Friday, 25 May 2012


Who would pick the strawberries from their fields? Who would get the fruit down from their trees? Who would wash their carrots? Who would scrub their toilets? 

Complex questions of identity – who are we? -  come to the fore in times of crisis. Who is Greek now, as the threat of expulsion from the European Union looms? 

Politicians and economists, financiers and bankers, civic leaders and their media cheerleaders invoke the language of 'we' to sanitise the dread they feel as the casino-market model, that has ravaged the world since World War Two, implodes; to deflect the blame that clearly points at speculators and speculation, that turns private losses and debt into great public burdens, borne by citizens all across Europe and beyond.

We are told that we are all guilty, that we all indulged in groupthink. And greed.

We are told we are all Greeks.

Who is this 'we'?
In 38 years, spent mostly in news and current affairs, I never saw groupthink. I don’t say it was never there. But I never saw it.

Because there is no such thing, as it is currently promulgated in the defence of a failed economic and political order.

Who would mend their garments? Who would iron their shirts? Who would fluff their pillows? Who would change their sheets? Who would cook their breakfasts?

Forms of Power use 'we' in a self-serving and occluding manner.

Frank: We need every advantage we can get and right now that's us knowing and them not.

Knowing is essential. How the many 'we s' make up the multi-form 'us' on the planet.

Danny: What are we going to do? Are we going to canvas Heaven?

No. We canvas ourselves and the toiling Japanese women in Julie Otsuka's luminous novella.

Greeks. Irish. Nigerians. Afghanis. Australians. Filipinos. Pakistanis. South Sea Islanders. Americans. English. Bolivians. Italians. Poles. Laotians. Iranians. Greeks.

Greeks. Greeks. Greeks. The very Greeks .....

... Who would clear their tables? Who would soothe their children? Who would bathe their elderly?

Us. We Greeks.

The Buddha in the Attic; novel; Julie Otsuka; Penguin/Fig Tree; 2011
Blue Bloods: TV police drama; Panda Productions et al.; 2010 - 

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