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Τhree Day Celebrations in #Athens for the centennial of the #PontianGenocide, @PanosKammenos

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This year’s Thursday, May 19, marked the 100th anniversary of the Pontian Greek genocide by the Turks, that took place between 1916-1923, the most tragic page of Pontian Greek history.

“Will the outrageous terrorising, the cruel torturing, the driving of women into the harems, the debauchery of innocent girls, the sale of many of them at eighty cents each, the murdering of hundreds of thousands and the deportation to, and  and starvation in, the deserts of other hundreds of thousands, the destruction of hundreds of villages and cities, will the wilful execution of this whole devilish scheme to annihilate the Armenian, Greek and Syrian Christians of Turkey — will all this go unpunished?” – Henry Morgenthau, United States ambassador to Turkey, 1918

The Pontiac genocide was a mass slaughter that is but one chapter in the murderous campaign by the Ottoman Empire against Christians. In Pontus alone, it is estimated that some 350,000 Greeks were killed who were totally deprived of the Black Sea region, their native land.

Here is an overview of the Pontian genocide from the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago:

With the commencement of World War I in 1914, Turkey called for general mobilization. Since the Christian men were not allowed to bare arms, they were sent to labor battalions in the interior of Turkey, which were essentially “battalions of death.” Forced labor in the treacherous mountains and ravines, hunger, and exposure to severe weather conditions killed most of those forced to serve in these labor battalions. Some of those who survived were able to escape to join those Greeks in the mountains who took up arms to protect themselves and their families. After eliminating a significant part of the male population, the Young Turk leaders and later Kemal Ataturk, proceeded to eliminate the rest of the Greek population including the elderly, women, and children. Their plan was to deport the Greek population to the interior and expose them to severe weather conditions, hunger, and illness. Censorship was used quite effectively to avoid headlines in the foreign press. After executing many prominent Greeks in the western Pontus, the Turks proceeded to deport a large part of the Greek population to the interior, Kurdistan, and as far as Syria…

By 1923, out of an approximate 700,000 Pontian Greeks who lived in Turkey at the beginning of World War I, as many as 350,000 were killed, and almost all the rest had been uprooted during the subsequent forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey. This was the end of one of the ancient Greek civilizations in Asia Minor. As a consequence of the deliberate and systematic policy of Turkification of the Ottoman Empire, it is estimated that more than 2.75 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks were slaughtered outright or were victims of the “white death” of disease and starvation — a result of the routine process of deportations, slave labor, and death marches.

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“A vicious campaign of horror, the Pontian genocide”, writes this year’s HALC article, of which each generation must learn, so that the memory of those who perished lives eternal.

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“Today, Friday, 20th of May 2016, the Ministry of National Defense, is welcoming with honors of the Head of the State the holy icon of Panagia Soumela ,symbol of Orthodoxy and the Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontos” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos stated

In 1922, when Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontus were driven from the lands of their ancestors, the monks hid the icon of Panagia Soumela that is believed to have been painted by Evangelist Luke. According to Orthodox Church tradition, the miraculous icon of Panagia Soumela was earlier found at the end of the fourth century A.D. in a cave at Mt. Mela, where it had miraculously, by Christian tradition,  been transferred by angels.

Παναγιά Σουμελά

The Minister of Defense thanked the Presidnt of Panagia Soumela Foundation President Giorgos Tanimanidis for “a religious relic of inestimable value.”

This year, on Saturday, May 21, 2016, the great Celebration Event will start in Dionysiou Areopagitou Street at 11am and will culminate at 8:30pm in the Temple of Olympian Zeus, to honor the Greeks of Pontus continuing the tradition and culture with the involvement of future generations to maintain their Pontian roots and heritage

Kammenos said that on that day, like every year, the Presidential Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will don the traditional Pontian uniforms to honor the heroes of the Pontian Greek genocide

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Source: Greek media coverage, and the  HALC blog

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Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome

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For Rome it is has been made clear that if Schengen goes, Dublin goes

Italy’s preference on the matter is  clear, with Gentiloni saying that it is the Dublin convention that requires review, especially the clause which requires asylum-seekers coming into the EU to be processed in their country of arrival. This clause has made Italy and Greece the buffer zone for Europe, receiving all migrants heading from Asia and North Africa to Europe via Turkey and the Mediterranean.

via Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome.

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“This is why I call you to judge me #Greeks…”, @PrimeministerGR said, resigning for #Grelections

By his address to the Greek people, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation to the President of the Republic, so as to request the renewal of the people’s verdict.

Starting his address to the Greek People, the Prime Minister underlined that everything that has been achieved by this government so far was due to the determination of the Greek people to his govt, for which Alexis Tsipras is asking for renewal by the early elections which are probably going to take place on September 20th, as soon as most of the Greeks are going to be back from any vacations that could possibly have made ( broken , financially, most of the Greek households)

“Today, the difficult stages that we have undergone together all this period through, come end with the final ratification of the agreement with Greece’s lenders and the disbursement of the first tranche of 23 million billion euros,” Alexis Tsipras noted, adding that “the economy will breathe,and the market is going to find a rhythm.”

Alexis Tsipras did not hide that there is still a long way to go through, and said: “This is not the end, but may be proved to be the beginning of the end of this situation.”
We did not achieve the kind of the agreement we would like to get”

“I want to me it clear, I want to be absolutely honest with you. We did not get the deal we wanted. In this battle we made concessions.The agreement we brought, given the correlation of the  circumstances, was the best one could succeed. It is agreement we have to stick to. But we will continue giving the battles to minimize its negative consequences, ” the Greek Prime Minster said.

Tsipras also commented on his govt. achievement during the negotiations to deter horizontal cuts by the agreement and talked about some of the advantages of the third memorandum.

“On this very moment,Tsipras said, we have currently an approved three-year deal with assured funding. The

“From this moment and on, I submit my resignation and the resignation of the government. The popular mandate which I took on January 25 has exhausted its limits”

 Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will propose holding snap elections on September 20, government sources said on Thursday, adding the premier is having separate telephone conversations with the leaders of the opposition parties to discuss the issue, ANA-MPA wrote.

 Τhe sources also said the government’s aim is to swear in a caretaker government on Monday.

At the end of a bruising seven months of negotiations with Greece’s international creditors, the prime minister eventually signed up to a deal that many in his party view as a U-turn on the anti-austerity platform that swept it to power in elections last January Tsipras has insisted that accepting creditor demands for further tough reforms was the only way to ensure his country remains in the eurozone, which is a key demand among the electorate according to opinion polls, the Guardi wrote, late Thurssay night.

Syriza is now thought likely to formally split. The leader of its dissident Left Platform, the former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, announced last week he intended to form a new anti-bailout movement, accusing the government of capitulating to the “dictatorship of the eurozone”.

Tsipras won parliamentary backing for the tough bailout program last week by a comfortable margin despite the large-scale rebellion among members of his ruling leftwing Syriza party who count now at nearly one-third of whose 149 MPs either voted against the deal or abstained. Since the end of January25 that brought Tsipras’ left-wing party ti government Syriza governs in a coalition with the right wing anti-austerity party, the Independent Greeks (Anel).

The revolt by hardliners angry at what they view as a betrayal of the party’s pledge to fight austerity left Tsipras short of the 120 votes he would need – two-fifths of the 300-seat assembly – to survive a censure motion and he was widely expected to call a confidence vote this week or next.

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So why is he doing it and why is he doing it now? the Guardian asks on is recent article . Even polls at this stage in the game cannot be guaranteed, Guardianrticle commented . Until July, Tsipras was the undisputed leader of the political scene, hovering over it with deft deployment of canniness and charisma.

After the country’s latest rescue – and the onerous terms the young prime minister has agreed to – his popularity ratings will surely have been dented. In a matter of weeks he has lost more than a quarter of his own MPs, radicals who not only feel he has betrayed the cause but will campaign as the only leftists now left to carry the anti-bailout flame.

A tourist watches Alexis Tsipras resigning, on a ferry traveling in the Aegean sea tonight. Photograph: Giannis Papanikos/AP

A tourist watches Alexis Tsipras resigning, on a ferry traveling in the Aegean sea tonight. Photograph: Giannis Papanikos/AP

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How Creditos knew the FUTURE IMPOSSIBLE MADE FOR #GREECE, and the confessed #GreekFiasco

On his last statement for the Sunday Referendum, on Friday 03/07, Alexis Tsipras emphasized on the IMF’s report for Greece’s dept, that was finally revealed by the Internationay Monetary Fund officialy, after it was leaked when it had been provided to the German MP’s by the German Parliament

“Yesterday an event of major political importance happened,” Tsipras said. “The IMF published a report on Greece’s economy which is…”

…” great vindication for the Greek government as it confirms the obvious – that Greek debt is not sustainable.”

The fund published a draft of its latest analysis of Greece’s public debt yesterday, detailing a litany of factors that “render the debt dynamics unsustainable.” That’s a bureaucratic way of saying that there’s no chance that the country’s lenders will ever be repaid in full, commented the Quarz on Thursay, under the title Cant Pay, won’t pay

The International Monetary Fund conceded a point on Thursday that the Athens government has long been making, the NYT on Friday, 02/07 wrote :

Without some reduction in the country’s staggering debt load, Greece has little hope of a sustained economic recovery.

The report is likely to stoke tensions with Greece’s European creditors at a critical moment, just ahead of a Greek national referendum on Sunday over whether to accept a bailout package that Mr. Tsipras has opposed — in part because it does not contain debt relief. By essentially concluding that any new bailout deal for Greece must include debt relief, the I.M.F., whether intentionally or not, turned up the pressure on Europe to acknowledge that point, the NYT wrote on July 3. lose

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Varoufakis: the Close the Banks blackmail

“They have Closed our banks as to blackmail the Greeks for a Yes to a deal without dept restructuring, while dept is definitely not sustainable”

This is was what the “Take it or Leave it” Ultimatum for Greece was about, handled by President Tusk, said Yiannis Varoufakis,talking on the State Televion News, on July 1, hours after a leak of an IMF document to a German newspaper that was proving, indeed, that Greece’s dept was admitted not to be sustainable

CI8qyS_UEAAz3G5the IMF leaked document provided to the German MPs

A senior I.M.F. official said the organization released the report Thursday because elements of it were leaking out.. This was what the leaked document was saying

Even if Greece accepted all of the austerity measures demanded by its main creditors, the Troika, it still would not be able to make ends meet by 2030,

according to IMF estimates revealed in a set of documents obtained by a German newspaper.

The most optimistic scenario shows that Greece would face an unsustainable debt in 2030 even if it agreed to the package of tax increases and spending cuts proposed by the European commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF in exchange for a five-month €15.5bn loan from its creditors.

These prospects were outlined in six documents that were part of the “final” proposal offered to Greece by the three main creditors on Friday. The papers were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and seen by The Guardian.

The estimates provide support for Greece’s decision not to accept the bailout deal. They prove that for Greece to survive economically, it needs real debt relief measures, not austerity reforms.

According to the IMF, Greece would be unable to sustain a debt level of 118% of GDP. In 2012, the organization said that 110% of GDP is the highest debt threshold the country could take on.

Currently the country’s debt level amounts to 175% of GDP, and that percentage could easily rise if the country were to slip into recession.

The documents stressed that

even if Greece posted stellar economic growth for 15 years, the debt level would still be higher than 110% of GDP,

adding that Greece had no chance of meeting that target.

Even if the economy managed to maintain a growth rate of 4% a year for the next five years, the national debt level would only decline to 124%.

“It is clear that the policy slippages and uncertainties of the last months have made the achievement of the 2012 targets impossible under any scenario,”

one of six secret documents, titled the Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis for Greece, stated.

There are also mentions of much needed “significant concessions,” but no specifics are revealed.

The files were reportedly sent to all German MPs for review and approval, but were never voted on since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected the proposal and called for a referendum.

Other documents reveal further details about the proposed deal.

For example, there is a description of how Greece would eventually gain access to €15 billion. The plan was to consist of five separate tranches beginning as soon as June.

They were said to cover Greece’s immediate financing needs, with 93% of the money going towards paying the cost of maturing debt.

Other details were about reforms Greece should be forced to implement if it were to accept the proposal.

The debate over pension reforms was particularly heated. The documents show that the three creditors wanted substantial reform, including changes to early retirement penalties and the phasing out the solidarity grant (EKAS).

Late on Tuesday evening, Greece became the first developed country to default on its international obligations, after the IMF confirmed that it had failed to receive the €1.5 billion debt payment from Athens that was due by the end of June 30.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement that Greece had asked for a payment extension earlier on Tuesday and that the Fund’s board would consider it “in due course.”

This was largely expected by the markets. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had warned earlier that Greece would not be able to make its IMF debt payment on time.

Greek hand 252x252the Nobelist Stiglitz:  “It is Europe’s attack on Greek Democracy”

…”In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

It’s not about the money, said Columbia Business School’s resident Nobel laureate. It’s about forcing Greece to buckle under.”

It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on 5 July. Neither alternative – approval or rejection of the troika’s terms – will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country – one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated – might finally get debt forgiveness; perhaps, having shrivelled into a middle-income economy, Greece might finally be able to get assistance from the World Bank. All of this might happen in the next decade, or perhaps in the decade after that.

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.

Joseph E. Stiglitz

the #greekfiasco confessed

(from our earlier story on greek2m.org)

by pointing to two articles,  Bloomberg View columnist Clive Crook, shed light on late June to the other view of Greek drama, Grexit and Greek dept: to the Greek fiasco:

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has the nerve to call for “adults in the room,” as though she finds this all rather trying and her patience is finally wearing thin, wrote Karl Whelan, a professor of economics at University College Dublin, who crisply explains, underlined Clive Crook,  why it’s wrong to blame Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Syriza for the mess.

[S]he seems to have forgotten that the IMF were supposed to be the adults in the room for discussions on Greece from 2010 onwards. But rather than adopt an approach consistent with their usual policies, the European-led IMF decided that European countries deserved the opportunity to be saddled with particularly high burdens of debt to the official sector.

Europe, it turns out, has gained very little from European influence at the top of the IMF. The rest of the world should learn from the Greek fiasco that former European politicians can no longer be trusted with the leadership of this crucial institution.

Since Takis Rouliotis revealed in Parliament the Greek dept unsustainable by the IMF reports, It took less than one month for the IMF to publicly confess it, -after five years of bleeding austerity and five months of negotiations made impossible for Tsipras govt –

How ,When and Why the IMF report for the unsustainable of the Greek dept was started to be revealed

(from our earlier story on greek2m.org)

Panayiotis Roumeliotis, Greece’s former envoy to the IMF during the critical years of IMF memorandum, said on the public hearing before the “Debt Truth” Committee in the Greek Parliament on Monday June 17, that according to official IMF report, Greece’s debt was “obviously shown not to be  sustainable”.. “and so its board had to change its Statute to be able to fund the country”

“They made wrong calculations and overly optimistic estimations,” Roumeliotis  told the committee, adding that “responsibility weights not only on our country, which didn’t do what should have been done, but also our partners.”

“If debt restructuring had taken place then [in May 2010], the ‘haircut’ needed would be just 30 pct … which would provide some breathing space to the Greek economy and wouldn’t require a violent fiscal adjustment,” he added.

” But  there were secret meetings on that period of 2010, Panagioti Rouleotis revealed, between Germany’s and France’s top Banking Heads and the IMF, in order to delay Greece’s debt restructuring, as it was oficially revealed by then to the IMF executives, Roumeliotis said , so as  the two countries’ Banking economy to be saved, but not the Greece’s economy, at all”…

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We lost a valuable friend of Greece, by Nobelist Grass’ death, said @atsipras

anergia-660_0_3“..Antigone defied you wearing black

and all over the country,

the people whose guest you have been

wear mourning clothes …”

German Nobel laureate for Literature, Günter Grass (84) had warned , back on June 2012, -three years before his recent death- that Europe should be soulless without Greece, if it were to leave,  as Greece was the one that  had dreamed up the European idea .

The poem whose words spread all around the worLd since then, by the title “Europe’s Shame”,  is aN EVER UPDATED harsh criticism of Europe’s policy towards Greece. Because NOTHING HAS CHANGED  eversince

“Greece as a country without rights, the self-opinionated power

ties the belt tighter and tighter”.

SisterDespina89yOrthodoxNunGreece“Near the chaos,

because the market is not just,

you are far away from the land,

that lent you the cradle.”

 “As debtor placed naked on the pillory, a country suffers…..”

“Drink up, at last, drink up your hemlock, the EU commissioners urge,

but Socrates returns the over-brimming cup”

Obviously Gunter Grass  was the first ,- and only – Nobel mind  that had dared to speak straight to the Europeans of What makes them soulless, the ignorance of the term humanitarian, exactly what today’s Greece’s leaders continuously try to make the Euro-leadres understand, pronounce, accept, but unsuccessfully with no response at all.

Guenter Grass’s loss concerns all European citizens, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a statement on Monday April 13, 2015, expressing his grief over the German novelist’s death.

“Today we lost one of the reference points of the European culture; and Greece lost a valuable friend who did not hesitate to stand by the Greek people during the difficult times of the economic crisis when the stereotypes against Greece were at their peak,” Tsipras said.

“Guenter Grass was not only the Nobel laureate virtuoso of speech but also the combative intellectual of the democratic and social commitment” and noted that “his ‘tin drum’ is the indelible landmark of the European political and anti-fascist literature.”

Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist who wrote “The Tin Drum”, died on Monday at the age of 87.  On his poem for Greece’s austerity, Grass’s intervention had followed, back on 2012, he uncompromising words of IMF head Christine Lagarde, “that Greeks should pay their taxes in full, adding that the full force of her sympathy was directed elsewhere than Athens. “I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day,  she said. “I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.”

Greeks still have to pay in full. No matter that more than 65% of schoolchildren are fainting or craving food

No matter that hundreds of elderly have died silently  from despair and poverty, wounded from their dignity violently taken away , while the Samaras government was boasting for a success story that was all fake. No matter that still,  walking in the streets of Athens one stumbles on desperate, hungry bodies, remains of an once descend life . No matter that businessmen, still  blow still their minds off, in their shops , in the center of Athens

 

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Why not give your family jewerly, Greeks, to save your country , asked DW

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Koreans’ gold donations – a model for Greeks?

Koreans donated billions of euros’ worth of family gold jewelry to help pay down their nation’s IMF debt , once, on 1997. a debt Korea paid off ahead of schedule. Is this an example for Athens? Might this also work for Greece?

“The core idea is quite right,” said economist Rolf Langhammer, who was vice president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy during the Asian crisis “We need to transfer funds from the private sector to the state, so the state can meet its obligations.”
Though, “the situation is not quite the same” R.L. explained on DW, noting that Greece’s current problem, in contrast to that of Korea in 1997, doesn’t involve a shortage of foreign exchange reserves.

The diffence with the Greeks, to be exact, is that no one of the folk actually did rob this country, or cheated the international monetary organisations to enter the Eurozone. Greeks entered  the most bleeding session of their modern history,  being introduced form the very first moment of the crisis , also,  a chaotic and non-comprehending situation of What this crisis was, Who caused it and Why ,and What could be done. Plus, day-to-day, the European reality makes it more obvious to the Greek  soul, that the Eurozone for which all these sacrificies are gone , in the name of the Euro, doesn’t seem to give a dumm on what human pain is. Does not even seem to understand what humanitarian means .

This is the rucial core, for the Greeks,  of understanding or not, begging on a nation’s knees in the name of the Euro, or not.

Most of the Greeks today, would like to hear an alternative scenario

parliamentary-committee-to-examine-memorandum.w_lA Parliameary commitee of experts is tasked the previous days by Alexis Tsipras governmenet to asses whether previous governments upheld the interests of the Greek people by signing two agreements with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund pledging austerity measures in exchange for bailout funding.

The commitee has  requested the examination of four political periods that led to now,  putting George Papandreou, Lucas Papademos, Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos in the spotlight.

  • October 2009 – May 2010 : the signing of the first loan agreement by the then Prime Minister George Papandreou.
  • May 2010 – November 2011: the signing of the second loan agreement.
  • November 2011 – May 2012: the PSI restructuring of Greek debt (during which many Greek small bond-holders took major losses) under the administration of Lucas Papademos.
  • May 2012 – January 25 – The handling of the debt crisis by the Venizelos – Samaras coalition government.