A deceptive pride

One would have thought that the singular brand of nationalism we have become accustomed to witnessing every time a non-Greek schoolchild prepares to carry the Greek flag in the October 28 «Ochi Day» parade would have subsided following the government’s insistence on the anti-democratic and unacceptable nature of such discrimination in a modern society. A large group of representatives from the worlds of politics and the arts have also expressed their dissent. But despite evident widespread opposition to the phenomenon, the situation seems to be getting worse every year – and this is despite the fact that the majority of our immigrant population arrived in Greece many years ago and have since been largely assimilated into society (as well as violating the law far less frequently than «our own people»). Nevertheless, every year, the announcement that foreign pupils will bear the Greek flag in annual parades across the country (a privilege that goes to only top-performing pupils) provokes an outburst of rage among the parents of Greek children, which they conceal under the mantle of «national pride.» Isn’t it time we started calling things by their real names and admitting that the sentiment fueling these stupid reactions is neither patriotism nor respect for national symbols but envy, pure and simple?