Günter Grass poem on Greece, austerity, translation


This video is about poverty in Greece.

A video which used to be on YouTube was called Families Crumble In Greece’s Economic Crisis. It used to say about itself:

Seventy-year-old Eletharias cannot afford to go the supermarket any more, so for the past few months he has started rummaging for food in dustbins.

He goes out in Athens at night so that no one sees. When Sky News met him, he was collecting onions from some wheelie bins.

“Since my pension was cut, I can’t buy food so I look through the garbage,” he said, “I can only pray that things get better.”

He is among an increasing number of pensioners who have slipped into desperate poverty and rely on waste food to survive.

From The Local in Germany:

Grass attacks austerity forced on Greece

Published: 26 May 2012 12:01 CET

German Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass has followed his Israel-critical poem from last month with one tearing into European policy on Greece.

His latest poem, “Europe’s Shame”, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, talks of the chaos in Greece and the suffering there, yet warns that Europe would be soulless if Greece were to leave as it had dreamed up the European idea.

He describes Greece as a country condemned to poverty, and as a “country without rights, whose belt is pulled tighter and tighter by the powers with rights.”

See also here. And here. And here.

The original German text of the poem is here. It has much imagery from Greek mythology, Greek history and history of Greek and German literature.

The “you” to whom Grass addresses his poem, is Europe; more precisely, politicians like Angela Merkel.

Here is my translation:

Europe’s shame

Close to chaos, because the market is not just, you’re far away from the country which was your cradle.

What was searched and found with one’s soul, is now considered to be as worthless as scrap metal.

As a debtor put naked on the pillory, a country about which you used to say you were grateful, suffers.

Poverty doomed country whose maintained wealth adorns museums of the loot you kept.

Those [World War II German nazi occupation soldiers] who hit the country, blessed with islands, with the force of arms wore both uniforms and [books of German poet, inspired by ancient Greek poetry] Hölderlin in their knapsacks.

Barely tolerated country whose colonels were once tolerated by you as an alliance partner.

Country which lost its rights, whose belt is tightened and tightened again by the cocksurely powerful.

Antigone defying you wearing black and all over the country, the people whose guest you have been wear mourning clothes.

However, outside the country, the Croesus resembling followers have hoarded all what glitters like gold in your vaults.

Booze at last, drink! [European] Commissioners’ cheerleaders shout. However, Socrates gives you back the [hemlock poison] cup full to the brim.

Curse you as a chorus, which is characteristic of you, will the gods, whose Mount Olympus you want to steal.

You’ll waste away mindlessly without the country, whose mind invented you, Europe.

Christine Lagarde’s “tough love” is an insult to Greece. By urging Greeks to pay up without whingeing the IMF chief has revealed her deep historical and cultural ignorance: here.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde vented her class hatred for the workers of Greece, denouncing them as tax scofflaws and ruling out any respite from the austerity measures that have devastated the country: here.

74 thoughts on “Günter Grass poem on Greece, austerity, translation

  1. Pingback: ‘Ireland, vote against EU austerity’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. The predicament of Athens is our problem

    Sunday 27 May 2012

    You present an interesting contrast between the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the left group Syriza (No quick fix in Athens, M Star May 25).

    KKE appears to seek a solution within Greece whereas Syriza sees it as a microcosm of Europe’s problem generally.

    The left here was slow to support Greece, confused by the Tory press description of the country’s problems as being down to their spend now, pay later habits.

    We recognise such slanders when they are applied to us, but fall for it when other workers are so accused. Now the media want to deflect our attention away from Europe, to Greece alone, it is a financial “basket case” they tell us.

    In fact Greece’s problems are Europe’s problems.

    The European Community was set up to provide the stronger economies such as Germany’s with a flotilla of weaker countries supplying cheap labour, food and holiday sunshine.

    These weaker economies would also buy weapons and absorb loans. Greece’s orders for German submarines are believed to be the price Greece had to pay for its “bailout” and the recipients of the “aid” will be British banks.

    We need to recognise that these “bailouts” are to Greece’s suppliers and to Greece’s lenders. It isn’t the weakest link which has broken, it is the EC system which has broken the weakest link.

    I hope that in a future article, the crisis in Europe and its effect on Greece can be explored more comprehensively.

    Joe Clark
    Old Tupton

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/119489

    Like

  3. Pingback: Greek journalists on strike | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Austerity drives Greeks to suicide | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Angela Merkel’s sweatshop Europe plan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Günter Grass’ poem on Greece in context | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: EU helps bankers, not Spanish people | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: German minister against democracy in Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: G20 conference, no solution | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Greek austerity destroys health | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Austerity makes new Greek minister sick | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Bankers demand more poverty in Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Christine Lagarde wants more poverty in Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Spanish miners fight on | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Greek nazi anti-Afghan refugee violence | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: Kreativ Blogger Award, thanks J.E. Lattimer! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Günter Grass: Europe’s shame/ Europas Schande/Η Ντροπή της Ευρώπης (video) | JusticeForGreece

  18. Pingback: Over 100,000 visits on this blog | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  19. Pingback: My first anniversary on WordPress | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  20. Pingback: More Irish austerity misery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  21. Pingback: Most popular posts on this blog in 2012 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  22. Pingback: European Union supports Bahrain dictatorship | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  23. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thank you TheGirl! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  24. Pingback: Liebster Award, thanks Morrighan! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  25. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks tuttacronaca! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  26. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks Shaun! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  27. Pingback: Irish anti-G8 demonstrations | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  28. Pingback: Liebster Award, thank you Sue! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  29. Pingback: Shine On Award, thanks oasien and Tazein! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  30. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks Bette! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  31. Pingback: United States singer David Rovics | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  32. Pingback: Shine On Award, thanks Shaun and Tazein! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  33. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks gwynnem! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  34. Pingback: Greek children eat garbage, ‘austerity’ politicians eat caviar | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  35. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award, thanks Tazein! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  36. Pingback: Shine On Award, thanks Mush! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  37. Pingback: Greek nazi politicians’ (non?-)prosecution for stabbing Afghan refugee | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  38. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award, thanks theseeker! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  39. Pingback: Syrian(?) refugee little girl and family drown in Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  40. Pingback: Τραγωδία στη Κω: Εξι μετανάστες νεκροί ανάμεσά τους και 2 παιδιά | Ώρα Κοινής Ανησυχίας

  41. Pingback: Syrian(?) refugee little girl and family drown in Greece | Ώρα Κοινής Ανησυχίας

  42. Pingback: German heavy metal rock and politics | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  43. Pingback: Reader Appreciation Award, thank you Ajaytao! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  44. Pingback: Anti-Pakistani racism in Greece | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  45. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Joëlle Jean-Baptiste! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  46. Pingback: Reader Appreciation Award, thank you Shaun! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  47. Pingback: 300,000 visits milestone for this blog | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  48. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Rhubblog Administrator! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  49. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Horty! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.