A battle has been raging in Greece in recent years between those who believe that any vision can be made a reality in this country and those who monotonously recite the litany that “this cannot be done.”
The fact is that many of the things that we currently admire in this country at one time generated a fervent reaction from a motley group of protesters. A large number of projects and major private investments – including the Acropolis Museum at the foot of the ancient citadel and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in southern Athens – had to overcome numerous obstacles before they became reality.
Opposition came from opportunistic politicians who are allergic to the so-called political cost, from all sorts of narrow-minded activists, from power-craving civil servants, from the media, from vested interests and so on.
Meanwhile, Greece’s excessive number of laws and rampant bureaucracy make things extremely difficult for anyone out there who wants to be creative. At the same time, judicial procedures tend to be time-consuming and repetitive. Any civil servant can cite “public interest” to deprive untold numbers of our fellow citizens of jobs.
It takes an enormous amount of courage, and in some cases impertinence, to survive all the obstacles thrown in one’s path. One of the reasons that people tend to admire businesspeople who manage to pull off big undertakings is because they all know what these people have been through to get there.
Our society finally appears to be maturing after the years of fabricated prosperity and the period of abrupt pauperization that followed. University students want to gain knowledge and skills rather than waste their time in meaningless sit-in demonstrations. People want jobs. A large section of society is finding ways to be creative and overcome the financial crisis.
Greece is a country with huge potential but it is weighed down by various obstacles. Inside us lies vision wedded with risk as well as denial. They are both part of the modern Greek DNA. However, we need Greek role models who have managed to make their dreams come true. We must demand that our politicians to knock down what prevents ambitious people from realizing their aspirations. We must deprive the naysayers of their weapons and influence, so that this country finally gets the future it deserves.