Conversation with the owner of a small hotel, on the train from Athens to Patras

Submitted by Uncreative on February 1, 2011

“So, what do you think about what happened in December?”

"What do you mean?"

"You know all the protests, the riots. Do you think it will happen again?"

"You know what, here in Greece we have the Conservatives, the Socialists, the Communists, and all they want is power. So if the conservatives are in power, the others will do things to create disruptions so they can call an election and try to take over the government. The conservatives were in power, it looked like the Socialists would be in the next government, so the Communists wanted to make some problems in the streets."

"But it wasn’t the Communists in the streets, not the Communist Party. They were trying to stop the occupations and the riots."

"It's always like this in Greece. One political party is in power and the other ones want to be in power, so they create problems. You’ll see, in another few years they'll create some other scandal or outrage so they can call elections and change who is in power. That’s all they care about."

"Maybe that’s why some people want to get rid of all the politicians and all the political parties."

“Yes, but their purpose is to organise the country someone has to do that."

"People can do that themselves?”

“You think so? But what about defending the country? Who will do that? We have Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, all of them think part of Greece is theirs. And then there is Turkey; just waiting to invade us the minute we are weak. What do we do about that? Get rid of the politicians, and then you’ll be without a house, my friend."

“I mean all the politicians, all the governments, in Turkey too."

"You think they’ll get rid of the government in Turkey?"

"I know people there who are trying to. And besides, the other Turkish people believe the same lie told by their politicians, that they need the government to protect them against Greece, or the Kurds."

“Ha! Greece is just nine million. How many is Turkey? They’re a lion afraid of a cat.”

"There’s nothing unusual in that. Israel is afraid of Palestine. America is afraid of Al Qaida. The world is full of lions afraid of cats. It's a very useful lie."

“Ha, this is true. The world is full of lions afraid of cats. The Palestinians are very dangerous, with their rocks, and Osama, hiding in a cave somewhere, is very dangerous to a country with nuclear weapons. Ha! Anyways, the politicians won’t be able to make people happy. How can they solve the economic problems? They can’t! It’s a problem of the economy. Greece doesn't produce anything. We don’t make any cars. We just have tourism. How can politicians make the crisis go away or create jobs? They can’t. The only thing they can do is crack down on the immigrants who are taking the jobs of Greek people.”

“The immigrants aren’t taking anyone’s jobs. The bosses are choosing to give those jobs to people they can exploit more, and relying on the politicians to blame the immigrants instead of the bosses."

"True, this is true. But anyways that's all they can do, get rid of the immigrants. What else can the politicians do? Nothing. A politician can’t create jobs if the capital is not there. But how can they bring capital? They already let the big companies get away without paying taxes. Me, I own one small hotel and I have to pay all the taxes, but if I owned twenty hotels I wouldn’t have to pay anything. The real problem is that Greece doesn’t produce anything. If we made cars I bet we'd be happier."

“They produce cars in my country and the people aren’t happy."

"No? Hmm. Well, we do make the best oil. Olive oil I mean. I make my own oil, I never buy any I have my own trees. The very best oil comes from Peleponesus, next best from upstairs, the north I mean. But we don’t produce our own brand. Italy buys our oil, mixes it with lower quality stuff to make it more, and sells it with an Italian stamp. It’s terrible!"

"That’s too bad."

“Ah, look out the window there, you see those trees, all black? There were big fires here. The government says it’s from people dropping their cigarettes. I tell you what. Go into the forest, take a pack of cigarettes, light every one, and drop them in an area of live square meters. It won’t start a single fire. Not unless you add gasoline. People lit those fires. All the sudden, fires started in 200 places around Greece on the same day. That doesn’t happen by accident. It’s people who burn down the forests so they can build there..."