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Thursday, 3 November 2011

"Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψη"

 At Thermopylae, the brave Greeks bested the might of the great and invincible Xerxes. Herodotus put the Persians at around 2 million, the Greeks a few thousand. Even so they inflicted a pretty bloody nose on the Persians.

At the time the Achaemenid Empire was the wonder of the known world. At its peak, it would have spanned three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe covering some 8 million square kms, with a total population of 50 million souls. It was highly organised with an elaborate civil service and administrative structure. It's financial and taxation systems were sophisticated, and there was free trade across the empire. 

Fast forward 2500 years and we find a large economic power finding itself in thrall of a small insignificant country. Greece has a population of only 10 million, the European Union - 300 million plus.

It's difficult to imagine either Chancellor Merkel or President Sarkozy as Xerxes the Great, but to my mind George Papandreou is a fitting successor to Leonidas. He's a man of steel, with a crystal hard determination to keep the hoards of Brussels civil servants from over-running the Acropolis.

Unfortunately, just like Leonidas and his brave 300, George has been betrayed by his own countrymen (his fellow Cabinet members).

Greece is in a mess, the Greeks know that as well as anyone. They don't need being constantly told that by a stuffy German Fraulein and a funny looking Frenchman. As far as Athenians are concerned, they and their fellow sufferers are being ground down to dust by the heel of the EU. In the word of one savvy Greek: "We have a choice. Being poor and ensnared or even poorer but free."

I imagine the Greeks will need all their ancient spirit of adventure and discovery, should they tell Berlin, Brussels and Paris; ""We don't give a drachma for your Eurozone."

3 comments:

Marginalia said...

Steve, I'm sorry, I marked your reply as spam!!! Must get smaller fingers for my mobile.

Marginalia said...

Steve, retrieved from my trash can, but Blogger won't let me publish.

"They need Gerald Butler to stand up at the next EU summit and shout "THIS IS SPARTA!" at the top of his lungs. I'd pay good money to see that."

In a Scottish accent....

Steve said...

Bless you for rescuing my comment. The mark of a true Spartan.