Greece has always had two distinct sides: On the one hand those who are only concerned with their convenience and, on the other, the fighters who want to play ball on an equal level on the European and international front.
What is happening now is that those in the latter side are leaving, and fast, in search of opportunities across the globe. There is no need to go looking for facts and figures, though Kathimerini has published several articles on this subject. You hear real-life stories every day and more and more taxpayers are transferring to the office responsible for Greeks living abroad, effectively taking their contributions to the state away with them.
From German hospitals to hotels around the world and firms in Hong Kong, you will find Greeks following their tribe’s ancient tradition of emigration.
This trend is not without dangers. The Greece these people are leaving behind is tired, desperate and has more or less stopped believing in itself. How can you inspire people who are hungry and can’t afford to heat their homes to take a risk so that the country can move forward? When these people hear the word reform, their immediate feeling is that someone is about to cut their income or pension even further.
Another part of society has turned to convenience by accepting mediocrity and embracing the lowest common denominator as ideology. This is particularly true in education, where behind supposedly ideological safeguards you will find the average, the unionized and those aiming at destroying anything that stands out.
In this context, thousands of Greeks are working incredibly hard in incredibly adverse conditions. Doctors, conscientious teachers and policemen, among others, are keeping the country on its feet, while thousands in the private sector are still fighting on despite the endless hits they are being subjected to. But they too have reached a state of despair.
The danger is that the positive side Greece that is slipping away from us so quickly will stop injecting the rest with energy and vision, that mere survival and convenience will become the sole purpose of those who stayed behind.
Without fresh wealth and a new national paradigm embracing entrepreneurship and risk we will not go very far and we will turn on ourselves. It’s time to think differently is we want to avoid the inevitable. Solutions will not come from bureaucrats in Brussels or anyone else for that matter. This is our job. Do we deserve something much better, which will take a lot of effort and fair play? Or are we on our way to becoming Europe’s sickest patient, simply happy to be alive?