I sit where Where Greek Independence began in 1821 as the country prepares to go bust

Tom Winnifrith Thursday 4 June 2015


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In March 1821 the Greek war of independence began as the folk in the Mani launched an uprising against the accursed Turks. The Mani, where the Greek Hovel is situated, was always quasi independent anyway but its warlike folk started a fire that could not be supressed. The first major triumph was the storming of the Turk held fortress at Kalamata. No Maniots died but the entire Turkish garrison was slaughtered.

Right now I sit opposite that fortress, in Kalamata bus station having just purchased one more ouzo for the road, to Athens. Tomorrow Greece will formally not pay monies owed to the IMF claiming that it will bundle the payment due then with another due on June 30th. It is now 24 hours away from being technically in default and on June 30 when it has not got a cat in hell's chance of meeting either June payment the can will have been kicked to the end of the cul de sac.

There are some that hope that Greece will compromise. I am not one of them. There are huge debt repayments due in July and August and indeed right up to 2057. Agreeing to draconian cuts in all sorts of things in returning for leaving the kids and grandkids an unsupportable level of debt repayments is no way to behave.

Greece should think of the heroic Maniots of 1821 and tell the EU and IMF where to stick it, default on its debts and leave the problems with other country's banks. Hellas can start again just as it did in the 1820s free from foreign tyranny. It will be painful just as it was in 1821 but it is the only way.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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