Their achievements make us proud at a time when we need something to lean on: Yorgos Lanthimos, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Constantinos Daskalakis and many others represent a generation of Greeks who have strived, worked hard and squared up to the world without awe or fear – and succeeded.
As a nation, we need to hang on to their examples at a time when our national confidence is in tatters. Our history and tradition fill us with pride, but we need living proof that we can still make it today.
It’s worth keeping in mind that none of our contemporary idols managed to climb to the top solely through their talent. Obviously, no one appointed them to the top. No one asked them what party they vote for or who their father is. They did not emerge from the ranks of the country’s pseudo-elite or the party pipeline.
Greece produces a lot of talent that can be found across every sector at home and abroad: doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, technicians and artists, among others.
Those who have decided to stay in the country are struggling to make ends meet in the face of unbelievable obstacles. You can only admire how they get by, having to put up with a state that imposes absurd tax rates and constantly comes up with new ways to turn their daily lives and work into an unbearable experience.
Those who live abroad love the way things operate there, but they would kill to be able to spend some time here at home in the evenings and at weekends. These people talk a lot about how much they want to return, but they are waiting for better days. We need their professionalism, their positive attitude and their work ethic. When coupled with the Greek spirit of ingenuity and adaptability, we can work miracles.
For the time being, aside from those who make us proud internationally, I admit – even at the risk of repeating myself – that I have more admiration for those who stayed behind and achieved great things within the pockets of excellence that withstood the crisis and the decay.
It’s the people who can identify with Nikos Portokaloglou’s lyrics: “I will continue to live in this desert land out of stubborness and craziness until I find water, because this is where I belong.”