OPINION

The true nature of Greece?

Amongst all the damage being done to the reputation of Greece by the increasing levels of attacks on immigrants by a minority of bigots, I was proud to see the real nature of Greece this weekend past, in a small villiage in the Peleponnese, Nemea.

More than 1,200 people from 105 countries sampled the open hospitality, friendship and joy of life that Greece is reknowned for worldwide as we celebrated the revival of the Nemean Games of ancient times.

We participated, we laughed, we cried and we definitely sweated (in 37C heat) as we replicated the efforts of the ancient atheletes to be true to the real spirit of the Games, supported by Greek volunteers and local villagers. People lined the streets as we pounded through the streets, they applauded, cheered and sprayed us with water and «bravos» of encouragement: they did this for the joy of life; for the pride we took in (trying) to recreate some of the glory of ancient times. And when we were done those same people fed, watered and entertained us even though I was more like Callippides than Eteocles.

But mostly, I think, they did it because like me they believe we are all part of humanity and worthy of respect and love.

I thank the people of those small communities who granted me the privilege of being part of their history, even if it was only for a day.

Hugh O’Donnell

Scotland