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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/1/15

Two Deadlines, Same Demand

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Alexis Tsipras has defied predictions of capitulation, asking Greeks to vote "NO' in Sunday's referendum in order to get a better deal from Europe's financial leaders.[tag]


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Iranians and Greeks, in two distinctly different crises, express the same demand: to be treated with dignity and respect. This is not an unusual attitude among the majority of the world's inhabitants, but it is unacceptable to its masters. For the Iranians, the lifting of economic sanctions depends on allowing the world's leaders to know everything going on in its military bases, as part of it accepting to scale down its nuclear program. For the Greeks, a return to relative normalcy from the brink of default is hostage to continued austerity that would enable irresponsible banks to recoup their losses. In 2011, Iceland pointed the way to a dignified response to the first crisis of the 2008 meltdown, jailing its bankers as its people refused to be stuck with the bill. Apparently its isolated geographic location has kept it from acting as an example for Europe, but then again, Europe has changed considerably since 2011. Austerity imposed on its southern tier has given a decisive boost to the progressive movement.

Tsipras' expected capitulation would have been a victory for Europe's neo-liberal agenda aimed at dismantling the welfare state. According to RT - and this makes sense - the Troika's goal is regime change in Greece, eliminating the loudest voice on the European stage in favor of people's democracy, as oppose to bankers' rule. If they succeed, Europe's financial masters will have dealt a significant blow to the rising people's movements across the European south in Spain, Portugal and Italy. However, their success could boomerang: as thousands of African and Middle East refugees and migrants flood into Europe, far-right parties will play the financial and social strain to the hilt, until they succeed in replacing neo-liberal rule with new and improved nineteen-thirties fascism.

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As for Iran, few Americans know or remember that the CIA organized a coup against its progressive Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953, making way for a repressive Shah. After a revolution in which socialists played an active role alongside religious leaders, American embassy personnel were taken hostage and diplomatic relations were broken off. The US backed Sunni Iraq in its eight-year bloody war with Iran, hoping it would defeat the Shi'a government. The war ended in a draw and eventually the US would effectuate regime change in Baghdad.

Confronted with Israeli-inspired demands that it abandon a civilian nuclear program, Iran points out that it has never invaded another country, knowing that the demands of the international community led by the US are inspired by its unwavering support of the Palestinians, as well as by its standoff with the main Sunni power, Saudi Arabia for influence over the Middle East and the two billion strong world Islamic community.

As with Greece, Iran's demand for respect is backed up by a long and impressive history as well as by modern geo-political ideas based on cooperation rather than confrontation.

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Born in Phila, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe, resulting over time in several unique books, my latest being Russia's Americans.

CUBA: Diary of a Revolution, Inside the Cuban Revolution with Fidel, Raul, Che, and Celia Sanchez

Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel: An Illustrated Personal Journey from the Cold War to the Arab Spring

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