contributed by Blog-Fan: Thomas/USA
I am a Greek-American of the “diaspora” who can legitimately claim that I know both cultures fairly well.
In our US community, Greek-Americans are held at the highest regard. The level of respect and even admiration we enjoy in our community is more than obvious. Before the “Greek crisis”, that is. No, we did not lose, nor could, all this respect overnight.
However, we can easily detect “that look”, a different look than the “pre-crisis” one from our community peers.
We do receive some ironic, rightfully so, comments and even some anger that the rest of the world (true or false is irrelevant) has to bear the consequences of the Greek crisis.
The problem is that we know they are justified in their criticisms.
The Greeks for 35 years have been knowingly and willfully voting for “mafia-style-run governments” so they can use “reciprocal” bribery and corruption to enjoy a life-style they could neither afford nor deserved without ever working for it (exceptions to the rule are non-withstanding, yet, they are just that. Exceptions!).
Even today, Greeks do not dismantle the only European Soviet-type system that has yet to adopt “glasnost” and “perestroika”. They keep on blaming their politicians, yet, they keep on voting for the same ones. In a democracy, by euphemism in this case, the ultimate responsibility lays with the voter/citizen. The only soft spot of a democracy is that it requires a high level of responsibility, civic awareness, and education. Greeks have failed miserably in all of the above. Just look at the way they park their cars. They consider smart (“magia”) to park on the ramps built for handicaps and honk (let alone stop) for children on their way to the school bus.
To add insult to injury, the overwhelming majority of the Greeks even today have not realized the gravity of their situation and what is to follow. They are being overcome by a “delusion of grandeur”.
“Delusion of Grandeur”
They advocate that the rest of the world (and more than any, The Germans) owe them big time! Their reasoning: ancient Greece was the cradle of western civilization 2,500 years ago! As if it is the only country with glorious history. They believe the whole world has conspired against them so they can enjoy the natural beauties of Greece cheaper. Yes, the whole world is set against 10 million people (a relapse of “delusion of grandeur”).
Ask 100 or a million Greeks why they are proud of their country and you will get the same answer every time. “The natural beauty and the ancient Greeks”; both given either by their distant predecessors (although historically disputable) or by God. When asked what Modern Greek achievements they are proud of, none can come with a single one for the past 190 years (with the exception may be of the 1940 war era against the axis).
Diaspora Greeks ashamed!
For the first time they have made us “Greeks of the Diaspora” feel ashamed to be Greek.
No, not because Greece is in a crisis. It is the mentality, the irrational and unfair/wrong sense of entitlement they possess. The arrogance, the lies, and the mentality of robbing other hard working nations of their tax money, so they can enjoy the good life, is considered “smart”, they call it “magia”. This is what makes us most ashamed.
Last weekend it was a 3-day long weekend in Greece. All the motorways leading in and out of the major cities were jammed and all the “tavernas” (even the expensive at E 150.00+/person were packed).
Aside from the economic issue, there is the moral issue to be addressed as well. The IMF and The EU should keep on adding austerity measures and only when the motorways, the “tavernas” and the bars (at E 8.00/drink) have gone empty should consider stopping. Until that happens, I am afraid that the rest of Europe will be “suckers” and the Greeks “magies” (smart) as they proudly self-proclaim themselves. Only then Europe and The IMF will get their money back and We our Dignity.
The danger that our community, where we Greek-Americans live and work, might equate us with their mentality disputing even for a minute the fact that we worked so hard with honesty and sacrificed so much keeps me up at nights.
We do not deserve this and we are angry. We do distance ourselves with those Greeks. We do side with these voices of discontent, anger and sense of justice and morality. Let them go bankrupt….the whole world will be better off….including the Greeks in the long term. Do not delay the inevitable and our agony.
Dear Thomas, I presume you are writing from the States.
I am a member of the Diaspora who repatriated in 1981. I understand your frustration and anger. But suggest that if your community judges you not for yourself but for your origins you can remind them of the cruelty Americans show everyday in their dealings with the rest of the world. Remind them of slavery, of scandals like Enron and Watergate and so on.
When I get upset with people parking on the handicapped lane I leave messages on their cars. There are lots and lots of hard working greek people – not every one has a jeep or a ferari parked in his lot.
As for the Germans – they owe us war damages and you should read about that too.
The one Greek I am proud of in modern history is Dr Papanikolaou and his pap test that has saved million of women’s lives the world over.
I am proud of being Greek because I try to live according to the traditions taught to me in my Greek family – not so very different to any decent family the world over. I am proud of myself in other words….
I never said that our community does not judge us for the content of our character and not for our origins. However, our origins is something we carry with us regardless. You can’t have it both ways, Katy; that is to say “do not judge me by my origins” when things are not going your way while “feeling proud”, on the other hand, for your greek heritage. You either accept both or denounce both. When you accept the latter you accept the former as well.
As far as the scandals you are refering to; no society is perfect and there are and will be crooks are in every society. However, you should focus on how that particular society deals with these people.
On that note, may I remind you that R. Nixon resigned from office -for a heck of a lot less that the greek poloticians- and leaved the rest of his life in disgrace -you still vote for the same criminals-. The Enron people are ALL in jail or dead. So I hope you can see the difference.
In addition do not confuse exceptions to the rule with the “rule”
As far as Dr. George Papanikolaou, I am very well informed and let me enlighten you too. He was an American-Greek of the diaspora too. He emigrated in The USA in 1913 where he lived and worked until 1963 -that’s half a century-. He started his career at Cornell University and ended at University of Miami where he did his cancer research. He became a US citizen (which means that you automatically denounce All previous citizenships). Had he stayed in Greece do you honestly believe he have achieved what he did? he would probably be in a greek hospital receiving “fakelakia’. it was The US that provided him, as well as all other brilliant immigrants, with the means to his achievements. So The Americans have more rights to feel proud for Dr. Pap than the greeks. Think about it with an open mind.
As far as your notes on the parked cars. Does it work?
I know it does not. I used to do it too.
last 190 years what to be proud of? are you on drugs sir?
do you realize that NONE of the criticizing countries have ever been truly invaded for more than 4 years?
do you know what a protracted war means from 1821 to effectively 1922, can you even think about what this would do to any economy.
think a little ever heard of the inter Balkan wars 1916-1918? it wasn’t only the euro pricks who went through world war I. we pulled through, 1922 catastrophe? pulled through, world war 2? pulled through, civil war of the early 50’s? pulled through.
what are you born yesterday?
judging by this article you do make some valid points, but to say we have done NOTHING in the past 190 years?
this makes my blood boil to read such ignorance.
perhaps a trip to your local university or library and you can see what absolute HELL Greece went through this exact period you are talking about, and to still pull through is amazing. you should seriously subtract 190 from the current date of 2010 you will be amazed at how much hell that poor country of yours went through!
BIG F***** deal Greece went bankrupt 2 times in the last 2500 years of existence, one during world war 2 and now.
you should begin to look at a time line of the last 190 years in Greece, to see how our population was almost wiped out and numbered less than 300,00 in 1821 to create a country from the beginning. to tell you the truth, I am more proud of our modern history than ancient! just try to be careful when you post shit on the internet. not everyone can be easily fooled by your article.
p.s. yes i guess i am an internet troll,your ignorance popped out on my during another search.