Yesterday, I posted about how the United States was intentionally wrecking Iran’s economy and making all its citizens suffer. Today’s post is about how the International Monetary Fund is intentionally wrecking Greece’s economy. You see it’s not only in Tunisia or Tibet, India and Pakistan where people are desperate enough to make political statements by killing themselves. Copied below in full is an article from the Wall Street Journal about a 77 year old man in Greece who just shot himself in the head to give himself “a dignified end before I start sifting garbage for food”. It was a public suicide where, as the New York Times notes in a related report, the man chose to kill himself in Syntagma Square, “a focal point for frequent public demonstrations and protests”. His suicide note “called on young Greeks to take up arms. “I believe that young people with no future will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma Square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945,” said one passage.” (“Public Suicide for Greek Man With Fiscal Woe” at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/world/europe/greek-man-ends-financial-despair-with-bullet.html?_r=1&ref=global-home# ). In the Wall Street Journal article copied below, you’ll read how the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) is responsible for the economic devastation that’s been brought upon the Greeks.
The “largest shareholder” in the IMF, you should know, is the United States Government, and as such, certainly “can exert influence on its policies”. (quote here)
And the IMF’s policy of wrecking countries’ economies and causing suffering, sanctioned by the United States, is nothing new. See for example that:
“The International Monetary Fund could be bad for your health. The organisation loans money to countries with financial problems, and in return requires governments to undertake “structural adjustment” policies aimed at improving their financial management. These usually cut government spending to control inflation. Critics have long charged that this reduces spending on healthcare, so much so that some have called for the organisation to be renamed the “Infant Mortality Fund”.
IMF loans ‘lead to TB deaths’
New York Times
July 22, 2008
Rise in TB Is Linked to Loans From I.M.F.
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
“The rapid rise in tuberculosis cases in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is strongly associated with the receipt of loans from the International Monetary Fund, a new study has found.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/health/research/22tb.html?ref=science&pagewanted=print
“The IMF is one of the most powerful institutions on Earth–yet few know what it is.”
-from TOP TEN REASONS TO OPPOSE THE IMF:
And now here’s that promised Wall Street Journal article in full:
Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2012
Man Kills Himself in Athens Square
By Alkman Granitsas
ATHENS—A 77-year-old Greek man took his life in Athens’ central Syntagma Square on Wednesday, leaving a note behind linking his actions to the country’s deepening economic crisis.
The man shot himself with a handgun in a grassy area to one side of the Greek capital’s main square during the morning rush hour. His death added to a sharp rise in the number of suicides in the country that has coincided with years of recession and subsequent austerity measures that have cut deeply into the country’s standard of living, particularly for low-income earners and retirees.
The square, across from the national Parliament building, became the focus of an impromptu anti-austerity rally later Wednesday as about 1,000 people gathered to light candles and to place flowers and sympathy notes at the site. “Hopefully it will be the last death of an innocent citizen. I hope the rest [of the deaths] will be of political traitors,” said one note signed by T.L.
Sporadic scuffles later broke out around the square between dozens of hooded youths and riot police who responded by firing small amounts of tear gas.
In his suicide note, the former pharmacist likened Greece’s current crisis to the deep poverty the country suffered during the World War II German occupation. “I have no other way to react apart from finding a dignified end before I start sifting through garbage for food,” it continued. The note was found by the man’s daughter, although it wasn’t clear where. Police confirmed the contents of the note.
Eyewitnesses told police the man was in apparent despair over his financial debts, shouting just moments before killing himself: “So I won’t leave debts for my children.”
The police haven’t disclosed the man’s identity or other details as they investigate the incident.
The suicide also evoked sympathetic responses from a series of Greek politicians who blamed the austerity for the incident. In a statement, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos described the incident as “tragic” and called on the state and citizens to “support those next to us in desperation.”
Greece is now in its fifth year of a grinding economic recession, and more than two years into a series of austerity programs instituted to meet the demands of international creditors from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Those various austerity measures have led to steep cuts, in some cases more than 25%, to retiree pensions and other benefits. At the same time many Greeks are being squeezed by declining wages and higher taxes on everything from property to gasoline.
The new government that will emerge from the elections, likely taking place on May 6, will have to announce some €11 billion ($14.6 billion) in further austerity measures by June to cover expected budget gaps in 2013 and 2014 to comply with conditions set by international lenders.
“This was a symbolic suicide. If it hadn’t happened here, in the square, in front of Parliament, no one would notice,” said one bystander, who declined to give his name but who heard the shots from across the square.
The social impact of the Greek economic crisis has become increasingly apparent on the streets of Athens and other cities, while suicide rates have jumped.
The Greek charitable organization Klimaka, which runs a suicide helpline, says the number of callers to its helpline has doubled in the past year. Many of those callers cite financial difficulties related to the crisis as one of the reasons for wanting to take their own lives, said Klimaka psychiatrist Eleni Bekiari. “We have seen a sharp increase in the number of calls placed to our hotline,” she said. “And many of those callers refer to the financial problems they are facing as a reason for wanting to commit suicide.”
In one case last September, a Greek man in his 50s who was struggling with his debts attempted suicide in front of a bank branch in the northern city of Thessaloniki by setting himself on fire.
More recently, in February, a married couple working at a state agency faced with closure as part of the country’s budget cuts threatened to jump off the second story of a building in downtown Athens before being talked down by police.
According to police data, the number of suicides in 2010 and 2011 surpassed 600 each year, a 20% jump over the rate in 2009, the year before the start of the Greek debt crisis.
—Stelios Bouras contributed to this article.
For recent suicide attempts in Italy – also undergoing forced austerity by the IMF – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17556273.
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