Greece: My parent’s homeland
The birthplace of modern civilization. The birthplace of Western philosophy. Of democracy. Of the Olympic Games. That is what I think of when I hear the word Greece. It is the country that birthed my parents. The country in which half my extended family currently reside. It is the country that refused to falter to the Ottoman Empire. It is the birthplace of many brave heroes. Heroes I emulated in school plays.
This is the Greece I remember. The country I was and I’m still proud to call my parents’ homeland. Unfortunately, today’s version of Greece isn’t the one I grew to love. The country I grew to admire. Today’s Greece is a country which has sadly become the laughingstock of the world. An economy that is so pathetic it is threatening to falter the European Union. The country that must depend on Germany and France to resuscitate its being.
This is not the country my father so vividly described to me. This is not the country my parents emigrated from. This is a country whose debt is at 132.4% its GDP only because of the largest debt restructuring in history with the private sector. This year the Greek economy is forecast to contract by 7 percent. Unemployment is at 23 percent and youth unemployment an unfathomable 54 percent. Now I won’t pretend to be anywhere as knowledgeable in Greek politics as I am in American politics. I am often reminded by my family in Greece of the struggles they must now endure. Of the fact their corrupt politicians have essentially screwed this generation of a “better” life than the previous.
Now I may not be affluent in Greek politics, but I sure do understand the basics of economics. Ultimately, they will have to meet the stringent requirements established by Angela Merkel (Germany’s Prime Minister). It isn’t fair. The people of Greece deserve better. The sad reality is that there isn’t an alternative. The Greek population must make a choice. Do they make the short-term sacrifices? Or do they allow their pride to eventually get them kicked out of the Euro? Once they are kicked out (which is sure to have global repercussions) they will be on their own. Countries, like Germany and France, will have no incentive to assist them.
I’d hate to see what would come of my father and mother’s homeland if they are kicked out. When asked how long his country can manage without further aid, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said: “Until the end of November. Then the cash box is empty.” Recouping money from marbles and artifacts will not save the Greek economy from collapse.
So I hope, no I pray, that the Greek politicians will do what is truly best for the future of this country. I hope they make those tough decisions (massively unpopular with the population) that will ignite the Greek economy. And most importantly, I pray that Greece will once again be a country admired around the world.
The country my father told me of.
A country my ancestors could once more be proud of.
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate