OPINION

Pulling Greece?s name out of the dirt

I didn?t get a chance to catch his name, but that?s not really important. He was a senator for the US Republican Party. But again, his nationality and political identity are beside the point. He might as well have been a Democrat, a German, an Englishman or an Italian, a Chinese or a Russian.

?We must not allow our country to end up like Greece,? he said.

The American politician was using Greece as the ultimate bad example. One cannot be sure whether the man could actually spot Greece on a world map, if he had bothered skimming the country?s history, or if he was just reproducing the cliches that have been making the rounds of international headlines for over a year now.

The only certainty is our own hurt feelings, our own bitterness each time we hear people deriding our country or quoting its name to describe utter failure.

But there?s more. Disparaging comments like the US politician?s suggest that our economic bankruptcy was the result of a collective moral debasement, the fall of an entire nation and its people. We seem to be heading back to the days when some Western dictionaries would cite the words ?swindler? and ?cheat? as synonyms for ?Greek.?

All that of course means that we will have to find a cure for our delusions of national supremacy that were instilled in our brains from an early age, when we were taught that we were the chosen people, a nation worthy of respect from the entire universe.

There is of course an easy solution to this problem, the one we have often used in the past when reality threatened to destroy our delusions: lashing out against anti-Hellenic conspiracies and power centers that seek to undermine our existence. But, as always, the beaten track will lead us nowhere.

However, there is another way. The starting point is to accept that the blame for the current mess lies with our out-of-touch and corrupt politicians.

This is not a groundless assumption, but a fact. But it is not enough to explain the discrediting of Greece and the manner in which it is being treated — politically and economically. Even if this is the only explanation, we all suffer the depreciation and ridicule. And this comes with a frustration that we are still trying to express in political terms.