Σάββατο, 30 Ιουνίου 2012

Πέτρα Σκανδάλου:"Κρίση αξιών, όχι οικονομική κρίση" (Καταπληκτικό άρθρο από τον Γρ. Παππα)

"Κρίση αξιών, όχι οικονομική κρίση" (Καταπληκτικό άρθρο από τον Γρ. Παππα)



Από το πιο δημοφιλές blog της ομογένειας www.pappaspost.com. Ο Γρ. Παππας πέρασε μια εβδομάδα στην Αθήνα και διαβάστε τι κατέγραψε (στα αγγλικά)
This topic of the so-called Greek financial crisis has been swirling around in my head for weeks-- ever since I heard Peter Economides speak at the National Innovation Conference in New York City when he said that the crisis in Greece isn't a financial one, but one of values.
He shared that iconic slide on the screen that depicted the former international sports broadcast center that was built for the 2004 Olympic Games-- now a shopping mall called "The Golden Hall"... We lost our passion for a Prada bag, Economides noted.
 
 
 
Not that there's anything wrong with Prada... But when such things material and superficial symbols that never defined us begin to replace the very core of who we are, then we have a crisis on our hands.
 
Peter was right. Instead of seizing the moment of 2004 and capturing the spirit of athleticism that we owned, that was ours-- and the entire world knew we did-- we squandered it. 
 
Instead of exploiting what belonged to us-- the Olympics, the Nemean Games, the Marathon-- we transformed venues and facilities built for the Olympics into shopping malls and cabaret halls.
 
But it goes deeper than this. Much deeper.
 
I use, as a benchmark, the generation of my parents-- who came to this country in the 1950s and 60s and the ideals they brought with them from Greece-- the ideals that defined Greeks and Greece-- the romantic Greece we always refer to when talking about what makes all of us proud of our heritage.
 
Although not an indictment against all of the Greek people, it’s safe to say that Greece today faces the biggest existential crisis in its history. 
 
We have allowed a hard work ethic that is known globally to be replaced with the "volema" or who can get me a good job (especially with the government) so I can be "set for life"... We have allowed ingenuity and innovation to take a back seat to clientelism and favoritism.
 
Words that define the very essence of being Greek-- concepts that we created (as cliché as that sounds) have become foreign to an entire generation.
 
Arête-- the pursuit to be the very best in everything, has been replaced with a sense of mediocrity. Philanthropy has been replaced with egoism and self-survival (often at the expense of fellow man). 
 
Philoxenia-- a landmark ideal that is in our DNA-- has been replaced with the "arpahti" or the "quickie"-- how I can benefit from the stranger (read: tourist) right now, with no regard for later. 
 
Philotimo-- another casualty.
 
I've just spent the week in Athens. 
 
Nowhere is this crisis of values more evident than in the rough inner city streets, where I experienced humans being treated like animals, left to die by their fellow human-- or the sick are left to fend for themselves.
 
This lack of humanity was even more shocking when talking with others. 
 
I stumbled across what appeared to be a family, huddled in the shade of an abandoned stoa, near Omonia Square. It was a 100+ degree-day and the children were crying. The family also had two dogs and to be honest, it was the look on one of the dogs' face that grabbed my attention.
 
I wanted to buy them food, and struck up a conversation with a nearby shopkeeper. "Don't worry about them," he said to me. "They are not Greeks, they are just Albanians."
 
This shocked me.
 
Another scene, captured on camera by my colleague and friend Stefanos Sitaras not far from where this family was huddled involved a heroin addict, lying on the sidewalk, experiencing a seizure brought on from what appeared to be an overdose.
 
The junkie's friends were screaming for help as his body shook-- then suddenly went lifeless. The nearby police officer did nothing. "He's just a junkie"... he said. 
 
That "junkie"-- someone's son, perhaps someone's brother, or even a father-- died on that sidewalk with a policeman watching and passers by... just passing by.
 
Indeed, we are experiencing a crisis of values-- which has skewed our sense of being and has challenged everything that we know and believe about ourselves. As a people, we are not like this. Our DNA and consciousness as a nation of people has not changed from one generation to the next.
 
I believe it is the "system" in Greece that has created this anomaly-- a new system that started with the arrival of the European Union and in many ways, the desire of non-Greeks to impose their ways of life, ideals and ethics on the Greeks. 
 
With all of its good, the EU also brought with it a lot of bad to Greece, including easy and cheap money-- billions of euros of "development funds", which ultimately led to the desire and competition to control that money.
 
This led to the increase in clientelism (voting blocks in exchange for jobs, money) and of course, corruption and a breakdown of trust in most of the institutions the people of Greece once counted on-- their government, their church, their justice and police systems-- now all cesspools of corruption, the levels of which are unfathomable.
 
What we have become is an anomaly.

I love this country and what it stands for. I have created a lfe's work defending it, promoting it, sharing Greek ideals, history and culture with the world. I want my Greece back.




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