Tag Archives: Generational Dynamics

26-Dec-16 World View — Greece calls its European lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ from A Christmas Carol

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Greece evokes Dickens’ Christmas Carol, calling its lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’
  • European lenders relent and unblock the frozen bailout loan

Greece evokes Dickens’ Christmas Carol, calling its lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’

Ebenezer Scrooge meets Jacob Marley's ghost -- by John Leech, from the 1843 edition of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Greece used this picture to accuse European officials of being Scrooges. (Gutenberg)
Ebenezer Scrooge meets Jacob Marley’s ghost — by John Leech, from the 1843 edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Greece used this picture to accuse European officials of being Scrooges. (Gutenberg)

Greece’s finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos has sent a Christmas card to journalists, apparently mocking Greece’s bailout lenders, and accusing them of being as stingy and hard-hearted as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1843 book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Greece’s Christmas card displays the picture shown above of Ebenezer Scrooge meeting the ghost of his dead partner Jacob Marley. The picture was an illustration by John Leech in the original 1843 edition. The picture in Tsakalotos’s card was accompanied by the following caption:

“Perhaps in all of our Christmas tales there is a terrifying character like Ebenezer who receives the season’s spirit in an immense solitude, and closed like an oyster. And maybe our Christmas tale is no exception.

But, dear friends and colleagues, our wishes go beyond all the Ebenezers of this world. We don’t give up on our wishes.”

Greece is undoubtedly alluding to the decision by Greece’s creditors to cancel a planned bailout loan, after Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced new social spending — a one-time pre-Christmas bonus to poor pensioners, and a reduction in taxes for Greece’s Aegean Sea islands whose tourist industry had suffered because of the refugee crisis. Greece needs the bailout loan to meet its debts and avoid bankruptcy.

Charles Dickens describes Ebenezer Scrooge as follows:

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call “nuts” to Scrooge.”

So that’s what Alexis Tsipras and other Greek ministers think of Greece’s creditors. Tsipras may particularly be thinking of Germany’s cranky finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who would undoubtedly be quite effective playing the part of Scrooge in a new production of A Christmas Carol.

In 1843, an elderly man like Scrooge would have been of the same generational archetype of today’s Silent Generation, the generation that grew up during World War II.

Scrooge would have grown up during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Many people in Scrooge’s generation had died in wars or in poverty. Dickens talks about prisons, Union workhouses, the Treadmill and the Poor Law. London’s Panic of 1825 had been financially devastating.

In Dickens’ story, the three ghosts that visit him convince him to forget all that, and start being generous with his time and money. Tsipras is hoping the Schäuble and Europe’s other finance ministers turn out the same way. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 edition (Gutenberg) and Kathimerini and Deutsche Welle and AFP

Related Articles

European lenders relent and unblock the frozen bailout loan

There’s no word about whether Greece’s Christmas card played any part in the European officials’ Christmas eve change of heart, but Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Saturday that negotiations would restart for the debt bailout loan to be unfrozen in January.

The softening the Eurogroup’s hearts came about not because of visits by three ghosts, but because Greece’s finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos had sent a letter saying that the pension bonus was a one-time thing, and reaffirming the government’s commit to financial reforms. According to Eurogroup officials and Dijsselbloem:

“We have received a letter by the Greek authorities in response to the concerns raised by the institutions as well as the Euro Working Group on the recently legislated fiscal measures.

We have been reassured by the accompanying assessment of the institutions indicating that their initial significant concerns, both on process and on substance, are alleviated by this letter as regards MoU commitments, especially regarding pension. …

I’m happy to conclude that we have cleared the way … to go ahead with the decision-making procedures for the short-term debt measures, which will be conducted in January.”

As Scrooge said to Bob Cratchit:

“A merry Christmas, Bob! A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless Us, Every One!” Reuters and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, John Leech, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Greece, Euclid Tsakalotos, Alexis Tsipras, Wolfgang Schäuble, Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail

The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

25-Dec-16 World View — Tunisia fears more terrorism after Berlin attack by Tunisian national

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Bartella Iraq celebrates Christmas after liberation from ISIS
  • Tunisia arrests three people over the Berlin terror attack
  • Hundreds of Tunisians rally against jihadism at Bardo Museum in Tunis

Bartella Iraq celebrates Christmas after liberation from ISIS

Christmas eve mass held in Bartella on Saturday (Agora Magazine)
Christmas eve mass held in Bartella on Saturday (Agora Magazine)

Christians from around the region are flocking to Bartella, Iraq, to join in the celebration of Christmas, the first since Bartella was liberated.

Bartella, just 24 km from Mosul, used to be home to thousands of Assyrian Christians. They were forced to flee in August 2014, when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) overran Mosul and neighboring villages. Bartella was liberated from ISIS two months ago, on October 20, by the Iraqi army operation to recapture Mosul. Rudaw (Iraq, Kurdistan) and Agora Magazine (Italy)

Related Articles

Tunisia arrests three people over the Berlin terror attack

After Anis Amri, the 24 year old perpetrator of Monday’s terror attack in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring dozens by ramming a large, hijacked truck into a crowd at a Christmas market, was shot to death in Milan Italy by police on Friday, there have been hundreds of investigators all over Europe trying to determine whether Amri had help from other jihadists.

Amri himself was a Tunisian national who sought asylum in several European country, including Germany, but was refused. He had a criminal record in Italy and Tunisia, and spent four years in an Italian prison before traveling to Germany.

Tunisian authorities have arrested three people on suspicion of being part of a “terrorist cell… connected to the terrorist Anis Amri.” Two of the three were arrested in the capital city Tunis.

The third arrest was Amri’s own 18-year-old nephew, Fedi, his sister’s son, arrested in Amri’s home town of Oueslatia. During initial questioning, Fedi said that he had been in contact with uncle Anis through the mobile app Telegram, which provides for encrypted communications that can’t be traced. He also said that uncle Anis had sent him money to come to Germany, and asked him to pledge allegiance to ISIS. Sky News and AP

Related Articles

Hundreds of Tunisians rally against jihadism at Bardo Museum in Tunis

Hundreds of people rallied at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia’s capital city, on Saturday, protesting the lack of government action to prevent jihadists who fought overseas from returning to the country without facing punishment.

The news that Anis Amri, a Tunisian, was the perpetrator of last week’s terror act in Berlin has embarrassed and infuriated the Tunisian people.

Tunisians are proud that their country launched the “Arab Spring” that began in 2011, and the resulting transition of power was largely peaceful. The Arab Spring uprisings were triggered on December 17, 2010, when a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, in protest of the police confiscation of his vegetable cart. After days of clashes between protesters and the police, long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country to exile in Saudi Arabia.

However, that peaceful transition has come at a price. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has faced repeated jihadist attacks, killing more than 100 soldiers and policemen, as well as about 20 civilians and 59 foreign tourists, according to official figures.

In March of last year, two terrorist gunmen infiltrated security at the well-known Bardo Museum in Tunis, right next door to the parliament building. They took and killed 22 hostages, with 50 people injured. Almost all of the casualties were foreign tourists.

Tunisians were still in shock from that attack, when another attack occurred in June. A gunman disguised as a tourist opened fire at a Tunisian hotel in Sousse on Friday, killing 37 people.

Perhaps the most significant fact about Tunisia is that it’s been the number one source of foreign fighters who have gone to Syria to join ISIS. Some 5,500 Tunisian citizens have left the country and are now fighting in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and to a lesser extent Mali, far more than the citizens of any other country.

It’s believed that about 800 of these jihadists have returned to Tunisia in the last year. It’s always been feared that Tunisian nationals returning would form terror cells in Tunisia and conduct more terror attacks, like the ones that have occurred frequently since 2011, but the actions of a Tunisian national in the Berlin attack has heightened those fears and created new anxieties. In fact, with ISIS losing territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya, it’s feared that these jihadists are going to be flooding back into the country.

The purpose of Saturday’s rally was to demand that further action be taken. In particular, they demanded that the government to bring home all Tunisian nationals living abroad who have links to extremist organizations, so they could face trial in their home country. Deutsche Welle and ITV

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Bartella, Iraq, Mosul, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Germany, Berlin, Anis Amri, Fedi, Tunisia, Milan, Italy, Oueslatia, Tunis, Bardo Museum, Mohamed Bouazizi, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Sousse, Syria, Iraq, Libya
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail

The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.