It’s the People, Stupid

Greece and Europe

 I want to write about Greece today, because it is so much in the news after the recent election that voted for a whole new approach to the prevailing orthodoxy of austerity.

Sunrise over Greece

Sunrise over Greece

I have good and precious friends in Greece, and I hope they will read this with the forbearance that a parent will give a child’s first attempts to speak, for I make no claims to any economic understanding, nor to any right to speak for the Greek people.

Let us imagine that a city in our own country had a serious problem. It isn’t difficult to do – the British can remember Belfast and Americans can remember New Orleans. What do we do? We sympathise with the people and we help to rebuild their city and economy.

We might be a little late or ineffective sometimes, or we might find the problem more difficult to sort out than we initially thought, but we don’t abandon them. We don’t throw them to the wolves or the bankers!

Swimming Pool in Vasilikos

Swimming Pool in Vasilikos

It is the same with Greece and Europe.

We owe Greece a lot. We owe her much of our language, our sense of beauty and art, most of philosophy, democracy, theatre, a wonderful cuisine and a lifestyle that many of us in northern Europe admire and envy.

In short, we owe her civilisation.

Now, Greece needs help. The economy is not in tatters because of the people. It was the politicians and bankers who got them here, yet it is the ordinary people who lose their jobs and scrabble for food in the streets of Athens.

Where do the bankers and the powerful live? Not on the streets of Athens, I can assure you.

We wouldn’t allow this to happen in Manchester, or Tucson, Arizona. We might be a bit pissed off at the ineptitude of our government, but we would help, wouldn’t we? Maybe not directly, but we would expect our civic institutions to sort it out.

Dafni, Greece

Dafni, Greece

Greece is no different. Greeks, too, have their lives to lead and their happiness to seek. Why do the rest of us in Europe make it impossible for them? Why are we being so Victorian about this?

As a human being, I am puzzled and sad about this; as a cynic, I suppose I’m not surprised. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, “It’s the moneythat counts, stupid!”

 

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About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
This entry was posted in Greece, Photographs, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s the People, Stupid

  1. Eugenia says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s very encouraging to see that people still stand up for people and not money as it’s most often the case. Keep well!

    Like

  2. I was fortunate to get to visit Greece twice. I went last year in the spring to research my novel and then once in college while I was living in France. The poverty there was very sad and quite a juxtaposition to the majesty of the Parthenon towering above everything from the Acropolis. If I could put pictures in the comment box I’d show you one I took from the Psirri district which shows this duality.

    The people, however, were extraordinarily kind and intelligent. One woman we ran into in the Pnyx took us on a several hours long tour of the area, showing us ancient road ruts and things we would not have noticed on our own. It is truly a magical place and besides helping them financially, we should also give them back their Parthenon marbles!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Elgin marbles are a disgrace. It’s so patronising of the British Museum to think that the Greeks can’t look after them properly. They should be where they belong.

    Like

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