Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s appointment as lecturer at Harvard University had many of his countrymen wondering if he was the right person to be talking about how to govern a country, given that he resigned after two years of protests, strikes and riots against the austerity measures he imposed on the orders of international lenders and against the principles of the Socialist party he once led.
One Greek has taken it further and asked for lecture series to be cancelled. Vassiliki Aroniadou-Anderjaska, a Research Associate Professor at the federally-funded F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, has written to Trey Grayson, Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, to complain that Papandreou is unfit for the position, according to the Greek website Tromatiko.
In a bitter diatribe at the former premier, Aroniadou-Anderjaska, who was born in Volos and is a graduate of the University of Athens, blamed him for the ruination of many people’s lives in Greece, as well as suicides tied to desperation over pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.
Papandreou imposed austerity on the orders of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is putting up $325 blllion in two bailouts to prop up the failing Greek economy.
The lectures will be focused on the world debt crisis and its repercussions on Greece as well as Europe, the European Union’s “vulnerable points.” Papandreou, along with students will discuss the need arising in the EU to instigate some institutional changes.
Greece is being crushed by $380 billion in debt caused largely by alternating administrations of the PASOK Socialists – the party Papandreou’s father, former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou founded – and their rival New Democracy Conservatives, who packed public payrolls with hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is now Prime Minister and sharing power with PASOK and the Democratic Left and, as did Papandreou, is administering more austerity measures.
“For the majority of Greeks who live in Greece and experience the hardships, as well as for Greek Americans who, in desperation and indignation are watching Greece drowning and do not know how to help, GEORGE PAPANDREOU IS A WANTED MAN,” she wrote, adding that she believes he should be investigated for treason.
She added that his failure showed he was not competent to lecture about government and politics and that, as the still leader of the Socialist International group, he would be guilty of hypocrisy for advocating austerity, which goes against the organization’s agenda. “Please do not allow these seminars to continue. Cancel these seminars on the basis that you received many complaints from Greeks, and your prestigious Institute cannot afford to organize and sponsor questionable programs,” she added.
Papandreou is scheduled to be a lecturer until the end of the winter semester. It was not stated whether he will also continue to draw his salary as a Member of Parliament, a position given to former Prime Ministers. He quit as PASOK’s leader earlier this year.