In a small country like Greece, being poor and proud, was once a merit for all the members of this tribe. This was not too long ago, when getting enough food on the table for all the family, was a permanent daily target not easily met. Men were working at the fields or the few industrial compounds countless hours day by day, and women were looking after the family –often consisting of 10 to 15 mouths to feed and support (excluding those that didn’t survive birth or were lost before their first birthdays…)
While all this did not seem easy to bear, by neighboring European country standards, those Greeks managed to defend the city long enough to enable Second World War intruders to face their final defeat at the East, while as a percentage of the overall population, Greece incurred the biggest losses amongst all other nations engaging at this deadliest of wars. Greece was also denied of its food supplies under German reign, leading to nation-wide famine and death, not to mention the heavy Loan that it was forced to surrender to its Rulers – and has still to be repaid due to “legal malady”. And after this absurdity was over, a nasty Civil War was instigated over “Political matters of a Philosophical nature” to make the nation’s post-war recovery process almost impossible despite of the Ally Support that followed mainly under the flag of the “Marshall Plan”.
Not too many years went by, and this same generation of Greeks that surprisingly enough made it through Second World War, and all its atrocities, were allowed to seek a brighter future abroad, in the form of permanent refugees, building the future of other modern foreign economies that made good use of this cheap labor, while leaving the weak and the elders behind to form an aging nation seeking shelter at the capital city and the amassing of “thin-air” wealth in the form of housing ownership and a few small bucks in the few state banks, to guarantee a “better future for their kids”. And their kids – our own X generation – fled to the expensive Universities of the world to teach themselves modern economics and business acceleration, so that these prizes alone would suffice for the fat remunerations in the part-taking of the rising “hot-pockets” of money that began to spring about for those with access to the new promising Greek politicians in exchange for their voting rights.
History has it, that a Nation that forgets its own history, is bound to repeat it. And indeed, Greece was about to fall flat on its face, much like after the victorious Balkan wars that allowed it to regain its present Northern territories, following to which a schism in internal politics and public opinion led to one of the costlier massacres of Orthodox-believing human lives in its modern history. And the schism was repeated again and again after the military junta that allowed Greeks to imprison and torture Greeks under a very “logical” cleansing argument of political correctness. The bi-poles of all the following years of the Greek political scene, wasted precious time and resources, depriving Greeks of their cohesiveness as a nation of Greeks bonding with each other to secure peace and economic stability. And, of course, it wasn’t long before that, under the promise of yet more “easy-money” through the newly found source of the local Bourse and the recycling of black money through stocks that were bought and sold intra-daily to make some bucks for the many and hefty fortunes for the few that were pulling the strings, as the “American Dream” was unveiled miraculously in blissful daily reports playing at local TV screens 24 x 7.
And where everything seemed pink, a safe-haven for the Greeks and the many illegal immigrants alike, it was not but a very few conservative minds that foresaw the next phase of the game. And as the word has it “no prophet is welcome in his own city”.
To avoid making this text a history lesson, we will skip the lines and look at today, just a decade after the extravagant Olympic Games and the overall fanfare that we experienced, and 6-years deep in recession, that could easily qualify as bankruptcy right from the beginning, if it wasn’t for a series of governments that succeeded in persuading us that back-to-back borrowing of a broke state is a viable means of State financing in exchange for State independency and tough harnessing of pensions and wages. And the lack of a few brave politicians that would let the people see the truth and act upon it, gave way to latest cut of people in command wearing the same agnostic flag colours, who prefered to soften the pill, allowing us to keep believing in miracles of the old days of “fat cows” by some kind of tricky economic policy or even worse newly invented line of thought in external affairs.
To avoid the pitfall of becoming a missionary type of judge of the system that we are all part of, I can not but glimpse to the past of this nation, not so long ago, just the length of our own fathers’ date of youth, when the dreams were possible because we were all poor and proud and the largest investment – and expected pay-back – was to one’s own reading and building, connecting and sharing, where the few was enough and ethos and national pride for our ancestry was the foremost driver of family as well as social values.
“Blessed are the poor” and if poor is what we Greeks currently are, then I can see no reason why we skip this reality in favor of the well-fare façade that we allowed ourselves to get addicted to. Yet, much like all addictions, to regain health (and even wealth of some kind) we will have to accept voluntarily a rehabilitation process that does not involve any kind of psychotropic/magic-spell pill-therapy that many Greeks currently prefer as a means to sooth the pain of our reality-check. That will also include a life-saving surgery to reverse the previous self-inflicted lobotomy and withstand a brave look at the options available, coupled by a serious backing of any leader that will be brave enough to stand his position against the modern “Sirens” of debt-generated State financing that makes us all nothing but a Debt colony. That brave One, would fortify the city gates once more, against the well-hidden drones of consumption/well-ness/ownership/ selfish-driven type of behavior and lead us all back to safer grounds of “poverty” where real people live real lives, with real capital, stable families with well-tested family values as well as some free time to ponder about the metaphysics so that they re-discover that there Is some kind of God after all (besides the fake reflections in our distorted mirrors of perception).
It seems that it takes real guts to review our priority list both as individuals but also as a nation that has fallen on its knees and make some long-term commitment to take the necessary actions towards instigating not just a better reality but also a Common one. Brotherhood has always been appealing to those with a long-term view, and history has rewarded those who held it sacred. Small is indeed beautiful and a small group of people calling themselves Greeks with pride again, have lots to remember from their past and teach themselves a lesson as they walk the many miles up-hill to their own Mount “Thabor”. Anyone interested to walk along?