History. I can’t sleep, the Wednesday Guardian arrives in my email. Check it out. The Greeks as usual. Headline: “Greece given days to agree to bailout deal or face banking collapse and euro exit”. They have like 48 hours to show new austerity budget plans to the Europeans or else the troika pulls the plug, no more cash for you (Angela as the Cash Nazi) the banking system collapses and the Greek government will be forced to issue a new currency with which to pay its bills. Of course Angela is not letting two facts stand in her way: first, that austerity hasn’t worked and won’t again; it causes all kinds of suffering, yes, which she likes, yes, yes! — but it shrinks an economy faster than the savings can pay back debts, so that debt in ratio to the GDP keeps growing the more the debtor pays it back, requiring more austerity, etc.; and, second, that the Europeans are again requiring the Greek government to do exactly that which in two elections they’ve been mandated not to do, most recently by 62 percent of their people. So much for European democracy.
OKAY…. so I’m reading this story and I get to this wee tidbit:
“[With] the Greek government it is every time ‘mañana’,” said Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, one of the Greek government’s harshest critics. “It can always be ‘mañana’ every day.”
Get it? Lazy darkies to the south? Racial enough for you? When I read this, as when I read some days ago that we’re moving major weaponry into these new allies’ (the Baltic three) territories, my stomach turned over.
And history herself can be heard shrieking in the attic.
Let’s dance back in time, to the days when Germany occupied Greece (having saved the hapless Italians from an ass-beating) and were launching an invasion of the good ole’ Soviet Union. The Lithuanians — before the Germans got there but as soon as they knew they were free of Soviet oversight — started murdering Jews in massive riots in the Vilnius ghetto. They started taking Jews out to the woods and slaughtering them and throwing the bodies in open pits. The Germans soon arrived to make everything official — although it’s been written that here, as in Ukraine and Croatia, the Germans were a bit taken aback by the bloodlust of their new subjects. Nevertheless working together with the Germans the Lithuanians made sure that by the time the Soviets liberated the place, of the 220,000 Jews who’d inhabited the country in 1941, only 10,000 were still alive. (Those Jews still alive in the Lithuanian concentration camps, as the Germans retreated, were sent to other camps further west to keep the Soviets from freeing them. Amid that chaos, this they took care of.)
It’s a lot of work, a huge amount of labor and logistics, to murder 200,000 people and dispose of their corpses. Picture it. Go ahead. A simple, muscular job, for simple, muscular people.
Nowadays the Lithuanians are busy repatriating the dusty bones of their beloved leader of the era, a Nazi collaborator (whom the U.S., of course, took in, as we took in so many other war criminals) and having marches in the streets honoring Lithuanian members of the Waffen SS.
So we need to hear ethnic slurs from our new fucking friends the Lithuanians like we need to get shot in the groin. It is sickening.
Angela marches on. Francois scrambles to keep up. (A socialist, he is, you know. Theoretically.) The other history lesson: Greece was run by a vicious clan of oligarchs until the Germans took over. The Greek working classes then produced the largest and most effective resistance movement in Europe. Many of these brave fighters it turned out wanted to be friends with their socialist brothers and Germany’s enemy, the Soviet Union, so the Allies made sure to squash all movement toward real democracy in Greece after the war and brought back the oligarchs and the military to run the country as a right wing dictatorship. Churchill was apparently a key player in forming this policy: Thanks old man. They finally shook this off in 1974 but the oligarchs still frequently ran the country and have never been far off; they are the great friends of the west. And clearly the Germans, the ECB, etc, want them back in power.
And what’s austerity, after all, to an oligarch? A reason to hire more personal security, perhaps.
(The US nightmare is that the Europeans will indeed cut loose these sulky, shiftless darkies and who will come in to lend a helping hand? Hmm? Try Russia. That’s what WE care about.)
Let us keep in mind, too, that in 1992, an exuberantly reunited Germany threw kerosene on a small flame by instantly recognizing their old WWII ally Croatia when it feebly declared independence from the theretofore united Yugoslavia — or, essentially, the Russia-aligned enemy of the WWII years, Serbia. A few weeks later, effectively having started an ethnic war in the Balkans that would last four years and consume tens of thousands of lives, the German foreign minister resigned. His departing words were ‘Oops, my bad’. Now, who has us facing off against WWII enemy Russia because of Ukraine? Germany. Who is driving WWII conquest Greece into a decade of suffering because it wants to punish a recalcitrant old enemy and remove its Socialist government? Germany. Who is the ultimate enemy, the enemy of enemies? Russia. Who will stumble idiotically into the coming conflagration, not knowing our asses from our elbows, historically or strategically? Us.
Germany as the robust new leader of Europe is redrawing all the lines of their Eastern campaign in WWII, this time with France and the US behind them, the French because they’re craven, us because we’re ignorant. Interestingly enough, the British, who actually know history, are hanging fire. In the end chances are few but they still exist, that the British will do that superb British thing and stand up to the whole lot of us. I like to dream.
All the highmindedness of Europe: it’s like a flasher’s raincoat.