Intervention THEATER KIKKER IN UTRECHT
THEATER KIKKER IN UTRECHT
From 8/1 until 26/1 Theater KIKKER in Utrecht presents a series of performances under the title: Greece on sale! (in Dutch: Griekenland in de uitverkoop). To advertise the performance, a big banner of the Greek flag with the word ‘sale’ was hang on the facade of the theater. Someone destroyed the banner. According to the artists, the aim of the performance is the study of the relationship between democracy, science, philosophy and theater.
The position of ReINFORM on this issue is the following:
Greece is on sale
Unfortunately, this is not a joke. It is happening. Greek people are bleeding while all kinds of Greek or foreign companies are having a party. With the excuse of making investments, corrupt Greek politicians sell off public property to ‘investors’. Exempted from official legal controls, the investments are violating environmental regulations. A prime example of such an investor is the Canadian Gold company Eldorado Gold which aims at extracting gold in Greece. It is of great interest that this company is based in the Netherlands to avoid taxation.
A related video:
Greece is a good buy for large tourist operators, gold mining companies or the Dutch company VOPAK. This company builds oil and chemical tanks in south Crete. The fact that the region is protected by European Union directives on the environment is irrelevant to the investment.
The tourist-attractive image of laid-back Greeks who dance, break plates and talk about philosophy under the sun never lived up to reality. A very big part of the Greek people working in the private sector work unpaid overtime. For the young Greeks with higher education degrees this was the case even before the crisis: their salaries did not exceed the amount of 700 euros in a country where prices are almost equal to those in the Netherlands. The unemployment benefit was 461 euros (in spring 2012 it was reduced to 360 euros), while ‘social assistance benefit’ and ‘national pension’ have been unknown words.
During the crisis, this already difficult situation has reached a peak. Using extreme repression, the Troika of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF together with the Greek governments have been applying an austerity program which, apart from being totally inhumane, has completely failed. The promises of the Troika that austerity would help get the economy back on its feet were never fulfilled. Instead, the Greek people were drawn more deeply into poverty and unemployment.
Lately, the Greek government and the Troika claim that the economy is improving. This is totally misleading: youth unemployment has climbed to 56.5% and continues to grow, the GDP has decreased by 25% in the past three years and continues to fall. A large part of the population cannot make ends meet, it is threatened by homelessness or cannot pay the heating costs. Latest news claim that Greece has achieved a primary surplus in its budget. Simply put, this means that hospitals lack medical equipment, schools are left without heating and the State has not paid its financial obligations to domestic contractors.
The Dutch governments of the last years find this situation rather normal and let the Dutch people believe that the austerity measures applied in Greece are painful but necessary for a country with such a large sovereign debt. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. Shaking a finger at Greeks, the Netherlands are lecturing them for not doing their best. At the same time, the Dutch government applies austerity policies in the Netherlands in order to close a very small budget deficit. With these austerity policies, the health insurance system is demolished, the education budget and pensions face cuts. These budget cuts drive the economy into deeper recession, create a need for …more austerity measures and hit hardly the low-income parts of the population.
ReINFORM is a group of socially aware Greeks that live in the Netherlands and believe that there is another way. Austerity, wherever is imposed, increases poverty and paves the way to populism and fascism. Today are the ‘lazy’ Greeks who have to be penalized, tomorrow the poor Dutch will be deprived of the right to medical treatment. We believe that no people in the world should go on sale for whatever crisis. And we hope that in this struggle we can count on the Dutch people.