Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Jeremy Gaunt:

Greeks on the street

Greeks smashing windows and setting fire to shops and banks in a fury of opposition to yet more austerity is gripping.  But it is hardly unique. A few years ago there were similar scenes for weeks after police shot a 15-year old schoolboy.  And back when I lived there, U.S. President Bill Clinton was treated to a similar welcome -- mainly because of his military assault on Serbia (a fellow Christian Orthodox nation) during the Kosovo conflict.

There are doubtless degrees. The latest level of destruction was the worst since widespread riots in 2008 -- and austerity being imposed on Greeks is very painful. But it is worth noting that there are two underlying elements than make such uprisings more common in Greece than elsewhere.

The first is a division in Greek society that goes back to at least the end of the second world war. The civil war that followed the end of the German occupation was brutal and split the country between those wanting western free market democracy and those favouring Soviet-style communism. This carried though into the 1967-74 junta.

The second element is the role of outsiders on Greek history. The Civil War brought in western intervention and the junta got U.S. support -- to the deep-seated bitterness of those on the other side. Going back further -- and Greeks have long historic memories -- there are Persians, crusaders, Nazi Germans and the particularly hated Ottomans trying to make Greeks be something other than Greek. Here is a feature on it.

Austria’s Graf gets grief over “united Tyrol”

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Breaking into the summer holiday lull, Austrian politics has gotten into a lather over a far-right populist’s call for a referendum on whether a mainly German-speaking region of northern Italy should rejoin Austria.

No matter how far-fetched, his proposal raised a hue and cry by challenging the taboo of old unreconstructed nationalism in a country restlessly determined to live down its Nazi past.

Germans have to live with Nazi past a bit longer

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More than six decades after World War Two and the Holocaust, and just when it is starting to take a more assertive role on the world stage, Germany has been confronted by its Nazi past – again.

Retired U.S. auto worker John Demjanjuk, 89, has been deported to Germany and prosecutors in Munich want to put him on trial for assisting to murder at least 29,000 Jews at the Sobibor extermination camp in 1943. With most Nazi criminals dead, it is likely to be the last big Nazi war crime trial in Germany.

from MacroScope:

You say ’30s, we say ’20s

Neil Dwane, fund firm RCM's chief investment officer in Europe, has an interesting take on the current spat between Germany and the United States over printing money to get out of trouble. You can see Juergen Stark for the latest volley.

Dwane reckons it is all a matter of history. The American psyche, he says, is scarred by the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is up there with the Civil War. Think John Steinbeck or John Boy Walton.

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