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  #21  
Old 29.09.2011, 22:14
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Re: greek bashing

Is it anything like bishop bashing or have I completely got the wrong end of the stick??
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  #22  
Old 29.09.2011, 22:15
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Re: greek bashing

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I agree, it's awful what is going on in Greece now, and it is obviously really hurting the average Greek-on-the-street, but to say that the majority of Greeks follow the rules and paid their taxes is a laugh!

As people are alluding to in some of the posts here, tax evasion and avoidance is absolutely rampant in Greece. I lived in Athens for 4 years and can't tell you the number of times I was asked to hand over a nice white envelope full of cash to a doctor or some other professional and then receive a receipt for only half the amount I paid.

When I joined the local gym the owner told me the cost of membership was 40 euro per month, he then gave me a receipt for 20 euro. I looked at the receipt and said thank you. He looked at me and said "no, thank you". You had to have a full blown argument with every taxi driver to get him to turn on his meter.

When the drachma was phased out and the euro came in there was an economic boom as everyone dragged out their black money drachmas from under the mattress to spend up big before it was no longer legal tender. There was no way they could put that money into a bank account so it had to be spent.

It's the way of life there and quite frankly everyone accepted it as such. Unfortunately, the chickens are coming home to roost now. It's awful, for sure and I really feel for the average Greek. I was there over the summer and the number of empty shops and severe lack of tourists is sad to see. But things really could not have carried on the way they were and I regret to say, this crash was inevitable.

Luckily for the Greeks though, Germany can't afford to see the country fail and so the Greeks will be bailed out and all that euro money that was gleefully tossed about in the heydays of the early 2000s will never have to be accounted for or paid back.
of course, corruption and bribery is a huge problem in greece, and somehow everyone was accepting it. always has been like that and many times it was impossible to have anything done in another way. but again, there are A LOT of people who simply cannot tax evade, even if they wanted to (i.e people having fixed contracts either in the public or private sector). not everyone was getting bribed or stealing money from the state. and the ones who have are getting away with it while many who haven't have to pay for it.
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  #23  
Old 29.09.2011, 22:22
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Re: greek bashing

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So, yes. Let's be nice, shall we? You can't blame Crimson for the fact that quite a lot of business in Greece is done by plain envelope.


just to clarify, i was not referring to this forum particularly, but rather to real life incidents. i normally don't mind people making fun of greeks (i make fun of them myself) but having people talking badly about greeks and at the same time seeing first hand what some people very close to me having to deal with started getting on me. also, coming from a family that has always been correct (and no, we are not the only ones) it feels a bit unfair when i have to hear the same "jokes" all the time. (especially from people who dont know how it really was/is there)
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Old 29.09.2011, 22:25
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Re: greek bashing

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So, yes. Let's be nice, shall we? You can't blame Crimson for the fact that quite a lot of business in Greece is done by plain envelope.
On the contrary, payment via fakalaki is an absolutely excellent idea, especially if your'e the one receiving it. .

I would never slag off the Greeks. My kids have dozens of doting Greek aunts and uncles, along with quite a few yayas too (not related to us of course, but are more devoted than some of our blood relatives.)

If I could choose to be born any nationality, it would probably be Greek but no matter how tight I wore my white trousers, I was never quite as cool and glamorous as an Athenian.

Yes, it's rude to bang on about it, but it's also a little naive (just a little) to have the mother of all parties, wake up with a raging hangover, and then expect the boring sods in the rest of the world not to point and chant "nah, nah, nah, nah ,naaaaaah!!!"
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Old 30.09.2011, 00:28
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Re: greek bashing

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Greek looking to relocate To all the Greeks: Don't care about what some of the people in this forum say...there are a lot of repressed loud asshats that express their frustrations here. They are bullies to a great extend, and very arrogant...and they even think that they are "friendly" (typical English humor). I seriously don't understand how a British or an American can have the "faccia tosta" of telling European countries how they should run their houses...given the massive financial problems in the UK and in the US. Maybe Europe should kick out the UK (which is only a burden and a trojan horse of the US in Europe...De Gaulle was right), and give them a lesson. This Euro-crisis is a great opportunity for these pricks, and the Anglo-American media, to divert the attention of their lazy and ignorant viewers from the problems at home. Maybe these people that bash the average hard-working Greeks are the same "financial experts" that years ago helped the Greek government falsify their balances...they are always ready to help a corrupt government. P.S. I know why the returns are not shown in my posts...it must have to do with one of the many security-related Firefox plugins that I use, to now allow those pricks at Google and Facebook to track me and make money out of my profile, or to now allow Cross-site requests...I don't have the same problem with other forums...so it's this forum that it's broken.
Yes, it's a real mystery why no one wants you here.
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Old 30.09.2011, 19:10
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Re: greek bashing

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I agree, it's awful what is going on in Greece now, and it is obviously really hurting the average Greek-on-the-street, but to say that the majority of Greeks follow the rules and paid their taxes is a laugh!

As people are alluding to in some of the posts here, tax evasion and avoidance is absolutely rampant in Greece. I lived in Athens for 4 years and can't tell you the number of times I was asked to hand over a nice white envelope full of cash to a doctor or some other professional and then receive a receipt for only half the amount I paid.

When I joined the local gym the owner told me the cost of membership was 40 euro per month, he then gave me a receipt for 20 euro. I looked at the receipt and said thank you. He looked at me and said "no, thank you". You had to have a full blown argument with every taxi driver to get him to turn on his meter.

When the drachma was phased out and the euro came in there was an economic boom as everyone dragged out their black money drachmas from under the mattress to spend up big before it was no longer legal tender. There was no way they could put that money into a bank account so it had to be spent.

It's the way of life there and quite frankly everyone accepted it as such. Unfortunately, the chickens are coming home to roost now. It's awful, for sure and I really feel for the average Greek. I was there over the summer and the number of empty shops and severe lack of tourists is sad to see. But things really could not have carried on the way they were and I regret to say, this crash was inevitable.

Luckily for the Greeks though, Germany can't afford to see the country fail and so the Greeks will be bailed out and all that euro money that was gleefully tossed about in the heydays of the early 2000s will never have to be accounted for or paid back.
You could replace Greece with Italy, Greeks with Italians and Athens with Rome. All of your statements will still remain valid.

The problem is with the whole mediterranean / southern european culture. We don't have the "community spirit", PERIOD. We are individualists, we only care about the people we know and we are close to. We are still stuck at the tribal / clan mentality, which perhaps worked a century ago, but now in a globalized environment it doesn't work anymore. We don't give a rats ass about our government, public services and all that jazz. As sad as it may sound (and it is, believe me!) this is our culture. Our politicians are corrupted just because (almost) everybody is corrupted. And if you live following the law you will always take it up your ***. Everybody cheats or does something illegal simply because everybody wants to follow the shorter path blaming the institutions for not being reliable. Those institutions that are filled by corrupted individuals who are just the same as everybody else!

We have great (indoor) houses / apartments, but our streets are all patched / broken and our public transports are second / third world.

Is it all such a catastrophe? No.. the problem is that the whole European Union concept was wrong since the beginning. Europe is not the USA. They wanted to do the United States of Europe and they failed. We are too different. A Norvegian/German/Swedish is as different from a Spanish/Italian/Greek like Apples and Oranges are. We should have just created an economical area of free trade/exchange without trying to bring up a central government.

Or .. just wait a few centuries. Perhaps we could all become the same.. but then the spirit of Europe would be lost.
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Old 30.09.2011, 20:00
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Re: greek bashing

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You could replace Greece with Italy, Greeks with Italians and Athens with Rome. All of your statements will still remain valid.

The problem is with the whole mediterranean / southern european culture. We don't have the "community spirit", PERIOD. We are individualists, we only care about the people we know and we are close to. We are still stuck at the tribal / clan mentality, which perhaps worked a century ago, but now in a globalized environment it doesn't work anymore. We don't give a rats ass about our government, public services and all that jazz. As sad as it may sound (and it is, believe me!) this is our culture. Our politicians are corrupted just because (almost) everybody is corrupted. And if you live following the law you will always take it up your ***. Everybody cheats or does something illegal simply because everybody wants to follow the shorter path blaming the institutions for not being reliable. Those institutions that are filled by corrupted individuals who are just the same as everybody else!

We have great (indoor) houses / apartments, but our streets are all patched / broken and our public transports are second / third world.

Is it all such a catastrophe? No.. the problem is that the whole European Union concept was wrong since the beginning. Europe is not the USA. They wanted to do the United States of Europe and they failed. We are too different. A Norvegian/German/Swedish is as different from a Spanish/Italian/Greek like Apples and Oranges are. We should have just created an economical area of free trade/exchange without trying to bring up a central government.

Or .. just wait a few centuries. Perhaps we could all become the same.. but then the spirit of Europe would be lost.
Holy words! 100% in agreement with you! Europe has been made up ignorant bureaucrats who only had in mind the monetary unity, thinking that could lead to society unity. Clearly, they didn't know what they wanted to achieve. If this is not social ignorance, what else? Sadly, they lacked the cultural level and wiseness of the ancient greeks and italians, who paved the way for a proper wester culture, destroyed now by the euro bureaucrats.
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Old 30.09.2011, 20:33
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Re: greek bashing

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A Norvegian/German/Swedish is as different from a Spanish/Italian/Greek like Apples and Oranges are.
but in the end, we're all just fruit

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We should have just created an economical area of free trade/exchange without trying to bring up a central government.
agree. and i think this is what many people will begin to realise/want. any pan-european initiatives can be negotiated on a multi-lateral basis without signing away our rights forever to unknown bureaucrats.
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Old 30.09.2011, 20:37
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Re: greek bashing

A comment from a journalist on TV5 once: Greeks would prefer to have a well funcitoning tax paying system rather than paying bribes, it would be cheaper.

I don't know Greece, but such openness in a News report amazed me. The woman is Greek/French bilingual, so I guess she meant it.
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Old 30.09.2011, 20:56
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Re: greek bashing

same as the people from iceland complaining a couple of years ago.

but when, as a country, you borrow money from someone and decide not to pay it back because you want to retire early and don't want to sell off national assets and instead suggest the better idea is for the Germans to work longer to pay off the loans for you, then it's bound to annoy them.

OK, in the end the Greeks will probably get away with welching on their debts, but it's a bit much to ask that the creditors also shouldn't grumble about it!

Frankly, I don't have much sympathy for either side. The Greeks shouldn't have borrowed so much, and the banks shouldn't have lent so much. Nobody should have priced Greek bonds as if they were German Bunds.

Greece should have been allowed to default years ago and they would have had time to rebuild instead of being held in a zombie state.
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Old 30.09.2011, 21:19
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Re: greek bashing

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Bashing Greece - or any other country - is fine. I'm happy to have a good moan about Switzerland from time to time, and Greece has certainly never been exempt from my sharp tongue, even if I do love the country to bits.

What is out of order, though, is banging on about it in the presence of someone from that country. I never say rude things about Switzerland to my Swiss friends and colleagues. I might joke a bit about their inability to come out for a pint without three weeks' notice or somesuch, but I certainly wouldn't launch into a rant about how crap the country is, or how horrible the people are (it isn't, and they're not, but I'm sure you get my point).

The same, surely, should go for anyone else. It must be a right pain to come from a country like the United States or Israel or Serbia, which everyone and his dog think they have a right to slag off in your presence. Now the Greeks are getting it, too, and it can't be very pleasant.

Having said that, I don't mind at all when people slag off England in front of me as a) they're usually right and b) all the moaning in the world won't make them English.

So, yes. Let's be nice, shall we? You can't blame Crimson for the fact that quite a lot of business in Greece is done by plain envelope.
I have a very different opinion ,My watering hole(water=beer) is owned by a Greek guy ,the bar man is Greek.and he is seldom around when I am out of beer . So every one KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK with greek bashing
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  #32  
Old 01.10.2011, 11:40
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Re: greek bashing

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same as the people from iceland complaining a couple of years ago.

but when, as a country, you borrow money from someone and decide not to pay it back because you want to retire early and don't want to sell off national assets and instead suggest the better idea is for the Germans to work longer to pay off the loans for you, then it's bound to annoy them.

OK, in the end the Greeks will probably get away with welching on their debts, but it's a bit much to ask that the creditors also shouldn't grumble about it!

Frankly, I don't have much sympathy for either side. The Greeks shouldn't have borrowed so much, and the banks shouldn't have lent so much. Nobody should have priced Greek bonds as if they were German Bunds.

Greece should have been allowed to default years ago and they would have had time to rebuild instead of being held in a zombie state.

There is more to it than Greeks wanting to retire early and wanting otherEuropeans to pay off the loans. Look at the other side of the coin. It is not my fault as a Greek citizen thatgovernments, various citizens and businesses are corrupted. As a citizen, Ialways asked for a receipt and complained if someone was trying to tax evade. Iwas not the only one. The younger generations who are actually having to dealwith the consequences without being responsible for them want things to changein this country, they want the public sector to change its face, lazy andcorrupted public servants removed, they want a fair system of tax payment,businesses to become innovative, the educational system to become effective andemployment opportunities to arise. I want to also stress, but this reflects my personal opinion and the people I talk to, they are also against many of the strikes as they take place for the wrong reason (strikes, not "gatherings") But telling off the Greek expats or the Greekswishing to leave, obviously doesn't help, as it is obvious that in order towant to leave, they do not enjoy the current situation in Greece and of courseopinions are always welcome.
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  #33  
Old 01.10.2011, 12:03
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Re: greek bashing

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I don't blame the Greek people either - they took what benefits were offered. And why not?

I had a Greek girlfriend when I was in college. She was really a great person - full of life and laughter. And talk about capital injections... oorah.

Why NOT lay some blame with the greek people? They voted these politicians into office. They (I realize, broad sweeping generalization) took advantage of the system, etc.

I'm all for libertarianism and personal responsibility, but it sounds to me to be an extreme case of western (vs. e.g. Asian) thinking gone out of control:
- western: optimize my benefits, who cares about the team, if we all do this, the team as a whole will also benefit
- asian: i must not let the team down, will sacrifice for myself if necessary, this will benefit the team as a whole

Just a random morning rant. I like Greece and the Greeks that I met. Hell, I even spent ridiculous amounts of hours translating ancient Greek to Dutch in high school
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:07
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Re: greek bashing

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of course, corruption and bribery is a huge problem in greece, and somehow everyone was accepting it. always has been like that and many times it was impossible to have anything done in another way. but again, there are A LOT of people who simply cannot tax evade, even if they wanted to (i.e people having fixed contracts either in the public or private sector). not everyone was getting bribed or stealing money from the state. and the ones who have are getting away with it while many who haven't have to pay for it.
If it is such a huge problem, corruption and bribery, it is not just an issue of the people DOING it, but also of the people taking a blind eye and looking the other way. All that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing... etc
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:12
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Re: greek bashing

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If it is such a huge problem, corruption and bribery, it is not just an issue of the people DOING it, but also of the people taking a blind eye and looking the other way. All that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing... etc
yes, of course. i would say most of us (ie people living in greece) have been guilty of at least turning a blind eye or going with the flow, if you want. it is not to make excuses, but it has been extremely difficult to have many things done if you didn't follow the "system". and it has been extremely disappointing for people who tried to be correct and not turn a blind eye, as a lot of the time it produced zero results. unless you lived there it might be difficult to understand what i mean.
for me, living there was really frustrating, this is why i left.
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:23
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Re: greek bashing

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yes, of course. i would say most of us (ie people living in greece) have been guilty of at least turning a blind eye or going with the flow, if you want. it is not to make excuses, but it has been extremely difficult to have many things done if you didn't follow the "system". and it has been extremely disappointing for people who tried to be correct and not turn a blind eye, as a lot of the time it produced zero results. unless you lived there it might be difficult to understand what i mean.
Thank you for your honesty. So most of "them" have been turning a blind eye but are quite touchy when someone points that out, because that's "Greek bashing". Bashing the IMF, the EU, Germany, the financial press, international investors, etc. because they start to get tough(ish) with Geece is OK however.

Actually this is more or less what most Germans said in 1945. After they lost the war, of course, not while they were winning. And that excuse was ridiculed all over the world, even though in Nazi Germany, the consequence of not "following the system" was not (relative) economic hardship, but the guillotine or the gallows.
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:33
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Re: greek bashing

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Thank you for your honesty. So most of "them" have been turning a blind eye but are quite touchy when someone points that out, because that's "Greek bashing". Bashing the IMF, the EU, Germany, the financial press, international investors, etc. because they start to get tough(ish) with Geece is OK however.

Actually this is more or less what most Germans said in 1945. After they lost the war, of course, not while they were winning. And that excuse was ridiculed all over the world, even though in Nazi Germany, the consequence of not "following the system" was not (relative) economic hardship, but the guillotine or the gallows.
first of all, i didn't bash the imf, the eu, germany or anyone else for that matter. nor did i say that it's ok to bash them, so please don't put words in my mouth. all i did is express my anger for people being harsh and not seeing the human side of the problem and what people have to suffer.

i will not comment on your parallelism to germany 1945, as i refuse to be patronized like that.

all i said is that people had to turn a blind eye (some more than others) as this was the only way to have things done. it is easy to say that they shouldn't have when you are used to living in countries where things actually work the way they should.
in greece even if you wanted not to turn a blind eye and tried to report things to the authorities, you were quite likely to achieve nothing, as the authorities would also be bribed etc etc. as i said, it is difficult to understand if you have not lived there.
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:35
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Re: greek bashing

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first of all, i didn't bash the imf, the eu, germany or anyone else for that matter. nor did i say that it's ok to bash them, so please don't put words in my mouth. all i did is express my anger for people being harsh and not seeing the human side of the problem and what people have to suffer.

i will not comment on your parallelism to germany 1945, as i refuse to be patronized like that.

all i said is that people had to turn a blind eye (some more than others) as this was the only way to have things done. it is easy to say that they shouldn't have when you are used to living in countries where things actually work the way they should.
in greece even if you wanted not to turn a blind eye and tried to report things to the authorities, you were quite likely to achieve nothing, as the authorities would also be bribed etc etc. as i said, it is difficult to understand if you have not lived there.
I am sympathetic to you and your thoughts crimson, but when I read that last bit... I couldn't help but think "ehmmm so isn't some greek bashing justified then?"
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:43
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first of all, i didn't bash the imf, the eu, germany or anyone else for that matter. nor did i say that it's ok to bash them, so please don't put words in my mouth. all i did is express my anger for people being harsh and not seeing the human side of the problem and what people have to suffer.

i will not comment on your parallelism to germany 1945, as i refuse to be patronized like that.

all i said is that people had to turn a blind eye (some more than others) as this was the only way to have things done. it is easy to say that they shouldn't have when you are used to living in countries where things actually work the way they should.
in greece even if you wanted not to turn a blind eye and tried to report things to the authorities, you were quite likely to achieve nothing, as the authorities would also be bribed etc etc. as i said, it is difficult to understand if you have not lived there.
I've heard that last bit from so many old Germans (and quite a few young ones)... why is it patronising to point out that the majority of people only seem to speak up when they have their collective collars felt, but not while they thought they'd get away with it?
(The massive difference between Nazi Germany and Greece is that Germany obvioulsly committed unspeakable crimes, including in Greece, while modern Greece was only, as a state and on an insitutional level, corrupt and rotten. But I stand by my analogy.)
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Old 01.10.2011, 12:45
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Re: greek bashing

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I am sympathetic to you and your thoughts crimson, but when I read that last bit... I couldn't help but think "ehmmm so isn't some greek bashing justified then?"
just go back and read my initial post....nowhere there (or on any of my other posts) i tried to say that greek goverments (and people) have been correct and the bashing is coming out of nowhere. i started this thread as i am getting tired of hearing "joke" about lazy greeks when my friends back in greece are currently working their asses off (and have done that since i know them) and are still unable to make ends meet (and worse of all, to hope about the future).
all i wanted is to rant for the insensitivity (is that a word?!) of people a) bashing greeks when i am there (as it feels like they are bashing me) and b) not showing any kind of respect for normal people and all they have to suffer but rather thinking that what is happening to them is fair. or thinking that they had everything easy so far. believe me it was difficult even 8 years ago when i first left greece.

i don't feel that i have to expalin myself any more, i am not a spokeperson for greeks, i just made a rant about something that hurts me lately, as i know first hand how difficult it is for people there and all the accusations for lazyness and having it easy on the back of good hard working europeans are simply unfair. that's all.
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