OPINION

Bad losers…

So much for the Greek civilization that we bragged about so loudly on the occasion of the Olympics. It only took a soccer game involving our national team – which made us delirious with pride by winning the Euro 2004 championship – to reveal the contradictions within our society but also the fact that we are only gracious and civilized when we are in an advantageous position, a stance that allows us to feel superior. Indeed, at the first wrong turn, at the very first challenge we face, we become the cocky and anti-social «proud Greeks» once again, displaying the most dangerous form of intolerance. We felt ashamed for losing in Tirana (we, the European soccer champions, who stunned the world in Portugal). And what made it worse was that we lost to Albania – a nation whose citizens we have accepted in our country. We were outraged at their display of joy and pride; we balked at seeing their flag in Omonia Square, so – in the name of our national ideals – we beat up the jubilating crowds, we burnt their cars, we even knifed one Albanian in Zakynthos. Generally, «we showed them» what was what. Apparently, we were also annoyed because the atmosphere at the stadium in Tirana was not only unfriendly, but provocative. And this is obviously something we have never witnessed before in our stadiums when rival Greek teams meet…