Thursday, 24 May 2012

Humanitarian disaster

Greek crisis: How to prevent a humanitarian disaster 

Headline from an article in New Scientist (registration needed). It's only one headline from one article, but even talking about a potential 'humanitarian disaster' in Europe, (except in the context of a natural disasters, or some hideous aberration like the Balkan Wars of the '90's), just sounds weirdly wrong. This is Europe, one part of the world that's moved beyond all that, a relatively stable, prosperous part of the planet, where we might have downturns, recessions, but not 'humanitarian disasters'. Humanitarian disasters are the sort of things that happen in desperately poor countries or failed states.

If this is even partly true, it's time for some serious back-pedalling. The Greeks might bear some portion of the blame for what's happening to them (a lot of the people for not paying their taxes, some politicians for failing to collect those taxes and for fiddling the figures that got them into the Euro with a fraudulent clean bill of health), but when the pain level gets into 'humanitarian disaster' territory, it's time to stop.