15 DECEMBER 2011


Is George Papandreou really Greek? He never laughs; he never shouts. He couldn't even hum a decent Greek song, let alone dance.

For centuries, Italians used to ask assertively if the Pope was Italian until they found out that he could be Polish. Now, he is German.

Papandreou? Which Papandreou? The last one, his first name is not even Greek. George is an Americanization of his grandfather's name, Georgios -- another moody Prime Minister. At the time it was an ongoing competition: Papandreou vs. Karamanlis depending on who gained more influence in the country, the British or the Americans. The King, like the U.K., preferred Kara. Both now reside in London as Washington took over the burden of ensuring Democracy in its country of origin. Andreas Papandreou married an American. George was actually born in Minnesota and studied at Amhurst College, New York. He could hardly pronounce special Greek words. His speeches are typed for him in Latin letters so he would pronounce them correctly. In the recent financial crisis, the Greeks considered him too European while European leaders treated him like a Greek.

These days George Papandreou does not find it safe to cross a street in Athens. He's afraid angry crowds would drag him away. Whether he stays in our metropolis or moves to teach in Minneapolis/U.S.A. is his business. What happens in Greece is really what matters.

And what matters is why everybody is picking on Greeks with vengeance?

Is Greece the only country that dresses up its official records? Are Greeks the only ones who do not report their full income? Are their customs officials the only ones to overlook contraband?

You want a Greek sailor in Corfu to pay when a Greek millionaire in Monte Carlo doesn't? You demand that the Orthodox Patriarch in Constantinople submit papers which are withheld by expatriates hanging around Park Avenue? Christina Onassis just sold her inherited island of Skorpios to Giorgio Armani for tens of millions, how much did she offer to the national budget? And you expect a hard working doctor on the island of Crete to hand over all his revenue? You seek to find out more about savings in security cash locked in Greek banks? Fine, but what about billions of secret money havens in the Isle of Jersey and the Cayman Islands?

You want to apply financial international laws. Apply it to everyone without exception. Nothing hidden. Everyone exposed.

Greece is not the only country standing in the way of a revived Euro; nor is it the one blocking financial reform. You talk about bankruptcy, transparency, emergency, even Mephistopheles. It's all Greek to us. We invented them.

Over 3,000 years ago, we taught the rest of the world how to think; now they think they can tell us how to live. Sophocles taught politicians how to speak; now they speak against us. Sappho taught how to love; they don't love us anymore. Our own Socrates could not figure us out; now they all are trying to analyze us. However, Trojan horses couldn't drive us away. The pillars of the Acropolis are still standing.

Incidentally, those who heckle and lecture us should first learn to how to dance properly. We do.