I returned to Montreal on May 19 after spending three months in Europe, and about a week later, while getting on to my bicycle for the first time this year, I fractured the Achilles tendon on my right leg. Fitted with one of those monstrous moonboots, care of this damaged leg, and work towards it healing, immediately became almost a full-time job, with physiotherapy, acupuncture, hot baths up to three times a day, and 15 minutes a day on the exercycle, all playing their part.
Meantime I filled my time mostly by watching sporting events, a habit of mine since, as a child, playing sports was my consuming interest in life, making me a sports fanatic right up to the present day. In the nearly two months since my accident I have loved watching the two cricket tests for the Ashes between England and Australia; the Wimbledon tennis championships, which I have not missed since at least 1960, when I first got a TV (and I was physically present in the year before the tournament was finally declared open to professionals, when I saw Laver demolish Rosewall in a superb finals match, and watched as Pancho Gonzales, at the age of 40, finished the tournament by serving four aces in the final game --- something unheard of in those days, although it is more common now; the international Rugby matches by the superpower teams of the southern Hemisphere, including the seldom-beaten All Blacks from my native New Zealand; and more recently the Tour de France (which I always follow for the magnificent glimpses it provides of the glorious French countryside, of which I have been a major aficionado since I first experienced it on a tandem bicycle in the summer of 1952; and lastly, the recent PanAm Games in Toronto, where Canada, for almost the first time, it seems to me, has finally laid claim to be a nation with the sort of sporting culture that embraces many sports in addition to the unfortunately brutal game of ice hockey, which, I have to admit, is a superb game when played without its customary violence, and is certainly the fastest game on earth.
So much for all this trivia: accompanying all of this I have been a fascinated watcher of the Greek financial crisis, which, after examining the arguments from all sides, I have had to conclude was about only one thing: that being the determination of the wealth-owners and the banks they own and the governments they dominate, to make good and sure that no left-wing party of dissent be allowed to function effectively within their European Union, set up, as is now so clear, to be a citadel of unreconstructed capitalism.
How else could one explain how all these European experts, politicians, economists and functionaries, having witnessed the abysmal failure of the measures they took since 2010 to direct the economy of Greece, whose citizens have been reduced to near-penury by their works, how else could these people fail to learn anything from their experience, but insist on re-imposing the same measures even though they must know they are doomed to repeat their failures. And all this in face of a magnificent referendum result in which 61 per cent of Greek voters rejected the terms offered them?
This has been a drama, a Greek drama, if you like, such as we have seldom witnessed in recent times. Certainly we did not witness it in 1953 when the nations of Europe forgave the Germans their debts (even in face of the fact that it was the Germans who imposed on them all a war in which 57 million people were killed!) One of the unforgettable images from these recent events has been the set, determined unimaginative expression on the face of German chancellor Angela Merkel as she simply ignored all arguments except her own insistence that the banks have to be saved, come what may.
Oh, dear! What a world this is.