Easter is an opportunity to celebrate our sense of patriotism in our own way, without any fanfare or the sentiments churned out by the mill of commerce. The aromas of spring, freshly whitewashed churches tended with loving care, the Greek flag waving in front of the Good Friday bier, all make us think about how much we love this country. It?s only that over the past few years we seem to have lost a good deal of the Greek characteristics that one thankfully can still encounter outside the Athenian walls of cynicism. Kindness, hospitality and joie de vivre unconnected to their cheap nightclub imitators remind us of how we used to be before we embraced a way of life that took us over entirely.
Where have those Greeks gone? They?re not lost, that?s for sure. We see them in the faces of military officers going about their business at rural outposts with a smile on their faces even though they earn just over 1,200 euros a months. We see them in the faces of young men and women who have standards and a passion for hard work, who make things happen without believing that the entire world owes them something and someone else is to blame for the challenges they face. These are the Greeks who know how to work hard rather than expect a post in the civil service or a slice of government funding to continue to exist and to survive. The problem is that these Greeks did not survive for long as a role model, unseated by the ?cool guys? who knew all the tricks to get the job done fast and to their greatest advantage.
We are now in the middle of a crisis whose outcome is unknown and, like in any major crisis, we see hate bubbling everywhere dressed up as pseudo-patriotism or extreme leftist action that wants to have a rematch on a game that was played over 60 years ago.
Greece does not have a strong political or business elite and will therefore have an even harder time finding its way. It does, however, have forces of positive energy and creativity, and this is the time when they should be allowed to express their patriotism in dynamic terms. A reaction to the rotten, corrupt and party-dominated system cannot come from the propagators of darkness or backwardness, nor from the populist brand of fascism that simply wants to burn it all down.
This country has always got back on its feet after a crisis when simple Greeks with ethos and with an honest love of country decided that enough was enough.