European countries that lagged behind Greece for decades are now moving ahead fast. They understand what it means to be really poor, miserable and oppressed.
Greeks, being a part of the Western bloc, were able to enjoy high living standards – but for the past few years have found themselves in reverse gear. Greece risks finding itself at the same level as some states which could soon overtake the country.
The former Soviet satellites are eager to leave their past behind. At the same time, Greeks are embroiled in arguments about what happened in 1944. Some appear to want a repetition of the country’s civil war, or, perhaps more accurately, they are reliving the experience as part of a revolutionary fantasy.
We must finally put an end to this vicious cycle and leave history to the historians. We must stop scratching away at old wounds which had taken a long time to heal, and instead move ahead and make use of the country’s huge, untapped potential. Greece has to make a new start. The non-leftist parties of today cannot be held accountable for the left-wing political exiles and oppression of yesteryear. The boogeyman has long been buried.
Greece found itself on the right side of history after the Second World War. Barring few exceptions, the country has made the right choices since the birth of the modern Greek state, as testified by its membership of the most exclusive Western clubs. Greece was spared having to experience the dark period that damaged its neighbors on every level. And now it’s time to stop heading backward, or we will soon be overtaken by them.
The majority of Greeks obviously do not care about the ghosts of the past. They want a normal life, and jobs for their children. Certain people, however, are tampering with those ghosts in an effort to sow division and exorcise themselves of their own major sin, their own compromise.
They are doing great harm to the country. This is not what Greece needs. I can only hope that our national egoism will kick in at some point. I am not referring to that familiar sense of victimhood. Rather, I mean that national characteristic that makes us give our best self and move forward.
As the distance between Greece and the former European laggards narrows, perhaps feeling the heat of their breath on our neck could spur us to action.