Aristophanes was a comic genius long before the Marx Brothers, but he also gave good advice to the Athenians: stop the war! In his play Lysistrata he had the women going on strike — no more nookie — until the men stopped fighting. During the plague that killed the greatest Athenian of them all, Pericles, Aristophanes advised the young to isolate, meditate and masturbate, advice still valid to this day.
Greece, with roughly the same population as Switzerland and faced with a surge of migrants turned loose by the dreaded Turks, has handled the crisis well. The American media is using the virus crisis in order to attack Trump, but the Greek people will not tolerate such craven opportunism and dishonesty. Criticism of the government is almost non-existent, as the suddenly wise populace is united against the unseen menace. God knows poor Greece has had enough thunderbolts aimed at her, starting ten years ago with the eurozone’s incompatible economic demands. I remember well writing an article pleading with the then prime minister, an arrogant Euro ass-licker by the name of Samaras, to return to a devalued drachma and not to sacrifice the savings and welfare of millions in order to have motorcycle escorts when entering Brussels. Like all craven cowards, he chose the motorcycles.
Recently Louis de Bernières wrote something in the Telegraph about my birthplace that touched me. He ran into Lord Owen and the former foreign secretary told him that he had become a Leaver because of what had been done to Greece. (David Owen has a summer house in the Peloponnese.) The country that was reduced to penury by Brussels was the only one that stood beside Britain in 1940 and managed to humiliate Mussolini’s troops and drive them back into Albania. While this was going on, Belgium, Holland and France had obliged the Wehrmacht and folded like a cheap accordion. Not us Greeks; my mother had five brothers (all Spartans) at the front during the first week of the war. What made Metaxas and King George and all the Greeks defy the Axis powers? (The Italians had only asked for free access to the Middle East.) After all, they had nothing to gain, and the combined Axis forces meant certain defeat. I suppose it was pride in our heroic past, and battles like Thermopylae and Marathon, that fired up the nation.
Sure, the Greeks enjoyed a free ride with EU moolah for quite a while, but we were never ready to be admitted in the first place, so why the severe punishment? Is it because we did the right thing back in 1940? Is it because we did the right thing again in 1947, when we defeated the Stalin-backed reds? Or is it because we forgave the Germans, following reparations and a decent interval, after the war? No to all three; it was because we were easy to bully and were led by midgets. Now the chickens have come home to roost, as they say in Alabama.
The reports coming out of Greece nowadays are always about the migrant crisis, one caused by the neocons in Washington and the ‘mission accomplished’ victory of that halfwit George W. Bush, aided and abetted by honest Tony Blair. Now fake news of violent local reactions to the wave of migrants command foreign coverage. The crisis began five years ago and continues unabated. It has wrung every drop of generosity from a people that pride themselves on their compassion. It has led to concentration camp-like conditions on some beautiful islands and in some parts of Athens. And all this time no one from Brussels dares say a word to the Turks, or to the Americans, who are, after all, the ones responsible for a war that began in 2003 and continues to fester to this day.
There is no resolution in sight to the overflow of migrants and the possible breakout of the virus in the overcrowded camps. Turkey has become the official trafficker of migrants, while the sultans in Brussels dither and meet and dither some more and schedule more meetings. Hamlet would have fit right in with this bunch. In the meantime the public has become outraged at the lack of action on the part of those responsible. Some are even blaming international aid workers for guiding the migrants towards the islands, although there is no proof of this. I wouldn’t put it past them. They did it to the Italians, so why not to the Hellenes?
Never mind. Everyone seems to have turned Turkish of late. Gotcha journalism reigns supreme in the land of the depraved, where a virus that came from bats served as a delicacy in a disgusting Chinese food market is now used as an excuse by the media to discredit Donald Trump. In the Bagel virus sufferers in overflowing hospitals have spit and cursed and threatened nurses, a news item that somehow escaped the notice of the New York Times.
One thing is for sure: once this plague is over, national barriers might make a comeback and be seen as more than just an impediment to human freedom. A borderless world may be the dream of rich subversives such as the ghastly George Soros, but something good always emerges after a catastrophe: like never trusting the Chinese and outlawing the word ‘globalist’.