OPINION

An appeal to all Greeks concerned about the future of their country

In past years, I have been lucky enough to be able to visit Greece, my birthplace, many times. I have traveled there with family, who over the many visits have also acquired a sense of belonging to Greece. Like all Greeks, both those still living there and us migrants, we hold Greece very dear to our hearts. It is for this reason I write to express my concern for its future. I know that many countries in Europe are suffering from a downturn in tourism; my concern, however, is that I believe Greece is suffering the most. There is no one particular reason why this has happened. It would be easy to lay blame on past and present governments, but I really don’t think the blame only lies with them. Over the many years of traveling to Greece, I have noticed an upsetting change in the local community’s consciousness. Greece was considered a country full of wonderful and hospitable locals who – in order to survive – have become aggressive, chasing ever-elusive profits. The question is, at what cost? The most tragic thing of all is the total disregard and neglect of the environment. Our once-beautiful beaches are either polluted by rubbish or runoffs from homes and hotels, whose owners – to save money and time – do not appear to consider the environmental impact their rubbish has. But that’s not all; along with our beautiful beaches – the stronghold of Greece’s tourism industry and the source of our economic wealth – the streets and communal areas are now also littered. Every individual Greek, from the person who secretly dumps his or her rubbish in the middle of the night or throws down a cigarette butt to politicians (past and present), everyone must acknowledge his responsibility for the serious problem Greece is facing today. There is only one solution, and that is a united community, a community that can move forward, one that puts aside the unproductive bickering that results in a divided people. Greeks must try to solve these issues with community spirit and love for their homeland and strive collectively to resolve these problems in order to survive. Maybe then, Greeks will not be forced to leave their country in order to make a living, which I believe is currently the case. I am merely an observer, but what I am certain of is that we need to address these problems immediately, as it has now become more crucial than ever. VOULA ANEZIS, Sydney, Australia.