The insulting remarks directed at Greeks by the IMF's head Christine Lagarde continue to reverberate, directing contempt and derision on Lagarde herself. Critics are vocal from Greece, France and the U.K., uniting her critics in support for Greece.
Greeks have spoken of their humiliation after being the butt of Lagarde's insulting remarks, with even competing political parties uniting in their vocal contempt of her opinions. Digital Journal reported that Lagarde caused a storm by remarks she made during an interview with the Guardian in which she lumped all Greeks together as tax evaders who could help themselves by paying their taxes, including those suffering under the severest austerity.
News 12 reports that Lagarde has provoked critics in Paris to condemn her, with John-Luc Melenchon saying her remarks were "unworthy" as he called for her to withdraw from her position in the IMF. Ta Nea reported French government spokesman Natzat Belkasem-Valo said he found her remarks "somewhat schematic and caricatures"
John Ward, who writes the excellent Slog, summed up his contempt for Lagarde by saying "Lagarde is an idiot who manages to combine cranial density with a power-drive so all-embracing, the sounds she makes get more hypocritical with every week." Ward's piece on Lagarde provoked one commentator to speculate that the head of the IMF's remarks may have been a deliberate calculation to anger the Greeks enough that they would vote for anti-bailout parties in the June 17 election and thus speed up Greece's exit from the euro.
Comments continue to flood in beneath the Guardian article which provoked the storm, including "My contempt for this low form of life who calls herself a woman and a human being cannot be expressed in words" and "If you look closely, you can see the dollar signs in her dead, cold eyes." Others write "She sounds as sympathetic as Hitler...This is shocking; does she realize what she is saying and how inflammatory it is?" and "I particularly like the pearls and Chanel suits while telling Greece their kids mean less than other starving kids in a nation the IMF has already ruined." Contempt for Lagarde is reflected in the comment "Effectively: 'Let them eat cake.' What a wonderfully egalitarian approach to life. This woman is disgusting."During the Guardian interview Lagarde said "I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger" than Greeks struggling under austerity, effectively reducing Greece to the status of a third world nation rather than a member of the European Union. This provoked comments such as "The comments on Niger are repulsive. Reducing the people of Greece to 3rd world poverty does nothing for the people of Niger. Using Niger's poverty as a way to attack the people of Greece is the act of an amoral self-centred egoist."
Lagarde's remarks have provoked a groundswell of sympathy for Greeks but Alexis Tsiprias, leader of SYRIZA said the last thing Greeks are seeking is sympathy. New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Michelakis said "the average Greek must be wondering what she was trying to achieve with comments like this." The Slog commentator may well have summed up Lagarde's motives for creating this storm when he suggested it was a deliberate ploy to drive the electorate to support the anti-bailout party SYRIZA to provoke a Greek euro exit.