Anniversaries to mark the restoration of democracy in Greece are generally honored with references to the painful past and celebrations of the relative calm and balance that has reigned in both the state and society since 1974. As the years go by and these anniversary speeches are repeated, the anniversary itself loses its lustre, older citizens regard it as a formality, while the younger generation condescendingly ignores it. This is because we no longer remember what happened, many people say. And maybe this is partly true. Maybe we really have failed to grasp just how far this country has come and just how much the older generations had to endure. On the other hand, this condescension by the younger generation also reflects something positive: that they take democracy for granted. They have been born into freedom; they have grown up in it. For them, the only yardstick is the quality of democracy, not its relative advantages compared to the difficult postwar period this country has experienced. Greece has achieved 31 years of democracy. Even if one considers the extreme hardships of the seven-year dictatorship during the postwar period, we have still experienced a longer period of good times than of bad. Seen from this point of view, this year’s anniversary is something of a milestone. There is now a whole generation of mature Greeks who have only ever known life within a democracy. This is a generation that is at a productive and creative age, a generation that has a better sense of the concerns of western nations whose democracies have never experienced such upheavals. This is a generation that does not consider undoctored votes and freedom from censorship to be major achievements because it has no memories of any era where the opposite prevailed. No one is saying we should forget our history. On the contrary, we learn from the past. After 31 years, however, our country is in a position to make a detailed assessment of its democratic functions, on every level. And in making this assessment, we would do well to consider the valuable insight of our «democratic» generation – the youngsters who regard democracy as a given and judge it only in comparison to other democracies, who view a change of guard in government as a natural development, not as a conquest. Anniversaries are occasions that oblige us to remember. But they are also opportunities for us to look forward to the future. And the anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece will be honored every day if every day we ponder how to bolster this democracy, considering how Greek society can become even more free, dynamic and just.

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