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February 2012
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I Heart Athens

Digging our way out…

February 20, 2012

Hi again!

It’s been a while – an enforced abscence has kept me away from my blog and also necessitated some time away from this country. While this is of course annoying I must admit that ice skating has been a plesant change! As always there were a lot of questions about Greece – this time though they have been coupled with opions about Greece – firmly held and often angrily stated views on my adopted homeland.

Marching on to happiness? (pic by Robin)

There were also many suggestions that maybe… just maybe… it would be better to not go back… to not return to Greece. Read the foreign media and it seems like we once again are balancing on the edge of the abyss. As usual the papers only featured pictures of masked youths and fire bombs and not of any sensible demonstrators… But this kind of reporting is something we have got used to. I was not quite as used to the reports on starving Athenians, abandoned children and suicide threats… but alas, perhaps the foreign media had a point.

Family and friends views have ranged from “good on the Greeks – show capitalism what for!” to “kick the dead weights out – about time!”. But what I noticed is that this time people were so eager to share their views, even when I was trying my best to show that I didn’t really want them. But now everyone has an opinion on Greece – and many of them, more then ever, are not generous.

As for me now I’m back? Well, Athens does feel bad… Greece has never been rich but we used to be happy (didn’t we?), but now there is this fear in the air, the tension. The feeling that things actually are actually really bad this time… that things might actually be over… It saddens me greatly for I love this place. In the area where I live there are a lot of young parents with young kids – what future do they see for their young ones? Already UK universities are full of Greek students, and you try finding a job in London where your not working with a Greek… Perhaps all those educated who are abroad will stay there – could you blame them? And they will be joined by anyone else who has the opportunity to get out. I spoke, a while back, to a doctor who had returned to Greece after many years abroad – while his new office was made ready he was already bemoaning his decision to return. I fear that this may be the big tragedy for Greece. People will always find something to eat, someway of amusing themselves, someway of surviving, but…

But just when it seemed that lots of young educated people with ideas and experience and practices from other countries, countries where corruption is not endemic, where group work is the norm, where meritocracy is considered a good idea; when it seemed that these people would come back to Greece with all their ideas and give the place some much needed modernisation! – now it seems like they will stay away. That is the real tradegedy – that we will lose a generation, probably two, of skill, people who didn’t want to let nepotism and short term gains and selfishness be the norm! But now they will not be here… And that is a development that will be impossible to reverse quickly – the modernisation of ideas and practices that Greece has been in such dire need of has now been pushed back another 20…30? years…

by Emmet. Find out more about Emmet here.

Categories: Athens

One Response to “Digging our way out…”

  1. Emmet….I fully empathise with your views here. I left Belfast in 1973, largely to find work due to the lack during our real troubled period, and I have experienced all the same “media blindness” caused by alarmist and biased reporting. I rarely follow the news these days simply because it is 95% focused on alarming events and simply stokes peoples inherent fears meaning that we continue to attract the worst. You must have learnt to address subconscious fears in order to make the move to Greece and for that I applaude you.

    It might interest you to know that my grownup son and I intend to move to Greece and the Greek Islands to do research and aim also to give any assistance we can to the school children in the places we visit. I cant say that we have masses to offer but we are both enthusiastic and do have ideas. Perhaps you would be kind enough to let us ask a few questions of you to gauge your views and use your expertise before we make certain major decisions? Anyway…be happy there and keep positive :)