Saturday November 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
16o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The wrong kind of patriotism

By Alexis Papachelas

Some political ideas have remained stubbornly absent from Greek public debate. The reason is simple: Theyre ideas that have been ridiculed, defamed and almost exiled for some 30 years.

Anyone who came out in favor of a more flexible, Scandinavian-type labor market was automatically branded as an insensitive neoliberal.

Those who argued for bold changes in the social security system so that we would not have to take even more painful measures in the future paid a very heavy price for their courage.

Those who said that there could be no workable society in the absence of law and order were scorned as fascists or apologists of the junta.

This neo-Macarthyism against rival ideas was left unchallenged.

No one protested at the fact that views which were considered perfectly normal or even mainstream in the rest of Europe were squeezed out of the public debate here. It was only when Greece signed the bailout agreements that these ideas were first heard, prompting, of course, sarcastic comments, abuse and populist sound bites.

Populism has deep roots in Greek society, but the situation got out of hand in recent decades. The Greek right was ashamed to say things that were self-evident for every European center-right party. Centrist social democrats who turned their backs on populism were scoffed at by the old PASOK and the left. The champions of nationalist populism reached the point of attacking anyone who was not on their side as unpatriotic. Its a serious allegation, especially if one takes into consideration how much money patriotism has cost Greeks in kickbacks.

We all need to have the courage to say what we think. Its not always easy. Faced with the monster of populism, the more levelheaded and middle-of-the-road among us tend to follow the instinct of survival and hide in a corner. If that had been different 10 or 20 years ago things would be different today. Greece would never have had to witness the pay and pension cuts of today. If only we had listened to those who urged the political class to change course, to do something with the bankrupt social security system, to stop hiring more civil servants, not to abandon the center of Athens, we would now be a different country.

Because at the end of the day patriotism is defending what you think is right for your nation and not just saying and doing as you please.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday October 30, 2012 (22:50)  
Change of US president wont mean change of foreign policy
The presidential election paradox
SYRIZA needs a Plan B
Scraping together the 180 MPs will not be enough
Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrived in Ankara Friday night for two days of talks. Ahead of his visit he sought to make it clear that Greece is prepared to discuss maritime issues wi...
Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
The Supreme Court decided Friday that 14 people should stand trial for the notorious property swap between the Vatopedi Monastery and the state six years ago. Those who will face charges of ...
Inside News
Q3 growth was bigger than thought
The provisional seasonally adjusted statistics for the Greek economy in the third quarter put annual growth at 1.6 percent, against an original estimate for 1.4 percent, according to a state...
Who will pay for the states ADMIE stake?
The state is currently unable to pay the amount required for the acquisition of a 34 percent stake in the countrys Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE), as provided for in a plan...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
Panathinaikos has mathematically qualified to the top 16 of the Euroleague after another emphatic home win, this time against Bayern Munich, with an 87-72 score on Friday. Given the changes ...
SOCCER
PAOK is one win from Europa Leagues last 32
A late brace by Stefanos Athanasiadis gifted PAOK a precious win at Dynamo Minsk on Thursday, meaning that the Thessaloniki team is one win away from graduating from the group stage of the E...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
2. Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
3. Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
4. New proposals on way to troika
5. Cabbie who carried shooter claims he was threatened
6. Govt urged to allow Syrian refugees to move on
more news
Today
This Week
1. Change of US president won't mean change of foreign policy
2. Child molester suspect photo released by police
3. Greek economy expands 0.7 pct q/q in Q3
4. Lebanese FM: Cyprus may be jihadi transit point
5. Athens water supply 9-month profit falls 45 pct on lower charges
6. Armed man arrested on Thessaloniki campus
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Extremism from a bygone era
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Greece paralyzed by major strike, flights cancelled
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Coscos Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.