July 4, 2015 at 2:22 am #42284
Hi Toby, thank you for the useful links and valuable input. Those points made me consider things and they make good sense. I’ll definitely take them on board.
Malgus, hi. With regards to your questions, I will tell what I know although I don’t have specific intel on the specifics of the black market in Greece. a) I would say there are more of grey markets that maintain a visible front like a shop and they have “connections” for interested customers willing to pay the right price. For example I know of cases where the rules could be bent in order for people to have easier access to guns (less paperwork, or special rounds etc) however I don’t specifically know of the persons that do that. Usually these fronts are covered by some legit line of work that most likely allows them some leverage with police or other parts of arms industry. I also believe there are illegal markets with outside contacts that import stuff from overseas to the islands or using a sea port. At times there have been cases reported in the press where a terrorist cell had looted army storerooms with ammo and on an occasion, RPG missile launchers. Thankfully this kind of thing is not happening often! Surplus items not used in illegal cells maybe resold, or even “hot” items that were used by criminals could also resurface to more legit outlets so as to be resold to unsuspecting people at a discount as “used”. In recent times such things could happen more frequently due to civilians wanting to arm themselves more cheaply. Caveat emptor…
b) bartering for goods and services takes place on a small scale although on unofficial channels like within neighborhoods it occurs reasonably often, especially between unemployed or others that saw a decrease in customers and are willing to accept tokens or bartering to boost business.
c) Precious metals is an interesting thing here in Greece; during the last couple of years literally dozens of shops opened exchanging gold for cash for desperate people. As one can imagine, their business boomed as more and more desperate people got rid of jewellery, gold and silver coins etc. Recently there was another surge of people spending most of their remainder gold and silver that had stored at home. Obviously there’s still more, however a huge sum of money was exchanged in this manner. These last few weeks things have been more quiet on that front since the people’s reserves seem mostly depleted. It should be noted that most of these shops were not local or Greek businesses (despite of their innocuous appearance) and the gold acquired was molten and then shipped in bulk out of the country, some say, to European destinations (this location info cannot really be confirmed, however this gold has definitely left Greece).
On another note, the ATMs are slowly drying up. Some say by middle of the next week they will be dry, but this remains to be seen. People are angry and I’ve noticed several heated arguments between the divided factions… I will keep you updated as this mess unfolds, day by day.July 4, 2015 at 3:38 am #42285
Wishing to all the American friends here a very happy 4th July! Have a great day people.July 5, 2015 at 2:37 am #42306
Proteus 55 is this news report really happening? It looks like it is really getting bad!
Sugar, flour, rice: panicked Greeks stock up on essentialsJuly 5, 2015 at 2:42 am #42307
Here is another article,
Crying Greek pensioner: the story behind the poignant photoJuly 5, 2015 at 10:02 am #42308
Freedom, yes, these news reports are indeed true. There are many pensioners (and other people) who feel desperate and depressed due to the circumstances. Some feel humiliation or exhaustion as the physical effort to having to do that every day has worn them out. It is very sad to see how many problems will arise from such tensions. However, regardless of what is happening, the relations between opposing factions have remained acceptable (not civil due to swearing and cursing each other in some cases, but no actual violence worthy of reporting – one or two cases of minor assault so far).
With regards to the supermarkets, they keep running out of supplies but they get re-stocked usually within a day or so. This has happened 3-4 times so far during the last week, due to the banks being closed and problems with resupply and importing stuff (as I had posted previously, the food import chain and from the industry to the shelves has been affected, but there are still food supplies existing to be available, just not as abundant as they were before). I think it’s early days yet. The problems are bound to worsen soon enough, regardless of the outcome of the referendum; simply because it’s not as easy to re-start the economy with a simple decision; there are no magic buttons and the sh has almost hit the fan in some respects. Unless something drastic happens in a good way that will stabilize things, I expect to see a lot of unpleasant things in the coming months, from riots to worse…July 5, 2015 at 11:37 am #42321
Another question if I may? Is it possible to expand on some of the mindsets you must see around you, can you say why people maybe acting, or if they are indeed even acting in the following manners?
a) People that are resigned to sit and wait see what happens.
b) Prepare as much as possible now that things are getting so unsure.
c) Already feel they are prepared for disruption as the signs were there too see for some time.
d) Looking for or have ‘exit’ strategies in case things get ‘really bad’.
Your thoughts and viewpoints are much appreciated!July 5, 2015 at 11:58 am #42323
Another question. Have you seen any indication of prepper groups becoming more open about their preps? How self sufficient are people in the smaller towns and rural areas?
Once again thanks for your insights. It has been really invaluable in understanding the crisis and how people are reacting to it.July 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm #42324
Over the last few months I have noticed a gradual shift in attitudes in the people. For example, there used to be a large percentage of discouraged, reticent people that due to the austerity measures they were resigned to it all. That was the prevalent attitude around January. With regards to the points you indicated, (a) was the greatest percentage that was. (c) was a minority as most people unfortunately fail to prepare before hand, thinking that “it won’t happen to them” or some miracle will happen to save them from the mess. During these months there were a mixed bag of (b) and (d); the actual preparations were mostly conducted during the last month or so. With regards to the exit strategies, I read yesterday that about 60,000 Greeks opened accounts in Bulgaria, transferring their money there before or during the messy period. But apart from that, the exit strategies I’m aware of include:
1. setting up a hideout location or safehouse in the countryside, especially if they have relations or property there.
2. due to distrusting the banks, removing substantial sums of money and storing it in the house in multiple locations.
3. stocking up on food and medicine supplies; I have heard some who were intending on piling up on ammo (shotgun slugs and pistol rounds mostly) but I haven’t been able to follow that to confirm.
The prevalent mindsets right now are divided in two sides: one of them seems eager to cooperate with Europe and comply with regulations, as long as these are bearable. And the other willing to resist and to oppose further loss of sovereignty of the land and further submission. What the IMF and the European elites failed to realize until it was too late is that the more propaganda and attempts to subvert due process, the more the Greeks get annoyed and they will oppose them. Some chief analysts now admit that they pushed too hard aiming to humiliate, not truly seeking middle ground. And this is going to backfire on their interests, whether the referendum goes in their favor or against. A rising number of Greeks is looking east to a solution, and it’s bound to affect geopolitically the regions of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean as there is a shift of powers vying for control. Russia and China seem very eager to invest in this and it all works in their profit. The more Greece feels the heat and pain from the international committees (bankers, politicians), the more Russia and China gain from the situation and they are handing Greece to them on a plate. The austerity measures and the constant barrage of propaganda and humiliation caused many people to behave irrationally and are willing to go without much money or even suffer than submit. I cannot tell of the percentage but I know that the numbers of frustrated and angry people are rising.
prepper groups remain the hiding however individuals voice more about prepping and exhibit more ‘prepping behavior’ than before. As abroad, people in Greece seem reluctant to divulge about prepping fearing ridicule by others, but that does not deter them from actually do so. They will prep, in all three ways that I mentioned above, and do so without announcing it even to relatives. That is why there are not many reports about it but on the other hand, like-minded people tend to recognize similar behaviors. So I was able to understand said patterns without too much exposure to be necessary. As to your question regarding self-sufficiency in smaller towns and rural areas, it is true that the people in the countryside are far more self-sufficient and also better armed. Although in the past they usually had knives and shotguns (due to the large number of hunters among them, and also for protection) nowadays they seem better armed and also with more powerful rifles (.45 mag etc) and sometimes scopes. Again, this is what I have come to understand after living here for many years. It’s not advertised and technically few people will admit having something more than a basic shotgun, although the reality could be different. Their better and quicker access to food resources (milk and other dairy products, eggs, meat from farm animals, potatoes, olives, wheat etc) make them more resistant to food shortages and able to hold out for significantly more than city folk. Also in many places in the countryside people are far more eager to uphold their traditional way of life and fight against whoever is oppressing them; they are equally angry with the city folk as they see their values and Constitution trampled and blatantly mocked by their so-called allies. This foments bitterness and could significantly harm Western interests too, which is one main reason why the US Government, a group of Congressmen, some stellar thinkers like Chomsky and Stiglitz have recently applied pressure to Europe to show reason and to find a working solution asap.July 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm #42326
Once again, thanks for the comprehensive reply!
It’s not lost on me that the ‘punishing’ of the Greek population, you mention, can see a large backfire, not just internally by the Greek populace, but also the ‘ace up the sleeve’ (that I have so far not yet seen discussed anywhere), knowing all that is required is a shift in trend towards the treatment/expedition/transportation of asylum seekers could cause some notable European countries not insignificant financial and political pain.
Given that it is now estimated 90% of asylum seekers hit Europe via Greece (http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/greece-illegal-immigration-midst-crisis) and how sensitised a topic that is in Germany, Spain, UK, France and very much so here in Sweden, and not withstanding the fact there may be a movement of ‘economic refugees’ generated within Greece itself, could see another ‘surge’ of immigrant movement that various governments and populations cannot and do not want to cope with. This would constitute a significant escalation in various regions, and as you so rightly pointed out just facilitates further interaction and dialogue to the east, as the more sources of contention and disagreement with the West, the less solutions are actually sought, and the more ‘mud slinging’ and placement of blame takes precedence over sensible dialogues…
It does not take a lot for a bruised and battered population to want to pay back the pain they have suffered, I think a lot of people are missing Greece’s potential in this regard.July 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm #42327
Hi Toby, thanks for your comments and the excellent link provided; all your points are valid. It is true that the entire immigration issue is making things even worse as there’s not careful planning and dialogue due to the tense relations with Greece during the last six months. I believe similar problems have been reported in Italy with regards to immigration, although Greece is probably worse on that respect. Unfortunately, this kind of problem needs all the countries involve to sit down and convene without blame-calling and preconceived notions; an open-mind and a positive outlook and meticulous planning where all member states join in agreement. For this to happen, all these tensions must first de-escalate. Vindictive responses by member states or by Greece is not the way forward. All students of history are aware of the reason of a Union of states, a federation or something like that. “united we stand, divided we fall”, but also it prevents a lot of wars and bad feeling and facilitates good communication and a better understanding between the members that works in their advantage. All this becomes the basis of a single currency, joint policies, common laws etc. To want to bring the entire thing down and collapse in chaos is definitely something that will bring conflicts back to Europe, wars from unforeseen places due to the new and dynamic geopolitical landscape… take ISIS for example. That could come into play putting in danger European borders and areas previously regarded as secure. The reality is that once there’s no unified response to external (and internal) threats, the entire foundation begins to collapse, and I don’t think it’s going to be pretty nor will it end soon. I truly hope for rational minds to emerge and to de-escalate the situation before the “flames of woe” cross borders.July 5, 2015 at 8:16 pm #42329
Proteus and others- Thank you. Your in-sights have been invaluable to me. Not only have I a better understanding of the situation in Greece but also the ramifications of the steps that have been taken by outsiders to force the Greek people to bow to their will. This discussion is one of the many reasons that I am thankful that I joined this web-site. Ron SJuly 5, 2015 at 9:32 pm #42330
Greece votes NO!!! Greece votes ‘no,’ rejects Europe’s bailout offerJuly 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm #42331
Yes, the vote is No by over 61% and Yes is about 38.5 % (the final polls are being counted as we speak). The good news is that that the “winning side” didn’t choose to personify themselves as winners, opting to unite both Yes and No voters in that it will be a common struggle from now on, and that the Greeks are united in adversity and challenges. So this lessens the tendency of division and internal strife, although it is still visible for certain people. The not so good news is that there’s plenty of work to be done, and of course, I expect that the European leaders don’t just have to agree because of the referendum. There will be debating and hopefully some agreement will be made that at least partly satisfies both sides. If that fails, I expect a drawn-out struggle that could last months. It all depends on how the government will deal with financial matters regarding banks opening and fiscal issues affecting insurance funds, employment and retirements.
Ron S thank you. Glad to have helped and looking forward to speaking with you more. I will do what I can to answer any more questions as they arise. Things are changing fast and I’m trying to follow these developments as much as possible.July 5, 2015 at 10:41 pm #42334
God Bless you Proteus 55 and the people of Greece. I wish you and all the folks of Greece peace.
RobinJuly 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm #42337
Thank you Robin, God Bless you too.
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