The good news

It could be that we are fed up with the gloom and doom of the past few months or that our spirits have been lifted by the beautiful summer weather. Or, perhaps, it is thanks to the latest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey, which is optimistic about Greece?s economic prospects. The fact is that one is tempted to look beyond the ugly protests of the striking taxi owners and draw hope from some upbeat developments.

Browsing news reports during the first days of August, there was the news of the ?Richard III? performance starring US actor Kevin Spacey at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus which proved to be a hit — in every respect. And if the credit for this success should go to the foreign artists who staged the Shakespearean play, then we could also point to the large crowds visiting the exhibition ?Heracles to Alexander the Great? that went on display at Oxford?s Ashmolean Museum. Or the timid but promising awakening of the National Library.

In another development, a recent survey put the National Technical University of Athens in 17th place among Europe?s top research institutes, while Wednesday?s Kathimerini carries a story about Nikos Papadimitriou, a homegrown entrepreneur who likes to reward academic excellence, especially when it concerns students from the islands.

Signs of hope are coming from the business sector too. More and more stories are cropping up about Greek companies that are trying to make it beyond the country?s borders. Greece?s exports are still low, but local businesses have undoubtedly made some progress over the past few months.

Also in the tourism sector, a vital source of revenue for the debt-hit country, there are certainly efforts to adapt and make the best of the current situation despite the obstacles raised by the organized interests and political parties. Many hoteliers have lowered their prices and an effort is being made to provide visitors with breakfasts made using local products.

It?s true that the progress is not striking. The power of habit and resistance to the nascent reality hold strong. But there are signs that the patient?s heart is still beating. The state must step in to encourage any good examples. It will be a slow process. If only for psychological reasons, we must sometimes look on the bright side of life.

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