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Posts Tagged ‘italy’

The end of the Euro will be bloody, but inevitable

Posted by E on March 22, 2013

cyprus-banksCyprus bank queue

By now you’ve all heard about the latest European Union bailout conditions in Cyprus, and how banks froze all accounts in preparation to spring upon all individuals who hold money in Cyprus-based banks up to a 10% forceable deduction (6.75% for accounts totalling under 100,000 euros).

That is, if you hold money in a Cypriot bank, you will unequivocably lose up to 10% of it, no ifs, ands or buts. Why is this happening? For the good of the people, of course. Because Germany is holding your bailout hostage, and without doing as the Germans say and forking over your savings, you may have to drop out of the EU (which so many would consider a blessing). So with friends like Merkel/IMF, who needs enemies? Why bother invading a country anymore, when all you need to spread across Europe is to employ the aggressive tactics of a backalley money lender slash loan shark. The thing is, Merkel and her entourage at the IMF had originally demanded that Cyprus withhold all funds over 100,000 euros, but that was seen as too radical.

The euro will fall, of course. The question is, when – and I am of the opinion that it won’t be soon enough. Not soon enough to avoid more bloody riots in the streets, money being stolen out of the accounts of Cypriot, then Italian, then Spanish citizens — and rest assured, this move is inevitable, just as a rabid animal will thrash and attack anyone in its path rather than go crawl under a bush and just die, before succombing to its illness.

But the thing is, it won’t just fall because the Euro is an unsustainable fantasy and a neverending black hole. Not just because Germany’s domination brings more than a few ugly memories in mind of their invasion and dominance of so many other nations in WW2 (although there is no more need for armies these days; economical blackmail and entire countries taken hostage by their own EU-prostrating, always-deferring, fearful goverments is the de rigueur manner in which to conquer a nation these days).

What happened in Cyprus this week is unparalleled. It is the canary in a mine that signals the end of the European Union itself. Who wants to be bullied and controlled by the IMF, told how many hours they will need to work until age 70, have their pensions taken away and the money in their bank accounts confiscated? The EU is supposed to be a place of enlightenment, not a reincarnation of communist, stalinism, or fascism.

The Rubicon has been crossed; a domino effect has been set in motion by this unprecedented move and it will lead to a bloody, chaotic dissolution. We all must understand that even if Cyprus and Greece exit the EU in an orderly fashion, the sieve is fundamentally cracked and nothing can patch the irreversable damage that the EU model has done not only to people’s lives, but to the future relations between countries.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it forever more — people don’t want this. At the grassroots level, when you talk to the average Spaniard and Italian national in the street, even the average Romanian (who wanted to be in the EU probably more than anyone else) they all shake their heads. Nobody wants this imposed upon them; everybody dreams of the times when the lira and the peseta contributed to a better quality of life. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and this is why everybody embraced the concept of the European Union with such zest, but after a decade of destruction to their quality of life, the rose-tinted glasses have come off.

People will begin to withdraw their moneys out of banks and going back to the old communist/socialist/wartime ways of hiding it in mattresses, converting it into gold, hiding it in a hole in their backyard, in a flower pot,  under a floorboard or a crack in the drywall. The Russian mafiosos who stored approximately 20% of all Cypriot bank withholdings will now inevitably withdraw all their profits en masse. The downward spiral of losses will further shake up the country, and fire up similarly-disadvantaged citizens of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy to follow the same desperate measures to protect their savings. Both those with meager incomes and the billionaires will all take these measures, taking out funds in unparalleled amounts (the billionaires will, of course, store the rest of their assets in offshore accounts on some Caribbean island or another).

The diminishing funds in actual banks will speed up the inevitable. It will be ugly and many people will suffer unimaginable consequences, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Euro will soon take its rightful place in the annals of history as the worst failed experiment in the history of the European continent. Let’s just hope they don’t take the rest of the world down with them.

cyprus woman

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True courage will never be forgotten

Posted by E on July 19, 2012

Twenty years ago today, an Italian Magistrate was assassinated in cold blood via a car bomb in Palermo, Sicily. This murder provoked some of the largest anti-Mafia demonstrations ever held in Italy. It also set the stage for the suicide of Rita Atria, a seventeen-year old girl who was one of Borsellino’s biggest witnesses in a trial against the Mafia. After Borsellino’s death, Rita jumped from the building of her safehouse apartment only a week later, on July 26.

For those who may not be familiar with Borsellino, here is a quick summary. Paolo Borsellino (January 19, 1940 – July 19, 1992) was an Italian anti-Mafia magistrate. He was killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo, 57 days after his friend and fellow anti-mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone was assassinated. He is considered to be one of the most important magistrates killed by the Sicilian Mafia and he is remembered as one of the main symbols of the battle of the State against the Mafia. Both Borsellino and Falcone were named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006, issue of Time Magazine (Wikipedia).

I know I’ve neglected this blog for quite a while as I worked on my last two books, but I feel the need to write this today. I admire Borsellino’s work, because in my past I have encountered brave people like him, people who would risk everything and put their lives and careers on the line to do what is right. Every time I think of Rita Atria and Paolo Borsellino, an echo of my own past rises up in me.

Parallelling the Mafia crime wave on the 1990s, Canada had its own homegrown pseudo-terrorist group, the Heritage Front, a vicious gang of white extremists who were keen on piling up guns and infiltrating the right-wing Reform Party in the hope of one day coming to power.

Our spy agency, CSIS, had sent an agent provocateur to infiltrate, stir up shit and escalate aggression and targeted attacks inside the HF, and it was only as a direct initiative of several courageous anti-racist activists that I was able to hide out and eventually testify against several leaders of this group.

 

I consider Rita Atria not only a true heroine, but a spiritual sister of sorts. I was born only three months after she was, and at the same age we rebelled against powerful, violent men. In our late teens, we both spied on and testified in trials that led to convictions. We both lived in hiding at an age when our lives had only just begun.

There are very few people in this world who can truly say that they understand what it’s like to be seventeen, eighteen years old and on the run for your life. Who know the impossible loneliness and self-hatred that swells us inside you when you’re forced to abandon all trace of your own identity. When you live in the darkness of a series of apartments, always changing names and locations, when you know a whole network of violent, hateful people would rather see you dead. When you’ve been abandoned by the world and the thought of simply ending it all seems like the best prospect.

Neither Rita nor I held any hope that the world would change. We both stood, literally, on the precipice of a great height from where we wanted with all our might to end the suffering within. The difference was, I still knew that out there remained a growing mass of faceless activists dedicated to ending government corruption. Whereas for Rita, all hope ended when Borsellino was murdered.

That day, twenty years ago today, Rita (whose life story was told in the recent film The Sicilian Girl) wrote in her diary: “You have died for what you believed in, but without you, I too am dead.”A week later, right before she leapt to her death, her suicide note said: “I am devastated by the killing of Judge Borsellino. Now there’s no one to protect me, I’m scared and I can’t take any more.”

When I think of the early 1990s, I think of two teenage girls separated by a continent, who may not speak the same language or ever heard of one another, but who are determined to take on a fight that is greater than they ever imagined. It makes me wonder how many such teenage girls are out there today, fighting against oppression, poverty, discrimination, sexism, and organized crime, feeling hopeless yet continuing to pass a symbolic flaming torch of courage from one hand to another.

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