taxi drivers should have known about country budget falsification, and not Papademos who was Vice President of European Central Bank from 2002 and 2010? and there are auditors paid by many banks/financial groups who inpect budgets/finacials for banks/financial groups. How didn't those guys find out all of this? It seems it was a silent agreement, where everyone was profiting, until it exploded, and now (German) people are accusing the greek normal population... funny...
19:50 May 26, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:27 May 27, 2012 by Sayer
Mr. Grass is 100% correct. Time for Greece to exit the Euro and for the Euro rules to be strictly enforced for those who stay.
13:45 May 27, 2012 by smart2012
Read this...


Not populistic, just real truth
15:01 May 28, 2012 by axlathi
Leave the blame game to the historians. I¦#39;m sure they¦#39;ll do a better job with 20-20 hindsight than any of you who, regardless of whom you assign responsibility to, are ultimately making blind accusations (or in some cases exonerations) on the basis of personal/national bias and incomplete information (myself included).

The truth is that there are a lot of different people, groups, parties, countries (including both Germany and Greece) etc. who had a hand in creating this crisis. And each of them - from the lowliest citizen who kept voting in corrupt politicians when they should have known better, all the way up to those corrupt politicians who bled their countries dry, as well as the fat cat banksters who lent money to countries they ought to have know didn¦#39;t have the GDP to ever pay back, and greedy businessmen from Siemens and the like who happily paid kickbacks to those corrupt politicians in order to get their share of the pie that a good portion of all that borrowed money ended up being spent on ­ each of them (and others) has to take their proportionate share of the responsibility (and for some that taking of responsibility should include some serious jail time).

But while everyone is pointing fingers and pontificating about their take on the crisis, the ship is sinking, and fast! And if we¦#39;re going to stop it, we need a serious reality check.

Either you believe in the European project, or you don¦#39;t. But you can¦#39;t believe in it and then insist that this crisis is going to get solved simply by the Germans paying for everything, or by the Greeks strangling themselves to death. Once we stop with the moralising, there is no longer a right solution or a wrong solution, there is only a solution that works or doesn¦#39;t.

To whit: Germany is going to have to pay one way or the other - either up front in order to help the insolvent Eurozone countries weather the storm, or through the knock-on effects that the resulting collapse in world markets will have on the German economy.

Either way, the costs to Germany will be astronomical (though arguably the collapse of world markets will be the more expensive) ­ the significant difference is that in the former scenario, Germany would be hailed as the saviour of Europe (for a change), especially if they at the same time use the clout that this would give them to make sure that countries like Greece really do enact fundamental reforms, rather than the panicked irrational measures that are being enacted now in a desperate attempt to stop the country falling off the cliff. While in the latter scenario, Germany will go down in history as having destroyed Europe once again, albeit this time through lack of leadership and inaction rather than military means.
17:18 May 28, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:11 May 29, 2012 by mikerol
I have been paying some real attention to the situation since I started to follow the controversy that erupted with the publication of Guenter Grass's poem warning of the consequences of an Israeli first strike, here the links to the archive for the controversy,


and to various ensuing discussions

A compendium of critical opinions


And of positive takes summapolitico.blogspot/05/defense-of-beast-post-mortem-part-ii-of.html



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