I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many countries in my life and meet many people, some of which I consider as friends and that’s one of the highest honors I can give.
So, this is for these friends, wherever they are in the world.
It’s difficult to explain what is happening here in Greece, to explain what many Greeks, including me, feel about the political situation.
I understand that most of you are learning about developments in Greece from several media, some of them favorable, most of them not. It is to be expected, especially in the field of politics where several interpretations of the same event can exist and in many ways be valid.
In truth, we, Greeks, elected a government that had from the beginning shown its true colors. They are a leftist coalition of people who believe in ideas as strange as Maoism and Stalinism, to mention a few of the not-so-fringe ones.
Why we voted for them is hard to explain and it would take some time and many pages. It doesn’t matter now. They are here. They call the shots.
What is important is to realize that not all of us voted for them. During the last elections they received about 37% and if you calculate the number of people who could have voted but didn’t, their numbers fall to a puny 24% of the electoral base. This means that the vast majority of Greeks did not vote for them.
But the fact remains that they are in government and are making decisions for all of us.
Some of these decisions or some of their comments you might have heard of. Some of them may sound “alien” to you, irrational and just plain weird! Let me assure you that they sound the same way to us too! It appears that this government does not value cooperation with allies, does not value keeping their promises and does not value the opinion of the other EU partners. They probably don’t even value the opinion of us Greeks.
They are set in their ways, they don’t want to change their mind and they appear to be going against the will of the people they were elected to serve.
They are surprising us with their incompetence, their inability to grasp reality and their child-like behavior.
They appear to be rude and at times truly obnoxious and dangerous in their not-so-veiled threats to drag the rest of Europe, or even the world if they could, down to the bottom with us.
We understand that the path we are on is leading us to destruction. We also understand that it may already be too late for the economy to recover. Many of us are speaking out against them, against their policies and against their irrational decisions. We are speaking out, each one from our own little soap-box, but we do speak. Some of us even yell and are in danger of alienating friends and relatives.
In fact this is already happening. Thanks to the government’s communication policies and their need to find enemies within and without, they create conspiracy theories that eventually encompass all the dissenting voices and end up dividing the people into “us and them” instead of uniting us to the common cause.
We believe in democracy and the democratic ideals that compel us to seek a solution through the same institutions that brought these people to power. We have to. Any other choice would be detrimental. We are above all Greeks.
So, the next time you hear news about Greece and about our government, I would urge you to remember that not all of us are of the same mind. Not all of us want to hurt our relationship with the EU, not all of us see “allies” in Russia and other semi-democratic countries, not all of us are nationalists and spew threats and hatred at whomever we believe is the enemy.
Many of us are fighting back. It’s not easy and we have our scars to show for, but we won’t stop. We’ll keep criticizing the policies of this government and we are in favor of a more rational approach, within the EU and in cooperation with the other countries, not against them.
I can’t promise you anything. I’m afraid of what is going to happen as every other Greek probably is.
But I would like to ask you to keep this in mind and each time you hear something strange, or even feel insulted by something a member of this government has said or done, that it’s not representative of all of us. Many of us strongly disagree but are rarely heard. But if it’s not too late, we will turn this country around. We know how to do it, despite appearances of the opposite. Please share this with whoever may be interested or has an unfavorable opinion of Greeks. It may help. We are not all SYRIZA.
This is, in many ways, an apology.