By Dr. Alex Vavoulis
Writer N.J. Slabbert, creator of the multimedia Sword of Zeus ProjectTM about Greece’s role in WWII, says the Greek debt crisis is not only an economic event but also has cultural and historical aspects without which it can’t be properly understood. “It is silly,” he comments, “to pretend that the economic devastation inflicted on Greece and the rest of Europe by Germany’s aggression in WWII does not have a major bearing on Greece’s economic path in the second half of the 20th century, or on the financial affairs of Greece in the 21st century, or on Germany’s financial position in 21st-century Europe.”
Mr. Slabbert says WWII is relevant to the present financial situation for several reasons. “First, because of the catastrophic effect that Germany’s occupation had upon Greece during the war. Second, because of the effects of the civil war that arose out of the chaos caused by Germany’s occupation and then Britain’s armed intervention. Third, because of the way in which Europe’s postwar reorganization was managed by the United States and Britain, and the special position that Germany was given in that process owing to the political interests and influence of parties other than Greece.”
This history, Mr. Slabbert maintains, forms a compelling background to the current political and economic situation in Europe, in which Germany is financially comfortable and Greece is fighting for its economic life. “It is convenient to Germany, and to those who ran Europe’s postwar reorganization, to forget what Germany did to Greece in the 20th Century. But it is not right.
Mr. Slabbert emphasizes that he doesn’t want to see protracted enmity between Greece and Germany.
“The two nations are both vital to Europe in many ways. They should and must work together to build a stronger Europe, economically and in other ways. It is no one’s interest for the past always to come between them. But real freedom from the past is never achieved by pretending that it didn’t happen. Old injustices must be confronted and dealt with in a realistic spirit. Only then can there be a sound basis for a cooperative future.”
N.J. Slabbert has been formally recognized by the U.S. Government as a writer and scholar whose talents serve the public interest. His work ranges across a variety of disciplines and has been presented under the auspices of, among others, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard University, The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, The Center for Ethics and Public Policy, Homeland Security Today, Catholic University of America, Johns Hopkins University, Arts & Letters Daily, The Times of London and Reader’’s Digest, of which Mr. Slabbert is a former senior editor and staff writer.
Dr. Vavoulis is Professor Emeritus in Chemistry at California State University, Fresno. He served as President of the Fresno Free College Foundation (1972-92) and was instrumental in constructing KFCF-FM. He is a veteran of WWII and is a member of the Honorary Advisory Board for The Sword of Zeus Project that emphasizes the important role that Greece played in the defeat of Nazi Germany.