I’m Greek. I’ve never lived in this country. I was born here though. I grew up away from Greece. Like most of us, Greeks who grow up abroad, we are taught, from a very young age to love our country, our history, our culture – sometimes, very often actually, too much. A myth is created for us that enwroughts our image and idea of Greece. Hellas. The beautiful country of civilization, eternal sunshine, easy-going, friendly, hosting people. The country of Alexander and the great Byzantin Empire, the heroes of 1821.
And it is a myth. Easily broken. There is no sign of heroes in Greece in 2015. There is no sign of an empire, Byzantin or Alexander’s. Not that the Byzantin Empire was ever truly Greek. Nor was it so great as we are taught it were. Our Greek history books focus so much on creating this image of a continious, unbroken line of Greeks, yet, has it ever truly existed? That I have limited knowledge to comment on. But in 2015, or 2008 or 2004 for that matter, Greece is not an empire, but a country, a member-state of a European Union that has brought relative prosperity to all its members but more importantly, has created a culture of inclusion, respect for diversity and has secured peace in the most war-turn continent in the history.
This small introduction I believe is necessary, because not only is Greece a country, and Greeks, a nation of people who carry a great part of world history, but it is also a country that hasn’t, if I may use the word, performed, well in its recent past. And I believe that’s they key to solving the “Greek crisis”.
I don’t want to bore anybody with the ideologies I find preferable, but here’s a plan of action that I could agree with, and I think you can draw conclusions of my beliefs from that.
Come to an agreement with our European partners that resolves the current deadlock, stops hurting the image of the country and puts an end to our government slowly pushing our country out of the favour of our partners. (And I emphasize the word, partners, we’re are partners in this)
Then and only then, within a functioning economy can we begin to finally plan and create what has been missing from this country since its inception. A vision. For the nation, for the country, and for the country as a leader within the European Union. And I believe that can happen. Greece…No. Greeks have so much to offer. But only as an organised country can we offer enough to our children (Education, healthcare, culture, art..) to produce brights minds that are not only bright, but also have a future in the world, a very, international world.
A vision for our young country, first established as a Republic in 1822, that then became a Kingdom, that became a troubled Republic again only in 1924, was later occupied by the Axis Powers and resumed unbalanced, only to become a Kingdom again and finally, after the military junta of 1967… The Hellenic Republic, only, in 1974.
So when we talk of Greece, the country, in its current shape and form, it’s a country that’s existed for only a few years before it joined the European Economic Area that had previously been the European Coal and Steel Community, that is now known as the European Union.
Now I want to invite you to think globally. Greece is a very small corner of the world. And the current government acts as if Greece is its centre, it isn’t.
My mother always told me that before a climb the top of the mountain seems too far away and almost impossible to reach. (Neither of us are climbers, it was a metaphor to get me to study for my exams.) I want to paraphraze that, I want you to think about the future, not tomorrow, not next year. The future. Where do you want to be, 10-20 years from now? Where do you want your country to be 20-50 years from now? What does your top of the mountain look like? It is a luxury that people in more prosperous countries have: long-term thinking, visions based on far-fetched ideas. But it is a luxury you can have too by changing your mind, by thinking differently. Don’t listen to what any party tells you, forget about party-politics in your place of studies. Think for yourself. Where are you in 20 years? Where is your country in 50 years?
I hope you share my vision, for a prosperous, democratic, exemplar Greece, within a strong Union, that can flourish, for its people, for Europe and for the world.
Originally published on Frapress.gr | Translated into Greek.