What on Earth is happening in Greece?

“[I]s there any other European country this close to boiling point?” asks P.O. Neill of A Fistful of Euros. Judging by the pictures of the ongoing chaos in Greece, I’d say it’s already at a good boil. Anti-police rioting throughout the country is not in its fifth day, a general strike has effectively shut the ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
591213_081210_greece75.jpg
591213_081210_greece75.jpg

"[I]s there any other European country this close to boiling point?" asks P.O. Neill of A Fistful of Euros. Judging by the pictures of the ongoing chaos in Greece, I'd say it's already at a good boil.

Anti-police rioting throughout the country is not in its fifth day, a general strike has effectively shut the country down in opposition to economic reforms, and the ruling conservative government seems entirely unable to maintain control over the country.

There's been very little discussion of the chaos by international pundits and bloggers. I suspect this is because no one really knows what to make of it. A number of recent Greek political scandals and growing youth anarchist movement should have been taken as warning signs, but the conventional wisdom on Greece has been that it's a fast-modernizing society and a model of European integration. This week, however, it's looked a lot more like its Balkan neighbors to the north.

“[I]s there any other European country this close to boiling point?” asks P.O. Neill of A Fistful of Euros. Judging by the pictures of the ongoing chaos in Greece, I’d say it’s already at a good boil.

Anti-police rioting throughout the country is not in its fifth day, a general strike has effectively shut the country down in opposition to economic reforms, and the ruling conservative government seems entirely unable to maintain control over the country.

There’s been very little discussion of the chaos by international pundits and bloggers. I suspect this is because no one really knows what to make of it. A number of recent Greek political scandals and growing youth anarchist movement should have been taken as warning signs, but the conventional wisdom on Greece has been that it’s a fast-modernizing society and a model of European integration. This week, however, it’s looked a lot more like its Balkan neighbors to the north.

As one student protester told the Guardian:

There were many reasons why these riots happened. The situation was explosive, socially and economically. The state undermines people. You feel it is violating your rights. At some point the lid was going to burst.

It’s an explosion that very few outside of Greece saw coming.

Photos: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Europe

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