National pride built on ancients

Young Greeks tend to be gloomy and insecure, with a deep-rooted pride in their national identity that mainly stems from the achievements of a culture that died 2,000 years ago, according to an Athens University study made public yesterday. A nationwide survey of some 1,600 young men and women aged 15-29 – carried out between November 2004 and April 2005 by university researchers on behalf of the General Secretariat for Youth – established that 44.8 percent of respondents consider their future to be uncertain. Most appear to be worried about their job prospects. Some 49.4 percent regard unemployment to be the country’s worst problem, while 39 percent said that their main ambition regarding work was to earn a good salary. An estimated 39.2 percent said they often felt lonely and 37.2 percent would like to have more friends, while 27.5 percent voiced worries regarding their relations with the opposite sex. Some 17.6 percent said they found it difficult to make friends. Around 68 percent of all respondents – just under a third of whom were married themselves – said they still lived with their parents. Regarding politics, some 75 percent expressed a strongly or moderately negative view of Greek politicians, while 86.5 percent said they felt corruption was a major problem in public affairs. Asked about their personal politics, some 44 percent said they occupied the central ground between Left and Right, 14.8 percent described themselves as right-wingers and 9.9 percent said they backed the Left. Some 64.3 percent of respondents said they felt proud to be Greek. But the overwhelming majority (75 percent) of those attributed that sense of pride to the achievements of the ancient Greek civilisation. What was described as Greece’s «folk traditions» was the second most popular cause for pride (51.3 percent). Around 33.1 percent attributed their national pride to Greece’s staging the Athens Olympics, while winning the 2004 European soccer championship inspired 29.8 percent.